DEAR READERS: The year 2012 was a tough year for many people personally, and for the world as a whole. What we know for certain is that we can't turn our backs on problems -- they only grow worse and then something can go terribly wrong. This is the year to work out the problems in our families, make peace with our exes, get help with our own thorny problems and help people in our circle who have mental and emotional problems. This cannot be another year of looking the other way. Please use my column as a place to express your pain and confusion, to ask questions, to request resources for yourself and those you see in trouble around you. I write everyone back when you send letters, regardless of whether your letter goes to print. Your letter is never a waste of your time or mine. I can also introduce you to many specialized resources, counselling, self-help books, support groups -- and as much of it free as I can find.
You should know your letter does not have to be about a romantic problem. It can be a problem in any aspect of your personal life, which extends to children, relatives, friends, neighbours, co-workers, even an interaction with a stranger that went wrong. Age makes no difference. I get letters from people ages 12 to 92. Let me help. Sometimes you just need a second opinion and a new perspective. I also have a great deal of education in this area and years of experience as a teacher and face-to-face counsellor for couples and individuals. Let's try to make 2013 a year of reconciliation, forgiveness, understanding and hope. Wishing you a happy start to 2013!
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Last year my wife dumped me on Jan. 3 and I was in complete shock. I had no idea she was so unhappy and wanted to leave. I thought I was going to die. I went through all the stages of grief. Luckily a friend of mine literally drove me to a psychologist for help when I hit serious depression. I would not have gone on my own. It saved my life. I just want to tell you that this year will be a whole new story. I have made peace with my ex-wife, and see my children regularly and as much extra as I want. I have recently fallen in love with a wonderful woman who is five years older than me and a beautiful person inside and out. We talk about everything and I always know where I stand with her. Please tell the other people out there who find out they are someone's New Year's resolution -- as in, "time to get rid of him (or her)" -- that you can survive and thrive. With a lot of help, it took me less than a year to get back on my feet. Without help, I might have done something rash to myself or fallen into such a deep depression that I might have lost my mind, my job and access to my kids. A big thank you to everyone who helped me through. I couldn't have done it without all of you. -- Recovering Workaholic, Tuxedo
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave. Wpg R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org