Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Teen Who Had Miscarriage Feels Depressed and Alone

DEAR ABBY: You help so many people. Please help me. I am a 14-year-old girl who has been through a lot this past year. Just a little over a month ago, I had a miscarriage. It was really sad, because I wanted my baby really bad. The father -- I'll call him Bob -- didn't want anything to do with it because he claimed it wasn't his. I was very hurt by his reaction because I was so happy about the baby.

After that, everything changed between me and Bob. He told the whole school I was a whore. When I told him about the loss of the baby, he was very happy, but now he hates me more than ever.

I am so depressed and alone. Some mornings I don't even want to wake up because the pain is so bad. Sometimes I just want to end my life. I can't go to my mother about this because I never told her about anything. If she found out that her baby girl was even thinking about having sex, she would kill me.

I have nowhere to turn. Abby, if you can help me, please do. -- ALL ALONE IN TUCSON, ARIZ.

DEAR ALL ALONE: I am sorry that your relationship with your mother is so poor that you experienced a pregnancy and miscarriage right under her nose and she never knew the difference. It is important that you be examined by a doctor to make sure you are all right, physically and emotionally.

A giant step in that direction would be for you to tell your mother what has been going on this past year. She needs to wake up to reality, and although she won't be pleased to hear how out of touch you have kept her, she won't "kill" you.

No one should have to go through what you have been through alone. You need more help than I can give you in a letter. An adult in whom you can confide will make the process much easier. If you cannot bring yourself to confide in your mother, I urge you to find someone you can trust -- a school nurse, a teacher, the mother of one of your friends. You have a lot of growing up to do before you become a mother with all the responsibility it entails -- and you need to slow down.

DEAR ABBY: Thank you for printing the letter from Alan I. Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It made me realize that I am not the only person who has returned to old habits after the Sept. 11 attacks. I have a history of drug abuse and self-mutilation. (I cut my arms.) Sadly, I now combine them to relieve my anxiety.

Why didn't I receive treatment as soon as these habits surfaced? Because I am only 16, and adults (and some of my peers) dismiss my behavior as "just one of those stages teens go through."

Can you tell me, Abby, why is it that right now I can walk outside and within minutes get an ounce of heroin -- but it would take two weeks to convince anyone I need help to stop my self-destruction? -- RECOVERING TEEN IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

DEAR RECOVERING TEEN: I'm sad to say this, but it may be because the illegal drug trade is better funded than our mental health system.

However, that's no excuse for continuing the self-destructive behavior. If your parents won't accept the fact that you need help to break the cycle, please talk to another trusted adult about your need to get some professional counseling. The longer you put it off, the more difficult the habits will be to break.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600