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Chronic Unhappiness Is a Symptom

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Dear Cheryl,

My wife was a perfectionist, an emotionally abusive hothead who felt entitled to complain about anything she chose. However, you didn't dare criticize her. She was just plain mean. Her behavior, I learned, was a symptom of depression.

Living with her was like living with a drug addict who hurts all those who love them and refuses to change until they bottom out. She refused to change even when I threatened divorce. Once she was sure I meant it, she finally woke up and took responsibility for herself. She began seeing a therapist and started taking an antidepressant. Now she is sweet as can be and enjoying life.

I don't know why so many people refuse to get help when it's available. Depression is a terrible condition and sucks the joy out of life. — Finally Happy

Dear Finally Happy,

Thank you for your letter. I hope it will make others see that chronic unhappiness isn't a normal state. It's a symptom and can be treated. No one should have to live with it or live with someone who suffers from it.

Dear Cheryl,

You've heard from me before. A year ago, I wrote about obsessing over the girl my boyfriend left for me. I worried he was thinking about her even though he obviously cared about me a lot.

I got over it, and we were happy together. He wanted us to move in together, but I just didn't think he was The One. We broke up late last year.

I met a guy earlier this year. We're dating long-distance. On our first date, he mentioned he recently broke up with his girlfriend.

I did some digging and looked her up on Facebook and Twitter. Now I can't stop comparing myself to her, where they went, the presents he bought her and just wondering if he really does care about me like he says. I know I'm ruining things by digging, but I just can't seem to help it. The Internet makes it so easy!

I know my boyfriend is crazy about me. So was my ex. He's done a ton to prove it — staying extra nights when he visits, introducing me to his good friends, texting and emailing me throughout the day, and always texting goodnight. Yet I just can't help but think about his ex!

I know (from my research) that she left him for another guy, but when he told me about their breakup, he didn't seem too bothered by it. Still, I'm not sure if he's rebounding and moving too fast with me, and if he still cares for her.

(You might not believe this, but I'm normally a very secure person. But for some reason, these two women get to me.)

I know I'm sabotaging myself. What's wrong with me, and how do I stop? Apparently I Love to Suffer

Dear AILTS,

I'm curious — what are you secure about? If your blouse goes with your skirt?

There's nothing I can tell you that you don't already know about how destructive your behavior is. What I can do is advise you to talk to a therapist, someone who can help you understand why you don't feel you deserve to be happy, someone who can help you feel worthy of love.

Please take me advice and stay in touch.

Got a problem? Send it to cheryllavin@aol.com. And check out my blog www.talesfromthefront.com. To find out more about Cheryl Lavin, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.

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