Annie's Mailbox Her son is too young for details
Dear Annie: Eight years ago, my son's father shot himself in front of me. I was five months pregnant at the time. I went for counseling, but it didn't seem to help, and lately, it has been bothering me a great deal.
My son has begun asking questions about his father and how he died. I don't know what to tell him. I feel he is too young for the vivid details. However, his constant questions make me irritated and impatient. I am married to a wonderful guy, and it is unfair to my son and my husband that I have these "mood swings." My problem is not their fault.
A friend suggested I may have post-traumatic stress syndrome. Is there anything I can do about it? Unhappy in Virginia
Dear Virginia: You may indeed be suffering from delayed-response post-traumatic stress disorder. You witnessed a horrifying event, and your son's questions remind you of it. Ask your doctor to recommend a therapist who can properly evaluate you. Treatment can include psychotherapy and medication. For more information, call the Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Alliance (ptsdalliance.org) at (877) 507-PTSD (877-507-7873).
Dear Annie: I am compelled to respond to "Concerned Mom," whose son, "Danny," suffered from depression, and she thought he was getting worse. She asked if she should go visit him, even though her husband said it was interference. Thank you for telling her to trust her gut.
Last year, I was depressed. I thought I hated my job. I became withdrawn and sad, and grew very confused. I saw a doctor and began taking antidepressants, but I didn't get better. My condition deteriorated to the point where I couldn't get out of bed. I thought I was losing my mind. I told no one, not my doctor or my husband. I don't know why.
After months of decline, I finally was diagnosed with a large brain tumor. I now know that the symptoms of a brain tumor can often mirror that of depression. My mother was the one who flew 2,000 miles on a mission to get to the bottom of my condition. Thank God she did.
Annie, tell your readers who are depressed also to have a complete physical. I am now on my way to a full and complete recovery. I pray the same for Danny. Getting Better in California
Dear California: Thank you for reminding our readers that depression can mask other physical symptoms that need treatment. Bless your mother for intuitively knowing that her child needed her, and for taking the necessary action.
Dear Annie: Your response to "Tapped Out in New Jersey" was a mile off. She was invited to the graduation party of a co-worker's sons, but couldn't afford two gifts. You told her to send a card, but not to show up empty-handed. Since when is a gift the price of admission to a graduation party? If the host is upset that a guest doesn't bring a gift, then it's no party, it's a shakedown.
People should be made to feel like an appreciated guest, not ashamed that they don't have the money for a gift. Should my guests choose to bring a gift, I am flattered, but I let everyone know they are invited because I value them as friends, not donors. Friends Are the Best Medicine in Vail, Colo.
Dear Vail: That's sweet of you, but when one is invited to a graduation party, a wedding, a shower, etc., it is customary (and proper) to congratulate with a gift. If the co-worker were a close friend, we would say go anyway, but otherwise, it can be embarrassing for both the guest and the co-worker.
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