DEAR HARRIETTE: I have always considered myself to be happy and cheerful. I am motivated to be successful, and I am a sociable person. Recently, I have been having a constant feeling of anxiety and sadness. I am not sure why I have been feeling like this because I have never been one to suffer from anxiety or depression before. Nothing in my life seems to have had triggered this, but it has gotten to the point where I experience these feelings every day. I disclosed this information to a friend, and she has advised me to see a counselor or therapist. The thought of me seeking professional help for the feelings I am having seems odd to me, and I am not a fan of the idea. With my friend’s advice taken into consideration, I need some help on how I can deal with this myself, or any other alternatives to seeing a medical professional. -- NOT SO HAPPY, Norman, Oklahoma
DEAR NOT SO HAPPY: First, I’m sorry you are feeling sad. That is a hard place to be, and it often feeds on itself, leading one to feel worse over time.
Second, I need you to know that there’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help. In fact, it’s way better than talking to friends who are not experts. Getting private, professional support to work through an emotional problem is smart. Yes, it may seem odd, but it really can help.
If you feel depressed and want to call someone (and this goes for anyone reading this column), go to mentalhelp.net/articles/depression-hotline/ to find the hotline number nearest you. Don’t suffer alone.