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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Who Secretly Strayed Is Home Under False Pretenses

DEAR ABBY: I am a twice-married woman about to turn 30, with a wonderful husband and three beautiful sons. We own our home, have two nice cars, food on the table and clothes on our backs. However, I'm feeling like my life is in a black hole and I'm desperate to get out.

I am the primary caregiver for my mother, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. I am about to lose my job of 12 years due to downsizing, and our financial situation will definitely take a downturn when I'm unemployed.

My father (who is in ailing health) lives out of town, and although I'd love to visit him, going there with my husband and kids is just too hard.

During the past year, I gained a great deal of weight and can't seem to find the time or energy to get it off. I have severe migraines and feel like a time bomb waiting to explode.

Any advice on how to pull one's self up from the pits, Abby? Lately I have experienced more than one occasion of wanting to run away -- and that in itself frightens the living daylights out of me. Please help. -- ON THE BRINK OF DISASTER IN SOUTHERN UTAH

DEAR ON THE BRINK: Considering everything that's going on in your life, it's no wonder you are feeling overwhelmed. You appear to be experiencing a combination of stress, depression and caregiver burnout. A good place to start finding remedies is your doctor. Call and schedule an exam and truth session.

Also, contact the nearest chapter of the Alzheimer's Association for the location of a senior respite-care facility for your mother. You appear to be a conscientious wife, mother and daughter, but even the best of us sometimes need a helping hand. Good luck.