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by Abigail Van Buren

Joy Over Finding Love Can't Diminish Pain of Twin's Loss

DEAR ABBY: I have had a serious boyfriend for six months. He's wonderful, a dream come true. But I find myself more depressed and suicidal than ever. Mom tells me I don't have any reason to be depressed since I have a boyfriend. It's like she thinks I have no right to still be despondent over my twin's death because I now have a significant other.

My eating disorder and self-harm have gotten worse, too. I feel like I'm holding in so much sadness I'm not allowed to show that I'm turning it all inward in self-destructive ways. Although I love my boyfriend, I almost feel like breaking up just so everyone won't expect me to be Pollyanna anymore. The third anniversary of my twin's suicide is coming, which is making everything more unbearable. I just don't know what to do. I just want to disappear. -- THINGS AREN'T OK

DEAR THINGS: If your mother truly believes a death in the family (particularly a twin!) is something that can be "fixed" by having a boyfriend, she is deluding herself. You need professional help and right away. There are support groups for survivors of a family member's suicide, and you are three years overdue for finding one. I urge you to contact the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Someone there can help you to locate a support group for the survivors of a loved one's suicide. To find them, go online to afsp.org.

If you are feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and tell a counselor about what's going on. If you do, you can be directed to a licensed therapist in your community who can help. The toll-free number to call is 800-273-8255. Please do not put it off.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Death | Mental Health