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DEAR ABBY: Threatened suicide shocks teen who's expected to help

DEAR ABBY: I have a sibling, "Bailey," who suffers from panic attacks and anxiety disorder. Bailey was first diagnosed while I was at college. I had a psychology class that helped me understand the basics of what he was going through, but whenever there would be a problem with him, I would always feel out of my depth.

Bailey has improved over the last couple years thanks to medicine and lots of therapy. But recently, he threatened to commit suicide. Our parents took him straight to the hospital. When I came home after work and heard what had happened, I sympathized with my parents, but I had no idea how to respond to such an ordeal. Worse, my parents want ME to talk to Bailey. Where do I even begin?! Please advise. -- At a Loss in the East

DEAR AT A LOSS: Much as your parents might wish it, you are not an expert when it comes to mental illness and you cannot be your brother's therapist. When you see Bailey, tell him you love him and had no idea he was in so much pain. Ask what kind of emotional support he needs from you, and be prepared to listen. Encourage him to talk openly with his therapist, because no one should have to go through what he is experiencing alone.

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to "Tom" for nine years. I moved into his house after we married. I downsized a lot of my belongings, but the problem is, Tom doesn't want me to have anything of mine in his house. He's always giving my things away or saying what I do have is trash. I have decided to put everything of mine into storage. I will even keep my clothing elsewhere and keep only a comb and toothbrush in his home.

I have tried talking to him and he says he is "only joking" when he offers something of mine to someone else. However, because he has given away my things in the past, it's not a joke to me. -- Guest in My Own House

DEAR GUEST: When a couple marries, depending upon their circumstances, they find a way to combine their belongings or start fresh.

That your husband would give your things away without your permission is insensitive and disrespectful. That you have tolerated it until now tells me your marriage is not one of equals, which is not healthy for you. Under these circumstances, I can understand why you would want to leave.

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.

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