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A P R I L & M A Y '99

Dear msX,
I have been in and out of the hospital since I was very young, because I have CF- or cystic fibrosis. This has made it very hard to have a normal life- or anything close to it.

Between checkups, therapy, drugs, medication, and too many bouts with serious illness, they still say I probably won't live past my early twenties at most. I am fifteen now.

This scares me so bad. I don't want to be sick anymore, but there isn't anything I can do. I know I'm going to die, and that is the most depressing thing because people can't tell me it will "be all right" or "I'll feel better" because I never will.

Sometimes I feel like ending it all now. Why wait a few years to die? They're going to get worse anyway.

Dear Depressed,

Your story leaves me feeling most helpless. I wish there was something I could do to make things better for you. You sound like a very courageous person to have come through so much in such a short life.

I am sure that every day your family gives thanks for having you in their lives yet another day. Each day must feel like a gift to them. No one wants to have to face their own death, but knowing that we'll have to say goodbye sooner rather than later often makes one realize what's important. You've been given a chance to make the most of your time left, by making sure that you're remembered the way you want to be remembered.

I knew a young woman who faced her death when her sons were really little. She decided that she wanted to be remembered as a great mother, a caring friend, a loving wife, sister, and daughter. She also decided that she wanted to be known for giving great parties and having an original sense of style. So, when she wasn't dealing with her illness, she set about making memories with the people she cared about. She made videos, wrote letters, called up old friends, gave many, many gifts of the heart. Whenever she felt okay, she called up people and invited them over, and when she didn't feel okay, she invited them in to hold her hand. She bought some outrageous outfits, crazy hats, She took her kids to Disneyland, but more important, watched movies with them and played cards, and told them grownup jokes. She wrote them letters to open when they got older. She said what was on her mind and in her heart. In short, she took control of the way she would be remembered by giving her loved ones the gift of her company while she was still able. Believe me, it's been more than ten years and no one has forgotten her!

You, dear child, have been dealt a lousy hand. Some people find comfort in religion. Talk to clergy, do some reading, see if there's some philosophy that will offer you comfort. Sometimes a different religion may make sense to someone going through crisis. See what you can find that will offer you comfort.

All I can really say is God bless you, you brave child.

Dear msX,
I have a few questions for you I have been looking in a whole bunch of pamphlets on abortion and nowhere in those pamphlets have they said anything good about abortion. Is there any thing actually good about abortion? I don't understand why everyone says everything bad about abortion, but nothing good. Why is that?

Dear Oh So Many Questions,
There are two sides to every story. You seem to recognize this. Of course, each side thinks they are the absolute authority on what is right. Isn't that just the way we are?

Seems you are reading literature that represents one point of view, the anti-abortion platform or right to life movement. There is really no side that is "pro-abortion." That is to say, I don't think anybody believes that having abortions is a good idea or a day at the beach. But, some people believe that when a woman is faced with a difficult or unwanted pregnancy, that she should be the one who decides what the outcome of the pregnancy will be. These people are pro-choice, they believe in a woman's right to control her own body. They don't necessarily believe that it will be an easy or a casual choice to make, but they believe it should be her choice.

The reason you are not reading anything good about abortion is that it is a medical procedure, not a vacation to Disneyland. You don't read about the wonders of having your gallbladder removed, do you? Abortion is not birth control; rather it is a serious surgery that can have medical and emotional consequences. If you want to find out more about pro-choice so that you can make an intelligent decision on your own, you can probably find some sites on the net.

I hope this answered your questions.

Dear msX,
well this is gonna sound kinda weird but is it possible for like yourself to realize that you are having problems with depression instead of other people? I've noticed lately that like Iíve been not in good moods alot and I realized that I have a lot of symptoms for depression. it's not like it's a one time thing, it is often. is it depression if I notice it instead of anyone else or is it just the blues. like some symptoms Iíve had have been for a while, i.e. suicidal thoughts, feeling of worthlessness like no one cares. But other ones are kinda off and on or recent, like irritability and fatigue/sleeplessness. I don't know if people who are depressed are like able to realize it bc it's not like these symptoms are going away. sometimes the thoughts like scare me and I just want to know if I need help or if its just because i have the regular blues

Dear Depressed,
Whether what you're feeling is clinical depression or just a case of the blues, you should check it out with a medical professional. If you recognize that you're not yourself, you're probably in a better position than ANYONE to know it and it is not unreasonable to seek help before things get worse. Even those with "the regular blues" need to have a person they can unload with, so don't feel as if you have to be "seriously sick" to warrant a visit to the doctor. Ask your doctor or counselor at school for a referral to therapist. Could be something physical that's causing your depression, could be hormones, could be a multitude of things, but you should not suffer silently...see someone, have a physical exam, and if you need to talk to a therapist, do it. You're obviously worried about this, so check it out, because nothing could be worse than worrying about what you don't know.

