DEAR ABBY: I have recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness. I am only 40, and I always took for granted that I had plenty of life left to live. I'm happily married, but I worry because my husband, "Al," has become my caretaker. I feel terrible about it.
My condition is very limiting. I'm in pain all the time and may have to stop working completely. I have developed depression and often cry at home. I feel so guilty, as if I have ruined his life. Al swears he just wants to be with me no matter what we have to go through. I'm just not sure I can handle holding him back from the rest of his life as well. I love him so much. What should I do? -- CHANGED IN TEXAS
DEAR CHANGED: Please allow me to offer my sympathy for your diagnosis. Having a painful, life-limiting health condition at such a young age would depress anyone. Please stop adding to it by burdening yourself with guilt for needing your husband's help. He loves you, and has assured you he "just wants to be with you no matter what."
It's important that you discuss your depression and guilt with your doctor. You may need counseling, medication and perhaps a support group to help you with the life adjustments that may lie ahead. Please gather your resolve to fight these negative emotions and reach out for the help you need. It is there, and once you do, you will realize you have a whole team ready to help you through this.