Far­away friend de­spairs over woman suf­fer­ing de­pres­sion

The Tribune (SLO) - - Fun & Games - JEANNE PHILLIPS Con­tact Dear Abby at www. DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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 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.

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. Please warn your read­ers to not make the same mis­take. En­joy the life you have. 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 a hard-earned les­son. Thank you for want­ing to share it.

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