Dear Annie: One of my home's attributes is that it has acres of conservation woods behind it. My neighbor from across the street, "Mr. X," has been crossing my property to dump his yard waste in the woods. Today I asked him to stop.
The footing can be treacherous, and I don't want a lawsuit if Mr. X gets hurt. My property is not a right of way. Dumping on someone's land without permission is illegal in our state. I know he doesn't have permission.
I have no curtains on that side of the house and open my bathroom window all the way while I shower and dry off. It is creepy to look out my window and see someone who should not be there. I'm not hanging curtains. I shouldn't have to. He shouldn't be there.
When I informed Mr. X not to cross my property, he said he'd just go through another neighbor's yard to dump. He can still look right in. Contacting the owner of the conservation woods is not an option. I'm tempted to call in a peeping Tom report because it creeps me out so much. I want my privacy back. Any suggestions? — Creeped Out
Dear Creeped: Who does this man think he is? He's awfully brazen. It sounds as if it's time for this little troll to be sent back under his bridge. Given that your neighborly chat accomplished nothing, I see no reason you shouldn't call your county's illegal-dumping hotline to report this crime. If you don't have such a hotline in your area, call the non-emergency number for the police. And in the meantime, it wouldn't hurt to get curtains.
Dear Annie: I recently read the letter from "Wanting to Stop Worrying and Start Living," a freshman in college who has experienced severe hypochondria since leaving home. While reading the letter, as a health care provider, I recognized, as did you, the person is experiencing anxiety. However, this also has characteristics of a specific anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder.
I have treated many teenagers and adults with OCD, and I agree that "Wanting" needs to be evaluated. In addition to counseling, "Wanting" might benefit from seeing a doctor, either a primary care physician or a psychiatrist, to work with in this regard. Medication might help relieve the symptoms quickly while "Wanting" works with a counselor to deal with the root causes and learns appropriate coping mechanisms.
If she is apprehensive about talking with the doctor about her symptoms, I would recommend that she take a copy of the letter she wrote to you and present it. The doctor could then help guide the conversation and put the patient at ease.
Please let "Wanting" know she is not alone and there are many others with similar disorders. She also should know that it can become manageable and does not have to be the preoccupation it currently is. I applaud her for seeking help and wish her all the very best. — Part of "Wanting's" Cheering Squad
Dear Part: Thank you for offering your insights as a health care provider. I agree with all your advice.
Readers: If you believe you or a loved one is suffering from OCD, please visit the International OCD Foundation's website, at https://iocdf.org, today.
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