DEAR ABBY: I've been thinking about suicide a lot lately, more than usual. I'm not angry about anything, just in pain. I keep getting knocked down after I try so hard to pick myself up. I tried calling a hotline, gave up on that. (I guess they're busy.) I can't afford doctors and psychiatrists.
The weather's changing, and I don't do well in the cold. I always get down when the temperatures drop. I love my home, but sometimes I wonder if I'm really happy here. I can't imagine leaving.
My kids live within a couple hours' drive. They have beautiful kids of their own. I'm going to miss them dearly. I no longer feel I have anything to offer in other aspects of my life. I wonder why I have to just exist. I've heard people say when someone dies "at least they're not in pain anymore." That sounds pretty good to me.
I guess I just really wanted to get this off my chest. I don't expect a miracle, but thanks for listening. -- ANONYMOUS IN ARKANSAS
DEAR ANONYMOUS: You're welcome. I'm glad you shared your feelings. You are not alone, and there is help for you. Pick up the phone and call 800-273-8255. It's the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and it is staffed 24 hours a day by people who can help you to form coping strategies for your depression. I don't know what number you called the first time -- you may have misdialed -- but there IS help available, and no one is "too busy" to provide it. You simply have to reach out for it. Please don't wait.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been together for 30 years, married for 20. We have two sons living at home, a 20-year-old who works full-time and a 17-year-old who is graduating from high school in the spring.
I have been offered a transfer to Australia by my employer -- a transfer I had asked for. When we discussed it in the past, everyone was all for it. My oldest can likely stay with the multinational hotel chain he works for now, and I can get my youngest a decent career in my field of work as there is a tremendous shortage of skilled labor in Australia.
Now my wife tells me she can't leave her family, especially her father, who has Parkinson's. I have told her she can expect to return every summer to our condo on the beach and an additional two trips per year.
Abby, I thought our vows meant we would be together forever, wherever. My employer will soon begin the process of opening the Australian office, a process I will be part of and likely train the new hire. I am bitter and resentful toward my wife, and it is affecting my attitude toward her. I love her, but I am struggling to get over the fact she is denying me a very lucrative opportunity. Advice? -- LOSING OUT IN CANADA
DEAR LOSING OUT: It's time for you and your wife to put your heads together and work out a solution. By that I mean you should accept the lucrative business opportunity you have been offered, and your wife can take care of her father as long as she needs to. Unless his condition is critical, she can visit you and your sons periodically so it shouldn't put too much strain on your marriage. I hope you will consider it because the kind of resentment you are feeling now can destroy a marriage.
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 $8 (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.)