DEAR ABBY: I am a senior in high school, and I don't think I can take it anymore! I attend vocational school, in addition to my regular school, work part time, study, and have a boyfriend I'll call "Johnny." My relationship with Johnny is being held up because we can't find enough time to see each other. He also works and has a schedule similar to mine.
Abby, Johnny is my main concern at the moment. I don't know how to balance our schedules so we can have more time with each other. Please help. -- STRESSED-OUT SENIOR
DEAR STRESSED OUT: When people become stressed out, they need to take a "time-out" and evaluate their priorities. Let me give you something to consider while you do that.
You and Johnny are juggling extremely full schedules, doing what is necessary to establish secure futures for yourselves. I applaud you for it, and by the end of the school year, you'll both be rightfully proud of what you have accomplished.
Although you would like more time together, there are only so many hours in a day and so many days in the week. One of the definitions of maturity is the ability to postpone for tomorrow what you would like to be doing today. While it would be nice to spend more time together, it is essential that you both prioritize your schedules right now. In six months, you'll be finished with high school and have more time to spare. In the meantime, you're taking care of business. Keep your eye on the goal, and you'll be there before you know it.
DEAR ABBY: I have a problem with bugs in my bedroom. I have tried opening the window, closing the window, lights off, lights on, foggers, sanitizers -- but none of it works.
I typically get bitten five times during the night, always above my waist. My last two bites lasted a week. They itch and leave red marks. I don't know what to do. Help! -- BUGGED IN BOTHELL, WASH.
DEAR BUGGED: It's time for a consultation with your dermatologist. Show him or her the bites and see if the doctor can figure out what's causing them.
Once that's done, call a pest control company. Since home remedies haven't subdued your attackers, let the professionals resolve once and for all what's bugging you.
DEAR READERS: An estimated 80 percent of the population of western nations will experience at least one episode of severe back pain.
Of course, any individual who suffers from severe back pain should consult a doctor. Most patients are prescribed muscle relaxants, pain killers and/or sessions with a physical therapist, and given instructions for exercises to be performed at home. Does this mean the patient emerges pain-free? Not necessarily. For many people, the back pain persists to a greater or lesser degree for years.
A new book, "7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life," written by Robin McKenzie with Craig Kubey (published by Dutton), is now available in bookstores. Mr. McKenzie is an honored and respected physical therapist from New Zealand, and more than 20,000 health professionals worldwide have been trained in his methods. Most important, patients who have learned to use his exercises for back and neck pain assert that for the first time they could effectively manage -- or banish -- their own pain.
P.S. A word to the wise: Before beginning this, or any other exercise program designed to reduce pain from any condition, consult your doctor.
Abby shares her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "Abby's More Favorite Recipes." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 per booklet ($4.50 each in Canada) to: Dear Abby Cookbooklets I and II, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)
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