Q. My step-daughter has a child who lies constantly. Her lies are obvious and very annoying. I can barely stand to be around the child, but was told not to intervene. Why do children lie when it would often be easier to tell the truth?
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Q. I am planning to retire this year, and suddenly I’m frightened. I’m not sure what do with my time. My husband keeps telling me to do it, but I am uncertain if I want to do it. Can you give some advice?
MENTAL HEALTH COLUMN – June 12
Q. I am a widow in my early 80s. I just can’t do the things I have done in the past. I don’t hear as well, I tire much more easily, and I can’t drive at night to see my friends who live only 10 or 20 miles away. I don’t have any mental or physical problems except old age. Can you suggest ways that I can adapt my lifestyle without feeling like “the tired old lady?”
Q. I hate my job, but I don’t want to quit. It’s so bad that I get physically sick on Sunday nights. I’m irritable at work, annoy my coworkers, and often don’t even complete jobs. No one wants to be around me. Can you give me some suggestions on how to keep my job without losing my mind?
Q. My grandson was just diagnosed with autism. My daughter said it wasn’t really autism, but Asperger’s. Could you explain the difference between the two?
Q. My husband had heart by-pass surgery two months ago and appears to be recovering well physically. However, he’s lost interest in most of his usual activities and complains frequently about being tired and depressed, and that is not improving at all. Could his depression be related to his heart surgery?
Q. My mother is in her late 80s. She is asking me to come home and live nearby because she is depressed. I’ve begged her to take medication, but she won’t. Although I’m divorced, I have a settled life in another state. I don’t want to relocate right now. What can I do at 55 to satisfy my mother and keep my own independence?
Q. I have a friend who was seriously hurt in an accident a few weeks ago because a teenage girl was texting and ran her off the road. Although my friend will be fine, I am very angry that so many people don’t realize the harm they are causing others by texting or reading texts while they are driving. Please address the dangers this is causing not only to teens, but to all other innocent people.
Q. My daughter is being verbally abused by her husband. She says she loves him, and denies that he is abusive, but I have overheard the arguments, and I know she is in denial. He throws things and screams about everything, especially when he’s drinking. She was so self-assured, and now she is scared of everything. What can I do to help her realize there is a problem in her marriage?
Q. In one of my college classes, the instructor said that one should not drink alcohol at all during pregnancy. My gynecologist said it was OK as long as I only had one drink. Two other girls in class said that their doctor told them the same thing, and they continued to drink throughout their pregnancies. What is the right answer?
Q. I am a widow who lives alone. My daughter, who is in her late 30s, asked if a friend of hers, who is going through a divorce, could stay with me for two weeks until her place was ready. It has been two months, her place is still not ready, and she has shown no desire to move out. She also does not cook or clean up after herself. My daughter says I’m being selfish, but I want her out of my house. How can I set a boundary between being helpful and having people take advantage of me?
Q. My son, who was my best friend, died suddenly from a drug overdose. I have been overwhelmed with loss, guilt, and despair for much of that time. Most days I am crying or angry. It has been almost impossible to work because people either avoid me or look at me with pity. Why do I feel like I’m moving forward some days and others days I feel like this is all new territory?
Q. I have had periods of depression all my adult life. I have taken anti-depressants; they helped, but I have never felt completely OK. Is there any other solution for my spells of depression?
Q. When our son was a baby, my husband and I let him sleep with us. Now he is almost 3 years old and we have not been able to get him to sleep in his own room. When we try to put him to bed he screams, so it is easier just to let him stay with us. How do we get him into his own bed?
Q. My husband is angry all of the time and yells constantly. He gets so upset about the election that he screams at the television until his face is red and he is shaking. I’ve asked him to go to a doctor, but he says it’s too late to change and he inherited his temper from his father. I told him that he can change, but do you think he really can?
Q. I am really neat and keep my house spotless. My husband says I have OCD. He has told all of our friends and now every time I clean my rugs, people say it’s OCD. Even our children have started calling me “OCD Mom.” It is my understanding that having a normal, clean house is not a mental health problem. Can you explain OCD to my family?
Q. I am in my second semester of college. Lately I have been feeling depressed for the first time ever and falling behind in my work. I have talked with a school counselor and she agreed that I’m depressed. She suggested medication and therapy. My parents, who are paying for my insurance, are highly against medication and “telling my problems to a stranger.” They tell me that my problem is my lack of faith in God and that I don’t pray enough. I feel so confused. Please help.
Q. I’ve been having panic attacks for the past few months. I know what they are because I had them when I was younger. Now, I am also experiencing some depression. I have an appointment with my doctor to discuss medication for both of these. I get nervous, and forget to ask questions about medications. Can you give me a list of what I need to ask?
Q. I am getting married for the second time. My first marriage was a disaster because we had none of the same interests, lost the ability to communicate and stopped doing anything together. I’m certain that my “boyfriend” has bought a ring and plans to ask me to marry him. I love him, but I am scared to commit to another potential disaster. Can you give me some tips to avoid repeating the same mistakes?
Q. I think my mother, who is in her late 70s, is showing signs of Alzheimer’s. She is increasingly forgetful, and has become negative and nasty. She was never like this. My two brothers think that there is nothing wrong with her because they only visit once or twice a month and then stay for an hour or two. I’m with her on an almost daily basis. How can I convince them that she has a problem that we need to address?
Q. I am in my late 70s. Although I have no life-threatening illnesses, I want to talk to my children about my end-of-life wishes. When they were here over the holidays, they absolutely refused to talk about it. They will be back in February, and I am determined to have the conversation. Please give me some advice on how to approach 40-year-olds who won’t have a discussion.
Q. Our daughter, who is in her late 40s, has become addicted to pain medication. She was taking it as prescribed for injuries received in a car accident, and now she is taking eight or nine pills a day. Could you please explain the dangers of these medications so that she and others will understand the problems of pain pill addiction?
Q. Starting in January each year, I get very depressed. I think I may have a low-level depression, but I deal with it effectively other times. In the winter, however, I don’t want to go to work, do things with friends or get out of bed. Why does this keep happening and what can I do about it?
Q. My husband barks at me rather than speaks; he criticizes my cooking, my clothes and just about everything I do. I am so unhappy, but afraid of the financial problems I may have if I leave since I’m in my 50s and have had little work experience. He tells me that I’m too sensitive, but I feel that he is a bully. Is this co-dependency and why do so many people fall victim to it?
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