DEAR ABBY: No matter what I do, I am never satisfied. I have a great wife and two great kids, and yet I always feel like I could have done better with my life. I go to work and no matter how hard I work, I feel like I never get recognition for it. When I go out with friends, we have a great time, but I never feel like I am really part of the group. I feel like the outcast who gets invited just so they won't feel bad.
I don't know why I feel this way. I do suffer from depression and have spoken to a specialist. People often tell me that I spread myself too thin and never relax enough to enjoy my success. But how can I relax when I always feel unsatisfied with my efforts? -- JUST NOT SATISFIED
DEAR NOT SATISFIED: A way to do that would be to start by examining why you are so hard on yourself. Whether it was caused by parents who didn't give you the validation you needed while growing up or a lack of self-esteem, until you understand why you are hurting yourself this way, your problem won't be resolved. You say you have spoken to "a specialist" about your depression. Perhaps it's time for another visit and a chat about what's really bothering you.
DEAR ABBY: Years ago when I was married, I bought a beautiful two-carat solitaire ring as a sign of my accomplishment at work. Now that I'm divorced, I continue to wear the ring on my wedding ring finger.
I love the ring, but my mother and friends say I am chasing away suitors who mistake it for an engagement ring. Do you agree with them? I don't want to wear this on any other finger and have no plans to give it up. -- STUBBORN IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR STUBBORN: I agree with your mother and your friends that what you're doing sends a wrong message. When a woman wears a diamond on the third finger of her left hand in this culture, it means that she's not available. Nowhere have I ever heard that it signifies that she's successful at work.
However, I am puzzled about one thing: Can you please explain, since you refuse to wear the ring on another finger or give it up, why you are asking me for advice?
DEAR ABBY: My husband talks out loud and carries on conversations with himself. Sometimes when I'm in another room, I hear him talking, and I think he must be on the phone or that someone is here.
One time he was outside and speaking so loudly I thought a neighbor had dropped by, so I asked him which one. He admitted he was only talking to himself.
Is this a brain disorder, and is there a name for it? -- CURIOUS IN THE EAST
DEAR CURIOUS: I don't think it's a brain disorder, so quit worrying. When I do this -- and I admit that I sometimes do -- and my husband mentions it, I tell him I'm talking to the person who understands me the best. (If it was something to worry about, I would probably have been certified long ago.)
P.S. If this bothers you, ask him to speak more softly.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)