DEAR ABBY: I am sick of being afraid of everything in my life. I'm a 21-year-old college student who wakes up every morning wondering what will go wrong today or what I am going to screw up this time. I don't know how to get beyond the little misfortunes that occur on a daily basis, and I take every form of criticism to heart, even if it's a joke.
I get nervous before and during every activity I take part in. I also get nervous talking to close friends and relatives and have a hard time articulating what I mean to say because I'm afraid everyone is judging me.
Please tell me how to relax for once; I honestly do not know how. My stress level is over the top, and it exhausts me beyond belief. I know I have a problem, and counseling is not an option. -- MESSED UP IN OHIO
DEAR MESSED UP: Excuse me? Counseling is not only an "option," in your case it is important you seek it out. You are fortunate to be in college, because your next stop should be the student health center. Anxiety can feed on itself, and sometimes it takes medical and psychological intervention to quiet the adrenaline rush that's causing it. Once that's done, you can then address the cause of your depression and low self-esteem and start feeling better about yourself. Please don't wait.