DEAR ABBY: I am 13 and cut myself on my wrists. I do it mostly when I get mad at someone. I also tried to choke myself when I was younger. One of my best friends and I talked about killing ourselves or running away.
I weigh 150 pounds. I weigh myself every night before I take a shower. I've tried to puke but it never comes up. I've also started skipping meals. My friends say I'm not fat, but my mom calls me chubby and pinches at the fat on my stomach.
My grades haven't been that great. I got three D's on my last report card. It's the worst I've ever done. I feel like I don't matter to anyone. My mom, friends, doctors and my aunt have asked what happened to my wrists (which is where I cut myself with scissors) and I tell them all the same thing -- "I don't know."
Abby, please help me. I want to end my life, but I don't have the guts. I still want to play in the Women's National Basketball Association when I get older, but I'm not sure I can wait. I don't want to go through this pain anymore. -- THIRTEEN WITH PROBLEMS
DEAR THIRTEEN WITH PROBLEMS: It's time for you to level with the people who love you. It is also time to call your doctor and tell him or her how you got the cuts on your wrists, and that you are fantasizing about suicide. No one will be angry with you or punish you. You may need medical help to overcome your self-destructive urges -- and to help you feel better about yourself.
Please understand that you are not alone in having this problem. It's one that is shared by many others. The good news is that help is available. Please write to S.A.F.E. Alternatives, Linden Oaks Hospital, 852 West St., Naperville, IL 60540, and include a legal-sized, self-addressed, stamped envelope. You can look it up on the Web site for more information, at www.selfinjury.com.
DEAR ABBY: Last Saturday night, my boyfriend, "Jimmy," and I went out, like always. When he brought me home, I invited him in for a glass of wine. Dad had gone to bed, and Mom was still up and watching TV in the den.
When I was in the kitchen pouring the wine, I overheard Mom tell Jimmy how "handsome and sexy" he looked. I was startled, so I peeked into the den and found my mother and boyfriend in a liplock.
I saw Jimmy run his hand down Mom's body and under her nightie. I was shocked! When I returned with the drinks, I didn't let on what I had seen, and they acted like nothing had happened.
Jimmy often likes to drop by the house and say hello to Mom, but I never thought it was anything more. What should I do? Should I confront Mom and my boyfriend? My biggest concern is Dad. Should I tell him -- or should I keep quiet? -- DESPERATE FOR ADVICE IN ALBANY
DEAR DESPERATE: I see no reason for you to carry this burden in silence. Tell your mother what you witnessed and how it made you feel. Then, tell Jimmy that the relationship is over.
You have been betrayed twice, and you have every reason to feel hurt and angry. Counseling can help you deal with your feelings. It would be helpful if you and your mother attend some sessions together. Your father should be told, but don't do it until you have had some sessions with your counselor.
CONFIDENTIAL TO "MICHELLE IN THE MIDWEST": Your fellow bus passengers are worried about your safety. Please call the Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233. The people there can help you form an escape plan. Don't put it off!
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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