DEAR ABBY,

I had weight-loss surgery a year ago. I’m now off all medications (high blood pressure, antidepressants, etc.) and take only one multivitamin daily. I feel like I’m 25 again. However, I have also changed mentally. After many years of being a zombie on antidepressants, I feel like I have finally “awakened.”

I come from a dysfunctional, abusive childhood. My father abused my mother. I was diagnosed with dysthymia years ago, and I feel the diagnosis was correct. I now feel my dysthymia has turned more into anxiety than depression. I’m no longer afraid of speaking up and, after 20 years, I actually have opinions of my own.

DEAR ABBY,

I’m a girl in my teens. My best friend moved away, and I miss her so much. It feels like the world has turned against me, and I am depressed.

I don’t like to text her, and I don’t think she would let me call her every single day, although I haven’t asked. I’m afraid we’re not going to be friends anymore, and I feel so distant from my other friends. I made a new friend this year, but it isn’t the same.

What should I do, Abby? Do I talk to her about it? Or should I stop being her friend?

— MISSING MY BEST FRIEND

DEAR MISSING,

It is painful when life separates people. As you pointed out, friendships, unlike Lego blocks, are not interchangeable. Do not suddenly stop communicating with your friend. You should absolutely talk to her and tell her how you are feeling because she may be feeling the same way.

With more time, you will get past this. You will meet more people and establish new relationships. But in the meantime, try to stay busy, which will help you feel less isolated.

DEAR ABBY,

I am an 84-year-old divorced alum from a local college, who has developed feelings for a 59-year-old widowed alum from a local university. She works at my former college and visited me a month ago asking for a donation to the college. Since then, she has shown extreme appreciation of my gift, via letter, emails and phone calls.

I’m curious as to how much her feelings of appreciation are for her success as a fundraiser, or if the attraction could be mutual. Do you think the age difference is too much for me to pursue a meaningful relationship with her? I would appreciate your opinion. Thank you.

— UNKNOWN FEELINGS IN VIRGINIA

DEAR UNKNOWN FEELINGS,

Depending upon the condition you are in physically and financially, the age difference may not be an insurmountable problem. At 59, she is old enough to decide whether it’s a deal-breaker. Invite her out. See if she accepts. If she hits you up for another donation, you will know where you stand.

Needless to say, my family (husband, grown children and in-laws) are not used to this side of me. I find myself feeling resentful, anxious and envious of certain immediate family and in-law family dynamics now. I don’t want to upset my family by being so vocal and opinionated, but I don’t want to get back on mind-altering prescriptions either. I also have little faith that counseling will do much good. I’m afraid I’ll be pushed into taking meds again. I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place right now. Any advice?

— A TOUGH SPOT IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR TOUGH SPOT,

Keeping in mind that no one can force you back on medications if you don’t want them, I do think you could benefit from talking with a licensed mental health professional about this. You have made major changes in your life, and are no longer the person you were when you were prescribed the medications that made you feel like a zombie. A mental health professional can help you to sort out whether you have a problem or whether your family members do in dealing with the new you.

DEAR ABBY,

In the future when I am able, I would like to travel with a mix of single and married ladies. I’m in a committed relationship, and when I discussed this with my partner, we had a difference of opinion.

She believes that happy individuals in committed relationships do not travel with other people. She believes happy couples should travel together and not independently. Is that controlling? I have traveled independently in prior committed relationships, and this has never been an issue.

Should I honor her request or deny it? She is pushing me to respect this rule and says it applies to her as well because she believes “females” let loose when they are away from their significant others. I get the distinct feeling that if I travel independently, there will be an emotional price to pay, or she will do something in my absence that will change the dynamics of our relationship.

— LOVE OR CONTROL

DEAR LOVE,

There are already issues that will change the dynamics of your relationship — your partner’s insecurity and need to control, and your need for some freedom. Unless you are laying down “rules” for her to follow as she is trying to do to you, step back and take a second look at this relationship. Healthy people who love each other want their partner to be happy and fulfilled whether they are together or apart. This takes trust, self-confidence and courage. Rather than the wind beneath your wings, it appears your partner may be more of an anchor.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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