Dear Annie: I'm 63 and fat, have been divorced for 20 years and live at the poverty level on social security. I am depressed and do not see the point of anything. My three adult children are grown and are truly great people. I see all of them about once a week. I also have two wonderful grandchildren. They are my only success, but they have their own lives.
I would like a part-time job, but cannot stand for more than five minutes at a time because of my weight. I just started a medical weight loss program, but it will be at least a year before the results will make a difference.
I sleep 10 to 12 hours a day because I don't want to think about my life. My doctor suggested taking more of my antidepressant, but it has not helped. Do you know of anything that will?
Lonely and Depressed in Indy
Dear Lonely: First talk to your doctor about changing your antidepressant. You may have built up a tolerance, making it less effective. Then check your state, city and county government offices for jobs for women, seniors and the disabled, or for vocational training services to learn to do computer work from home. You might also find help through the U.S. Department of Labor (doleta.gov) or through servicelocator.org at 1-877-US2-JOBS. Please don't give up.
Dear Annie: This is the first letter I've ever written to an advice column, but I'd like to present the other side of the story.
I read the letter from "No Lights," who complained about her husband, to whom she's been married for 40 years. She said he neglects her and their home, has had numerous affairs, and "forces" her to have sex. You said it seemed abusive.
Having lived a similar life, here's my take: I have been married for 35 years to a woman who is depressed, overweight and neglectful. I still love her, but she makes it difficult. We haven't had sex in more than 14 years because she doesn't care for it. And she won't talk about it with me or see a counselor. She hasn't kissed or hugged me in just as long of a time. When I try to hug her, she says, "Leave me alone." We don't go anywhere together. We don't sleep together. She says it's my fault, but our grown children know that's not true.
There are reasons people do what they do, but it's not always the fault of one person. I admit my part in this, but at least I'm willing to discuss it and clear the air. It's not always the husband's fault.
Dear P.: We appreciate your input and don't deny that some wives can be difficult and problems with intimacy run both ways. We know that some unhappy couples claim to love each other and choose to stay together, but it doesn't justify neglect, forced sex and multiple affairs. This is why we recommend counseling for those who are miserable, whether your spouse goes or not. When partners treat each other disrespectfully and abusively, they are better off apart.
Dear Annie: I appreciate your printing the letter about the rare congenital disorder schizencephaly.
As a pathologist with special training in childhood diseases, I would also like to bring attention to the nonprofit organization known as NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). They are headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut. Their website, www.rarediseases.org, has a wealth of information about rare diseases, most of which become symptomatic in infancy or childhood. Their user-friendly website has separate sections for patients and their families, patient support organizations, and medical professionals.
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