DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old boy in ninth grade. I have depression, and I don't know what to do. I always feel like I'm not good enough for anything, even though I have had a 4.0 GPA since seventh grade. I have repeatedly cut myself, but I wear a bracelet so no one can see it.
I don't want my family to find out because I'm afraid they will treat me like a poor little kid who is too easily offended. I don't know what to do or who I can go to for help. Thank you for any help you can give me. -- DROWNING IN DESPAIR
DEAR DROWNING: When a person is experiencing so much emotional pain that he (or she) is self-injuring, it's time to get professional help to deal with it.
Ideally, you should be able to talk to your parents about the depth and duration of your depression. But because you feel you can't, talk with a trusted teacher or counselor at school about it, or an adult relative you feel close enough to confide it to. Cutting is not the answer because it only brings temporary relief from the issues you have that need resolving.
I care about you, and I'm glad you asked me this question. Please don't postpone following my advice.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are retired. Everything was great until about six months ago, when things radically changed.
The issue is I stopped shaving every day. I did it when I was working, but I don't feel the need to do it now. My wife strongly disapproves. She claims my unkempt appearance is a direct, negative reflection on her. I feel it reflects only on me.
I have told her I will shave prior to any social engagement we both attend, as well as public events like civic club, etc. The guys I play cards with also go unshaven.
My wife has threatened to cancel card games with friends, cancel our weekend trip to her brother's birthday celebration, cancel our upcoming European river cruise, refuses to kiss me and said some things I can't repeat. Is there anything I can do to appease this lady I love dearly? -- LAID BACK IN MICHIGAN
DEAR LAID BACK: One thing comes to mind -- you could shave.
DEAR ABBY: I am a server in an upscale restaurant. Part of my job is refilling water goblets, which shouldn't be stressful except that almost all of our customers place their smartphones right next to their glasses. If I should make a slight mistake and accidentally drip water on these expensive devices, you know what would happen next. Please ask your readers to keep their smartphones off the table! -- CAREFUL SERVER IN BETHLEHEM, PA.
DEAR CAREFUL SERVER: I'm glad to ask, but many readers regard their smartphones as extensions of themselves. Convincing them to cooperate would be like selling them on amputating a finger. Of course, the lesson would be learned if the diner accidentally tipped over a water or wine glass because there would be no one else to blame. But in the meantime, it's important that when you pour, you do it VERY CAREFULLY.
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