Q. I’m undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. I’ve had people say unbelievable things to me. I know they are trying to be helpful, but they aren’t. Could you please address the issue of what NOT to say to a cancer patient?
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Q. I always thought I was depressed, but recently my doctor diagnosed me as Bipolar II. I understand that this is different from Bipolar I, but I still find it rather frightening. Can you tell me more about the difference between the disorders?
Q. I am 45, and the man I’m seeing proposed to me on Christmas. The problem is that all of my friends say he is a narcissist. I’m becoming fearful of accepting his proposal because maybe my friends are right. Can you tell me more about narcissistic behavior?
Q. I am determined to lose weight in the new year, but I can’t stop eating. I eat when I’m not hungry, and I hide my eating from my family and friends. Last week, I ate a box of donuts while driving home from work. I put the box in the trash immediately, so my husband wouldn’t see it. What is wrong with me and what can I do to stop it?
Q. My 17-year-old son texts while he is driving. I’ve asked him to stop several times, but he says he’s a good driver and nothing will happen to him. I’m really frightened, especially with the holiday traffic. Could you please explain why so many young people don’t think it’s a problem?
Q. I hate the holidays. I have a lovely family, but I get depressed thinking about the good times we had when our children were small and my parents were alive, so I sit around and do nothing. What can I do to make my holidays more pleasant?
Q. Because of my husband’s job, we have to entertain and give holiday parties. I am sick of the people who drink too much, make fools of themselves, and drive away half drunk. How can I keep the heavy drinkers away from the alcohol, so that no one feels remorse the next morning? Please give some advice to me and the party-goers. Maybe they’ll read your column.
Q. My son was in a serious car accident last year. He was driving, but it was not his fault. He was in the hospital for a week, but the other two friends who were with him were more seriously hurt. One could not return to school. My son seemed fine for months, but suddenly he has become argumentative and difficult. Could this be a result of the accident trauma?
Q. I am involved with a man who verbally abuses me, but he has never been physically abusive. Every time I leave him, he convinces me to come back. I do everything to please him because I really love him. I was told that I’m in a co-dependent relationship. Can you explain exactly what that means?
Q. I was diagnosed with a Borderline Personality Disorder a few years ago. My friends tell me the diagnosis is probably wrong. Could you tell us more about the condition?
Q. I seem to have memory problems when I get too busy at work. I can’t avoid work at this time. I’ve been to the doctor, and he says I don’t really have a problem. Can you give me some tips to improve my memory?
Q. My daughter doesn’t want to go to school because she is afraid she is going to vomit. She has a good home life and has never experienced a frightening episode around vomiting. What has caused this and what can we do to help her?
Q. My teenage granddaughter spent some time with me recently. She eats very little, and is extremely thin. I have also heard her throwing up after she has eaten a small meal. Could you tell me more about bulimia and anorexia and what causes it? Should I confront her? Should I try to get her help?
Q. My wife who is in her early 60s had surgery several months ago. She continues to take seven to eight pain killers a day that she gets from several doctors. She is irritable, out of it and denies that pain meds are her problem. Could you please explain the dangers of these medications so that my wife and others will understand the problems of pain pill addiction?
Q. Tell me why people are saying it’s wrong to spank my children? I’ve spanked them all and never had a problem. Why do all of these so-called professionals think we should stop something that has worked?
Q. My 17- year-old daughter is pregnant again. She’s mostly interested in partying, not mothering. I know she continues to smoke, and I think she may be drinking and using other drugs. Please address the harm that these substances can do, so that I can give her the column.
Q. I am a college freshman. I have been depressed and having panic attacks since the first week of college. I’m away from home for the first time, and I miss my family and friends from high school. I feel like I’m sinking, and I want to drop out and go home. Is this normal? I feel so alone.
Q. My mother is bipolar and my aunt is schizophrenic. I’ve been reading that mental disorders are inherited. Is that true? If so, what are my chances of having a mental health problem? I’m really afraid of becoming schizophrenic.
Q. I’m in my early 40’s and I’m getting married for the second time. I had such a bad marriage the first time that I didn’t think I would ever be with anyone again. I’m frightened that this marriage will end up as horrible as the last one. Please give me some pointers on how to make my marriage successful this time.
Q. My husband has asked for a divorce. He says there is no one else; he is just tired of being with me. He’s refusing to discuss it or get help, even though I have begged him to seek counseling. I’ve moved out, and he doesn’t want me to return. I’m 28, and I feel like my life is over. How can I move on when I don’t know what happened?
Q. My 10-year-old son just returned to school. He’s already talking about how much he hates it. Last year, he complained of being sick all of the time, and missed several days. He was barely promoted to the next grade. What can I do to make this school year better?
Robin Williams, who had wealth, fame and the respect of millions, committed suicide last week. His actions are another reminder that depression, mental illness and substance abuse can be found in the richest and most successful. It can be found in friends, in family. It can be found in self. His suicide was a reminder that we never really know the pain of others, and often do not understand the depth of our own pain.
Q. My friend’s teen grandson came to live with her recently. Since then, she has had nothing but trouble with him. He is angry, and he is getting worse since he’s living with her. I know she reads your column. Could you give her some advice?
Q. My daughter had her first child a month ago. She shows little interest in the baby, and even less in her husband. Is this post-partum? She had problems with depression when she was in high school and college, and I’m afraid they are returning. How can we help her?
Q. My husband cheated on me with one of his co-workers. He knows he made a mistake and begged my forgiveness. I am trying to forgive him even though it is difficult. I want to find out what is wrong with our marriage that made him cheat in the first place. He says there is nothing wrong, and he is happy. I’ve always thought we had a good marriage, too. He says that he doesn’t know why he cheated. Could this be true?