Dear Annie: My husband does not like my sister. He says she reminds him too much of his ex-wife. It has now come to the point where he doesn’t want to be around her. This is making it very difficult to see my whole family. They live in Canada, and we are planning a trip there to visit them, seeing as my father’s mental health is getting bad.
My husband refuses to go see my sister while we are there. When I told my sister that this is a special trip to spend time with my parents and we won’t have time to go to her place, which is another three-hour drive away, she got pretty upset, especially since she and her husband have been down to the States to visit us twice in the last year.
I love my sister. She is my best friend, other than my husband. We talk on the phone almost every day. I don’t want to hurt her. Where do I go from here? – Sisterly Love.
Dear Sisterly Love: Your husband needs to grow up. Any resemblance your sister bears to his ex-wife is no reason to avoid seeing her, especially since he knows how much she means to you.
I would ask your husband why the similarity between the two women bothers him so much. Was his previous marriage toxic or abusive? Does seeing your sister trigger feelings that he has worked hard to overcome? These are issues that he needs to work through, preferably with the help of a therapist.
In the meantime, you should absolutely visit your sister while you are in Canada. He can stay with your parents or fly back to the States on his own.
Dear Annie: I wanted to take a moment to tell my story about my struggle with mental illness, specifically depression and anxiety. I’m a 48-year-old man who has suffered and struggled with mental illness since I was 13. I’ve always felt this was taboo and that men just weren’t supposed to talk about it or express their hardships. I sought help over the years, but it was tough. I would feel like less of a man for doing so, like men are supposed to be strong and tough, and never cry, but boy, was I wrong.
I finally opened up to my primary care doctor a few years ago and spilled my guts to her about my suffering and struggles, and I’m glad I did. She came up with a treatment plan. I took a DNA test that told her which psychiatric meds would be compatible with my body and which ones wouldn’t. Lo and behold, after the second try with meds, I finally found the right combination that’s been successful for me.
My depression is at the point where it’s very manageable, as is my anxiety. I finally feel like myself and that there’s hope for me, and for the first time in decades, it feels great to be alive. Annie, I want to let men know, and women, too, that there is help out there for them and to never ever give up. I never thought I would ever feel sane again, and I do now, thanks to being vulnerable and opening up to my doctor. It was so worth it, and I will never regret opening up. Thank you for hearing my story, and again, to anyone suffering, never give up. There is always hope. – Success Story
Dear Success Story: What a beautiful story! And how right you are – there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem. One of the hardest things we can do is reach out and ask for help when we are struggling. You should be so proud that you did!
Whether it be trying medication, attending a support group or getting into “talking cure” therapy, there are many ways to cope with depression and anxiety. Kudos to you for having the courage to speak up, be vulnerable and put your trust in someone else to help you get where you are today.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.
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