DEAR AMY: I work on a crisis line, and this year I’m also in a rigorous academic program. The schedule has been incredibly isolating, and I’ve noticed that I’m having symptoms of anxiety and depression.
A few well-meaning friends have tried to offer me perspective. The thing is, I speak every day with people who have survived a lifetime of trauma, and I know how good I have it. Knowing this doesn’t make me feel better; it just makes me feel guilty.
I’m being proactive about spending time with old friends, and I’m working with my supervisors to make my schedule more manageable.
I’ve considered seeking therapy, but I feel silly seeing a professional about isolation when I could have used that time to meet up with a friend. I also worry that they wouldn’t understand why I’m struggling when I have so much to be grateful for.
Do you have any advice? — Worried
DEAR WORRIED: Telling someone who is struggling and depressed, “But you are so lucky! Look on the bright side!” is tantamount to saying, “Your authentic humanity is really getting in the way. Please, shut it down.”
You must see a therapist. And the reason is simple: Healers need healing. You need to be able to deal effectively with your own isolation and depression in order to optimize your usefulness to others.
No therapist will ever judge you for having problems, but if you want, you can start every session by telling your therapist that you know how lucky you are.
Your experience in therapy will deepen your understanding of the human condition, and will be a great use of your time.
DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I are divorced professionals in our 40s. We don’t live together, and we have kept our finances separate.
Last weekend, we spent the weekend together. Twice, I noticed money missing from my wallet. On Saturday, I noticed $20 missing. On Sunday evening, I withdrew more money. On Monday morning, I saw $100 was gone from my wallet. What do you think is going on with him, and what do you think I should do? — Anonymous
DEAR ANONYMOUS: I don’t know what’s going on with him. But you are simply going to have to confront him about this. Losing $20 can be written off as an error of some kind. But having $120 lifted from you over the course of two days puts this in another category.
After you hear an explanation, you are going to have to decide whether to accept it (you should be very skeptical). If so, you should proceed cautiously. At the very least, you need to hold tight to your wallet.