Dear Annie: I have read columns like yours since I was a child in the 1980s and always figured, "Yeah, I have problems, but I can handle them." I guess not.
I am in my mid-40s and have two kids and a husband who keeps a roof over my head. I am unemployed, recently losing my job with family because the business closed. I have a head injury from being hit by a car when I was 16, and since losing the family job, I have been finding it difficult to find another, not able enough for work outside of a family business yet not disabled enough for government help. I have been rejected two times.
That's the back story. My problem is that though I have been taking my antidepressants (so that's not it), I cannot seem to get motivated to do anything anymore. I go to have coffee with my friends each weekday. And then I come home and don't want to do anything. My husband says, "Why didn't you (whatever); you were home all day." I don't know why. Am I just lazy? — Sitting Around
Dear Sitting Around: First off, taking antidepressants doesn't mean depression is no longer a problem for you. Let your doctor know what you're experiencing to see whether he or she needs to adjust your treatment. Also, medication is most effective when supplemented with therapy, so consider asking your doctor to refer you to a therapist.
Know that what you're going through is perfectly normal. No matter the reasons for a job loss, adjusting to unemployment is rarely easy, especially for someone who has been working for years. It's natural to feel a combination of restlessness and sluggishness. You are not lazy; you are bored and could possibly use some more structure to your days.
So look for other sources of stimulation and routine, such as social clubs, hobby-oriented groups and volunteer opportunities. Don't be afraid to try activities that are a little outside your comfort zone. That's where great things happen. Most importantly, stay in touch with yourself, your family and your doctors about how you're feeling. In time, you'll get back your get-up-and-go.
Dear Annie: In reference to the writer asking about whether to tip on the gross amount or to tip on the pretax amount, I agree that one should not feel obligated to tip on the gross amount. Many places of business now have pre-calculated tip options — e.g., 15, 18 and 20 percent — at the touch of a button. This is always figured on the gross check (after tax has been applied). If you wish to tip 20 percent but only want it figured on the pretax amount, choose 18 percent. Because most sales tax rates are about 9 percent, you will find that this comes out to within pennies of the pretax 20 percent figure. — Kansas Accountant
Dear Kansas Accountant: Thank you for the expert tip! Always happy to learn more helpful little tricks such as this.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]