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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Who Loses Jobs May Also Lose His Family

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 13 years. My husband has one really big problem. He doesn't like to work. He gets a good job and somehow always messes up or quits. Then it takes him weeks to find something else. He's old enough to know better -- he's 50.

We have three children. I don't want them to turn out like their father. I have worked since I was 15 years old. I work for two companies now and do extra work on the side. I make good money, but not enough to pay all the bills. How do I get through to my husband the importance of keeping a job and not quitting? I am to the point where I'd like to throw him out of the house -- but I don't think he would leave. -- TOTALLY LOST IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR TOTALLY LOST: The majority of people in the work force today would prefer to be living a life of leisure. That's why the lotteries are so popular. However, as responsible adults they recognize the connection between working and getting their bills paid.

Your husband won't change until you draw the line and refuse to support him and his irresponsibility any longer. Ask yourself, "Would I be better off with him or without him?" From my perspective, you would have only one less mouth to feed.

DEAR ABBY: I completely endorse the list of seven suggestions on how to treat the mentally ill sent to you by the psychologist in Texas (published Sept. 19). Now let me add two more:

8. If I confide that I'm taking medication for a mental health disorder, please do not warn me about all the side effects this particular medication has and all the dangers of long-term use, and then tout the "natural" or herbal alternatives to psychotropic drugs. Believe me -- I've tried everything else, to no avail. It was a difficult and agonizing decision for me to finally take the step of seeking medical treatment for my illness. I resisted it, I rebelled against it, and I saw several psychiatrists and tried many other medications before I finally received effective treatment.

There may be risks involved in taking my current medication, but no risk is as great for me as doing without. At least now I am not daily, even hourly, considering suicide because of the agony my mental illness causes me. So, instead of issuing dire warnings, simply congratulate me upon finally gaining control over my illness, and offer your support and friendship. This would be truly helpful.

9. I know you love me and mean well, but PLEASE do not suggest that I would feel so much better if I had a meaningful relationship with God. I am suffering from a physical illness with mental manifestations; it has nothing to do with my spirituality or lack thereof. You would not tell someone with leukemia that he would not be ill if he simply prayed more often -- don't be so unintentionally cruel as to say such a thing to me. It is the same as blaming me for my sickness, implying that my lack of moral character is the cause of my problems. I do enough of that on my own. Just pray for me, and tell me your thoughts and best wishes are with me. -- LIVING IT IN THE U.S.A.

DEAR LIVING: I'm pleased to add your suggestions to the list, and I'm sure they will resonate with many people. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The most unwelcome advice in the world is that which is unasked for.

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