Dear Annie: My parents are getting divorced after 22 years of marriage, and it seems to be strongly affecting my mother in a terribly negative way.
Mom has told me that she has contemplated suicide twice. Once, she even held my brother's gun to her head. Everyone in the family, including my grandmother, my aunts and even my boyfriend, thinks Mom needs counseling.
So how do I suggest it without making her think I'm calling her "crazy"? And another problem is the cost. Mom may refuse to go because it's too expensive. Do you have any suggestions that may help? — Concerned Daughter
Dear Daughter: All mentions of suicide should be taken seriously. You are right that your mother could benefit from professional help, and it doesn't need to be expensive. Tell her you are worried about her and it might help if she talks to someone about her feelings.
Free and low-cost help is available through local churches, graduate school counseling departments, medical school psychology departments, United Way, the YMCA, the YWCA, The Samaritan Institute, NAMI and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and through support groups such as the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and Recovery International. Do a little research on her behalf and make a suggestion, including a website or phone number, so she can get the help she needs. You could even offer to go with her.
Dear Annie: We recently hired a young woman at our business. Like many other 20-somethings, she doesn't understand personal boundaries. May I use your column to give her some advice?
Dear Miss New Hire: Welcome to our company. You got the job over five other highly qualified candidates, which means you are both smart and lucky, but you still have a lot to learn. If you work hard here, you can go far.
Let me tell you a couple of secrets: You are no longer in college. Standards may have changed, but it is still not acceptable to bring all of your problems into the office and discuss them at length. Twenty minutes complaining about your roommate is excessive. So is another 20 minutes on your boyfriend's ex, your sister's drinking, your mother's bodily functions and who you slept with last night. Not only are you wasting time, but you are disturbing others. And they will repeat everything you say to everyone they know — including your boss.
You would be so much better off asking questions and learning the workflow and the purpose of procedures. You are the only one who can make your career path a good one. Start now. Look down the road to where you want to be. If your path continues as it is, I give you six months here. — W.A.
Dear W.A.: Thank you for your honesty. Over-sharing is common, and not only with 20-somethings. Too many people display their entire lives in front of the world and believe this is normal and acceptable. They do not understand the concept of privacy. We hope it will make a comeback soon.
Dear Annie: I'd like to respond to the letter from Ventura, Calif., who questioned whether alcoholism is a disease. As a 33-year recovering alcoholic, I have better knowledge about this than self-righteous folks with superior attitudes.
There is no question that alcoholism is a disease. Only a fool would say it is a choice. The afflicted person has a discernible difference in the brain that results in a disproportionately pleasant response to alcohol.
And whenever anyone chooses to have a drink, it is for the same reason an alcoholic does: to change the way they feel at that moment. Otherwise, a glass of water would do just as well. — Anonymous
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.