DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm a manic depressive. No one would know it because of my cheery exterior, but I wish I were dead. I cry all the time, so hard sometimes I start shaking. I have panic attacks at night and can barely calm myself down. My job and my life are dead ends. I'm stupid and a loser. I know my family loves me, but sometimes I can barely get out of bed. I think maybe I can change, but the despair kicks in and all I want is out. The sadness is overwhelming. I'm old and tired and just too damn worn down to start new. What should I do? My demons are winning. -- Very Upset, Winnipeg
Dear Upset: It's not about pulling yourself up by the boot straps, and somehow changing. You need medication to address the chemical imbalance in your brain. It sounds like you're totally without help to stop the roller coaster ride and the accompanying panic. Or, perhaps you're taking too little, or the wrong kind of medication. Please see your doctor and reveal what you just wrote to me, even if you have to hand him/her this column because you can't express how you feel verbally. Some people think they shouldn't put any chemicals into their body, and they should just "smarten up." Is that your view? Look, this set of mental and emotional problems you have is NOT about being a "loser." When you're back in balance you have a chance of dealing with other problems and working on any behaviours you don't like. But, when you're at the whim of your body chemicals run amok, you can't hope to do much other than survive. You should also call the Mood Disorders Association (786-0987) and ask about resources and support groups, as it's good not to be alone with this disorder, with no one who understands what you're going through.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts; I met this gorgeous "executive assistant" when making a sales call and had gone back on two different excuses to see her boss, just so I could see her. I spent a lot of time hanging out at the EA's desk. This morning, when I went back for the third time, she looked at me and held up her hand with the wedding ring on it. What do you think that meant? Not every wife cares if a man flirts with her. Some of them love it. -- Jeesh! West Kildonan
Dear Jeesh: Your inability to process disinterest probably makes you a good salesman, but it's a pain in the you-know-what to the executive assistant. This woman is saying, in effect: "Take a look. I am married, proudly wearing his wedding rings, and I want you to back off." So don't go back there a fourth time to bother her. She's totally onto your ruses and will be passing on her annoyance to the boss -- the person you want to buy your product. People are only as successful in this world as they are able to "get" situations. She has given you a clear message: Time to get lost, bub.
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