Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a control problem. I have an active role in my community, and it is my responsibility to coordinate different events to make things happen. At times when I have other stuff going on, it becomes very stressful because I feel compelled to handle every detail on my own. I know that, as a leader, it is important to be able to trustfully delegate tasks, but I have had people disappoint me in the past, and I am not comfortable placing responsibility on someone else's shoulders. Still, I feel as though doing everything on my own is creating stress levels that are unhealthy and unnecessary. It is extremely inefficient for me to do everything, and I am doing half as much as needs to be done in twice as long, with less perfection. I am aware that I need assistance, but I do not know how to go about finding helpers I can rely on to do a good job. And though I hate to admit it, I am almost too proud to even ask. -- Control Freak, Flushing, N.Y.

DEAR CONTROL FREAK: Take a deep breath and evaluate what needs to get done. Now is the time to swallow your pride and consider how you can effectively meet the demands on your time and fulfill your responsibilities. Guess what? You already know that you need help. Now you must open your eyes, write out a specific list of the tasks that are left to be handled and invite others to support you in taking on those duties. When you delegate with specificity, you create a better opportunity for people to succeed.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I think I am a compulsive eater. It hasn't become a problem yet because I am relatively thin, but I know I am headed into the days of a slow metabolism and increasingly unhealthy food. I am not exaggerating -- sometimes I go home and I will sit and eat past the point of comfort. I have no idea why, but sometimes I will even put off doing necessary tasks because I want to eat instead. I am really scared that it is going to get worse unless I control myself, but I don't know where to start. The only times I feel like I am not overeating are times when I am not around food. Is this stemming from some deeply rooted psychological disturbance, or is it all in my head? -- I Am Not Even Hungry, Milton, Miss.

DEAR I AM NOT EVEN HUNGRY: I am curious as to what else is going on in your life. Compulsive eating typically masks other problems, as you currently imagine. Compulsive eating disorder is considered one of the main food disorders, and it can be incredibly difficult to stop.

The good news is that you already recognize you are suffering with compulsive eating. Schedule an appointment with your internist and ask for help. Begin an exercise program that will empower you and distract you from dangerous behavior. Decide to eat in a healthy manner, and shop accordingly. Most of all, get help. For more information on this topic, go to