DEAR ABBY — I have known "Charlotte" for 17 years. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding, and we talk and text regularly. I consider her one of my best friends.
Charlotte has had a tough couple …
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Charlotte has had a tough couple years and has sunk into a depression. We live on opposite sides of the country, so I don't see her in person often, but I can hear the change in our phone conversations. She even admits that she's in a depression.
Recently, she told me she feels she no longer has a reason to live and has considered harming herself. Because I live so far away, I couldn't get to her so I could be there for her, but I called a mutual friend ("Sandy") who lives nearby and asked her to check on my friend. Charlotte didn't mention anything to Sandy about the way she was feeling or her thoughts of suicide and pretended like everything was OK.
I know things are NOT OK, and I'm extremely worried that Charlotte may hurt herself in a moment of despair. She has a therapist she sees on occasion, and I have urged Charlotte to be honest with her about her feelings. Charlotte says she will, but I'm not sure if she actually does.
How do I help her? Should I go visit her to show her she has friends who love and support her? Is there anything more I can do than encourage her to stick with counseling?
Worried sick in Indiana
DEAR WORRIED — If you know the name of Charlotte's therapist, you could write the person a letter about your friend confiding to you that she feels she has no reason to live anymore and has considered harming herself. Because of privacy laws, the therapist may not be able to communicate with you, but at least she will be aware. Whether Charlotte was serious or just venting, this is something her therapist would be in a better position to help with than you are from a distance.
DEAR ABBY — I am almost 50 and have huge regrets about a terrible decision I made in my late 20s. I was married to my high school sweetheart when an older married man came into my life. He told me everything I wanted to hear and showered me with all the attention I was missing from my husband. I became swept up in the fairy tale fantasy and hurt my husband, my true love, deeply.
Of course, nothing the married man said was true. He never followed through on his promises. I knew the affair was wrong and it typically never works out, but I thought this was different and we'd live happily ever after.
I try not to dwell on how differently my life would have turned out if I hadn't fallen starry-eyed in puppy love for that man. I only have myself to blame. Please warn your readers to not make the same mistake. Enjoy the life you have, especially when you are young. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. It may look better, but trust me, there's a lot of hidden weeds.
Wised up in Georgia
DEAR WISED UP — Having an affair is never a good idea. Yours taught you an important, hard-earned lesson. Thank you for wanting to share it with my readers.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.
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