DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old girl. For the past few years I have been depressed to the point where I have considered cutting myself. I also struggle with anxiety and avoid social situations in order not to experience it.
Mom only knows about my anxiety, but I have been sugarcoating it when I talk to her because I don't want her to worry. Abby, we don't have insurance and are already very poor, so I don't want to burden my family with my problems, which I know would cost a lot of money to treat. What do you suggest I do? -- Needs Help in Missouri
DEAR NEEDS HELP: Because you are afraid to worry your mother, discuss what's going on with a counselor at your school. Please don't wait to do it. That person may have the ability to see you get the professional help you need. It may not be too much for your mother to afford and may even be free.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 20-year-old college student who has never been in a relationship. I try to be as much of an extrovert as possible, but it's hard for me.
I have romantic feelings for a guy I have known for two years. When we see each other in class, we hug and talk a little. I'm having trouble telling him how I feel because, as I've learned from past experience, he may not feel the same.
I don't want to be a big baby about this, but I have a fear of rejection. I have experienced it numerous times. I know it's a part of life, but I don't know if I can take it again. Please tell me what to do about this guy. I can't stop thinking about him. -- Hopeless Romantic
DEAR HOPELESS ROMANTIC: Before declaring your feelings, get to know a little more about your classmate, like whether he's romantically involved with someone else. A way to do that would be to suggest having coffee after class or helping each other study for an exam. Neither of those approaches would be "risky." If he agrees, you will have a better chance of gauging whether he's attracted to you, too. Because he hugs you when he sees you, it's safe to assume he is not repelled.
Let me let you in on a little secret: I don't know anyone who, having experienced rejection, has found it pleasurable. Some of the most successful people I know have encountered rejection more than once, but they didn't let it stop them. Because your fear is preventing you from reaching out, talk about it with a psychologist at the student health center.
Dear Abby, written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © 2015 UNIVERSAL UCLICK.