Dear Annie: Tragedy has struck our family. A cousin killed himself on Easter Sunday. I never thought my cousin would do this. He worked with troubled teens and their families. He was outgoing and strong, and helped others through their own tough spots.
A few years ago, his son died by suicide. Since that time, my cousin struggled with depression and a host of other things. Apparently, the pressure and depression overcame him that Sunday. Yet in his everyday life, he was surrounded by people who might have noticed the signs of what was happening had they known what to look for. Sometimes we get so caught up with our own issues that we forget to pay attention to what's going on around us. We need to take time to see the needs of those we love and care for -- things that may lie beneath the surface.
Please help your readers to recognize the signs of someone struggling, and to help that person before it's too late. Suicide doesn't solve the problem -- it only creates devastation for those left behind. -- One Left Behind
Dear Behind: Not everyone who chooses suicide shows signs that others would pick up on. Chances are, your cousin never got over the suicide of his son, a horrible tragedy that undoubtedly contributed to this one, no matter what face he put on for everyone else. Here are some signs to watch for:
Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself; looking for a way to kill oneself; talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live; talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain; talking about being a burden to others; increasing the use of alcohol or drugs; acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly; sleeping too little or too much; withdrawing or feeling isolated; showing rage or talking about seeking revenge; displaying extreme mood swings.
If you or someone you know is in danger of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Trained crisis workers are available 24/7. If you think someone is in immediate danger, do not leave that person alone. Call 911 and stay until help arrives.
Dear Annie: I am responding to "Stuck in Upstate NY," whose wife wants her Greek parents to move in with them. You know nothing about Greek culture if you think your suggestion to move them into a nearby retirement community has any chance of success.
First, the wife's parents probably don't speak English, and second, the idea of having space of their own is nonsense. I experienced the same thing with my Greek husband and his mother many years ago. It doesn't matter how small the house is. His wife's parents will always come first. He needs to face up to the reality that his marriage is probably over. -- American Daughter-in-Law
Dear DIL: It isn't only Greek culture that puts the parents ahead of the spouse. But these same cultures strongly disapprove of divorce. Perhaps once the parents acclimate themselves to their new country, they will be more willing to move into separate quarters -- and preserve their daughter's marriage.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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