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by Abigail Van Buren

Sadness That Lingers Is a Symptom of Depression

DEAR ABBY: I am 18 years old and would like to know what kinds of symptoms show that it's time for counseling -- depression, mood swings, etc. -- CONSIDERING IT IN OHIO

DEAR CONSIDERING IT: You have asked an important question. Everybody experiences sadness at some point, but sadness that doesn't go away can actually be depression, a medical condition. Anyone, regardless of age, who experiences any five of the following symptoms for two weeks or more should discuss it with a mental health professional:

1. Feeling of sadness and/or irritability.

2. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.

3. Changes in weight and appetite.

4. Changes in sleep patterns.

5. Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless.

6. Inability to concentrate, remember things or make decisions.

7. Restlessness or decreased activity noticed by others.

8. Fatigue or loss of energy.

9. Thoughts of death or suicide.

DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful hairdresser who helps not only me but also many of my friends and family members. She's the sole support for her family and the sweetest person you could ever meet. The issue is her sense of time.

There's no problem if you're the first or second appointment of the day, but after that she runs further and further behind. Yesterday, it took my frail mother-in-law 3 1/2 hours to get her hair done because of the wait time. I was the first appointment at 7:30 a.m. and she didn't make it into the shop until 7:40. How can I help her understand she's driving her customers away without offending her? -- CUTTING TIME IN UTAH

DEAR CUTTING TIME: Your hairdresser may be good at styling hair but it appears she's not a very good businesswoman. If she's losing customers because she manages her schedule so poorly, tell her why. You will be doing her a favor. And please, before you bring your frail mother-in-law in for another appointment, call to find out how late the woman is running before letting your mother-in-law sit for 3 1/2 hours before even seeing a shampoo bowl.

DEAR ABBY: I recently bought a small travel trailer that I use for weekend fishing trips. My dog, "Goldie," accompanies me on these short trips and sleeps with me on the only bed in the trailer.

My wife, "Shirley," is now expecting to go on some of my fishing trips with Goldie and me. The problem is, Goldie is used to sleeping with me, and I believe she should have first dibs on the bed since she was there first.

When I informed Shirley that she'd be sleeping in the back of the truck, she came unglued. Now, Shirley and I are hardly speaking. Goldie is a young Lab pup who is my very best friend, constant companion and never nags. I think my wife is being selfish and inconsiderate, but I'd like your opinion. Am I out of line here? -- GOIN' FISHIN' IN MIDLAND, TEXAS

DEAR GOIN' FISHIN': If you're expecting sympathy from me, you're barking up the wrong tree. You are not only out of line, but it appears you're also in the doghouse. A real Texas gentleman would let Shirley and Goldie share the bed while he slept in the truck, and that's what I'm urging you to do.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)