06/08/2007DEAR ABBY: I am 17 years old and believe I am suffering from chronic depression. I am very emotional and cry a lot. I get good grades, and people say I'm a great baby sitter, but I feel that I'm not good at anything else.
My younger sister, who is 15, is very outgoing and has a lot of friends. I have only a few, so I get jealous.
Now I have started gaining weight to the point that I am no longer "skinny."
About four months ago, my best friend of two years and I stopped getting along, and we haven't spoken since.
I have had counseling for two years. I go every three months, but nothing is changing. Both my parents feel that it is a waste of money. I try to talk to them sometimes, but they just take it as a joke. I am confused about everything, and I am so lonely. Do you have any advice? -- HURTING IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR HURTING: Yes, I do. Depression, increasing isolation and low self-esteem are problems that require counseling on a more regular basis than every three months, and possible medication in addition. If the person you are seeing hasn't recognized that the sessions haven't helped you, then it's time for another evaluation with another therapist. Please show this to your parents and tell them the letter was written by you. You need more help than I can give you in a letter.
DEAR ABBY: Eight months ago I lost my job in Indiana. I moved here to be with my fiancee, "Michelle," and take a job I was offered. It meant leaving my 10-year-old daughter behind. (She lives with her mother, my ex.)
Since then, I have been offered a job back in Indiana where, if I take it, I can reunite with my daughter and other family. Michelle and I aren't getting along well, and I love my daughter dearly and truly miss her. I feel like I have let her down. She calls daily -- sometimes crying -- begging me to move back home to be with her.
I want to move back home and be with my daughter, but on the other hand, I don't want to hurt Michelle. Someone has to be hurt in this decision I must make. Can you give me some direction here? -- SUFFERING IN OREGON
DEAR SUFFERING: Talk to Michelle. It may not be necessary for "someone" to be hurt, if she is willing to move back to Indiana with you and find another job. If, however, she is not willing to do that, then you will have to decide which relationship is more important to you -- that with your daughter, or the one you have with your fiancee.
DEAR ABBY: I work as a hotel clerk. How should I address our guests when they check out? I normally tell them to "have a good day," but when they are here for a funeral I feel uncomfortable saying this. Please advise. -- "SUNNY" IN HILLSDALE, MICH.
DEAR "SUNNY": If someone has been staying in your hotel because of a funeral, say, "Thank you for staying with us. I hope you'll consider staying here again the next time you're in town." It will let the person know you are grateful for the business, and plant a seed that could benefit the hotel at a later date.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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