The Great Depression
Too Much Pain
In the opening of Hans Christian Andersonís story ďThe Snow Queen,Ē a malevolent sprite invents a mirror that reflects all things as ugly and grotesque. When the mirror shatters, a fragment flies into little Kayís eye and another into his heart, distorting his vision and deadening his soul, so that the world he sees is full of ugliness and evil. Depression is something like that, TMPóit warps our inner vision, so we canít appreciate our own beauty and worth. But depression isnít a fairy tale, nor is it a character flaw or self-pity, and, although some people do not understand this, it is not your fault. You do not deserve to feel this bad. You do not deserve the need to hurt yourself physically to stop hurting so much emotionally. Depression is a medical condition, an illness that saps our energy and destroys our joy, but when treated it is almost always manageable and even curable. For some people, anti-depressant drugs are almost a miracle.
You have to tell your parents whatís going on. Although there are some web sites you can turn to, such as www.focusas.com and www.suicidehotline.com, for help in understanding whatís happening to you, and while itís good to get as much information as you can, you need medical attention. If your parents canít help, speak to your school counselor or nurse or your family doctor if you have one. There are books, too. I havenít read these, so I canít exactly recommend them, but you can start with Bodily Harm by Karen Conterio and Wendy Lader and Women Who Hurt Themselves by Dusty Miller. Your local library should have them. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone; there are people who want to help you. The next time you feel like hurting yourself, even if itís just a passing thought, call (800) SUICIDE (784-2433). Itís a crisis line available 24 hours a day. There may also be a local hotlineócheck your yellow pages. Hang in there, kiddo. If you hold on and get the help you need, you might be very surprised how many peopleóincluding you and meówill be glad you stayed alive.
I donít get this Internet dating business. I mean, is it just a place for people to go who arenít interested in real relationships? Iíve been online with this one guy for several weeks and heís really fun to chat with, but every time I suggest actually meeting in person heís got an excuse. All Iíve asked for is a weekday coffee dateónot even dinner or a Saturday night movieóbut he always says heís too busy at work, or has a project at home he has to finish. Or if I get affectionate online with him, he disappears for days. Then he comes back and tells me how sweet I am, and how important Iím becoming to him, and how heís never known anyone like me, all of which makes me feel really good. And I get over feeling put off and start to believe he really likes me all over again. But I still want to meet him. I know where he lives and Iím tempted to drive by, but I think that wouldnít be exactly playing fair. Also, he told me that since he started online dating me he had taken himself off the dating service list, but when I signed up a girlfriend of mine I saw his profile. Why would he lie? Should I tell him?
Girlfriend, can you spell l-o-s-e-r? There are lots of people who go online looking for true loveóand some lucky ones find itóbut this joker isnít one of them. There are a million reasons why people lie online. Itís the one place they can pretend to be someone else and get away with it. Usually people improve themselves. Heavier- and older-than-they-want-to-be gals routinely drop 50 pounds and 15 years from their profile descriptions. Short, married, middle-aged, bald accountants bill themselves as tall, single 28-year-old surfers with thick blonde ponytails. And those are just the ones who donít mean any real harm. The ínet is full of predators who disguise themselves to gain access to kids or con the gullible out of their money.
Maybe this guy is married, or too busy chatting with another dozen or so women heís been wooing online. Or whatever. Whatís obvious is that, even if heís otherwise exactly who he says he is, he isnít interested in a deeper relationship with you. Delete this one and keep looking.
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