Take it easy,

Dear msX, goes. This is kind of embarrassing. I recently broke up with my longtime boyfriend, who was my best friend for a long time before we started going out. We both put a lot into this relationship- I gave him my virginity and all my time, and he was always sweet and wonderful to me. But it ended really badly- we had this huge argument over another one of my guy-friends whom he doesnít like, and we broke up. Now I'm dating the same guy he doesnít like and he acts like we cant be friends anymore. He leaves messages on my machine that say what a whore I am because Iím only in any relationship for sex. I feel like trash, because that is kind of a weird way. What should I do?

Dear Feels like Trash,
Whether or not you are "in it for sex" does not matter. This guy has no right to leave abusive messages on your answering machine. If you are old enough to have sex, you are old enough to decide who you're going to have it with. If he wants to be judgmental, he can do that on his own without having to harass or punish you.

You probably can't be friends, at least not now while he is still smarting from the breakup. It is unrealistic to think that the person whose heart you've just broken and whose regular sexual partner you've removed is going to want to be friends with you. The male ego is a fragile piece of equipment. Very few men want to believe a woman would break up with them for any fault of their own. It's always going to be HER fault. Your friend is salvaging his own ego by attacking yours and you really don't have to stay around and listen to him do it!

Tell him that if you can't be friends, not to call you anymore. Tell him if he continues, you're going to consider it harassment and take appropriate action. Do not let a former boyfriend color your picture of yourself.


Dear msX,
Me and my friend were just messing around and took pictures of each other naked, and in some of her older sister's lingerie. I thought they were just for us, but then she gave them to these guys at school and they call me "porn queen" and stuff like that! It was just a joke!
Photo Shy

Dear Photo Shy,
So, what did you learn from this experience? Because that's about the only good thing that's going to come of this situation. Because you can't take what happened back, so you might as well learn from it and move on.

What should you have learned from this? First, you should always assume that if a picture is taken, it is going to be seen and you won't always be in control over who's going to see it. So, I hope you learned to be careful about who you take naked pictures with or to not take them at all. Second, there are friends you can trust and friends you can't. Even the ones you can trust can't always be trusted to keep this kind of a secret. People can get a lot of attention having a juicy secret like this to share and sometimes even a trusted friend will be seduced into telling something you thought would be just between the two of you. Then, not all friendships are forever...after friends fight many secrets get spilled. So don't tell people things you wouldn't want repeated or do things with them you don't want them to talk about to others.

Sorry you had to learn this the hard way.

Dear msX,
This is really odd talking about, but I really need some help! I haven't told anyone. But, here it is.

My mom and dad got divorced when I was about 5. I handled it very well. I would see my dad on visitation. Then my mom go married. I always hated her husband. My mom always chose him over me and my older brother. My dad never remarried. Once my brother moved out, things got bad, real, bad. My mom and her husband would abuse me and laugh at me. I was only in 3rd and 4th grade. In 5th grade, I told my dad what was going on and he fought for custody of me. He lost because my mom and her husband lied about him, and my dad became very poor and got a lot of stress on him. Finally we got to split the custody 50/50. I loved it. Then, my dad got a girlfriend. She would make all these sexual advanced toward my dad right in front of me! Then at night (every night) I would wake up and hear them having sex. Very LOUD sex. Our rooms were right next to each other, so I heard EVERYTHING. I was only 11 & 12. I only told my best friend. My grades dropped, I could concentrate In school, considering I was awake for 3 hours every night trying to cry myself to sleep.

Then they broke up and things were great for a year. Then he got another girlfriend. The first time that I met her, was when I woke up again to my dad and her having very LOUD sex. She called my mom a b*tch, and that she love my dad. That next day, I went to school, and I broke down crying. I couldn't handle it. I told my best friend and my whole click. It got around at school. It happened again. Then that weekend, my dad died of a massive-heart attack. I never got to tell my dad about all the sleepless nights for me. Now I'll never have the chance. My dad has been gone for about 1 1/2 year. I live with my mom and things have gotten better now that I don't talk to her husband anymore. Thats the background. Here's the problem:

I've had boyfriends since then. They've all wanted to 'do stuff' that boyfriends and girlfriends do. We make plans, to do something, I break them. Every time a guy wants to take it more than kissing, I break it off with him. I want to go further than that too. I have wanted to have sex with my last two boyfriends (I love them both, and we were ready) but I can't ever go through with it. I am so scared of sex. I want to do it, I know I am ready for it. But every time we make plans to even make-out, I break the plans. Before my dad incident, I never used to freak out, and cry. I loved doing that stuff. I think I have a sexual problem or something!! Every time I make-out I cry and freak out. PLEASE!! I am 15 and haven't made out since 4th grade, I've had plenty of opportunities, but I go into a nervous-breakdown or something! Please HELP ME!!

Signed , Abused and Confused

Dear Confused and Abused,
Sweetheart, you are only fifteen and you have had some very profound life lessons. These people...your parents, although they have clearly not always acted as such...have inadvertently taught you an important lesson whether you realize it or not. On some level, your parents' self-centered sexual escapades have shown you what you DON'T WANT in a relationship...lots of superficial sex with little intimacy. Grownups who flaunt their sexuality to kids are, at best, very immature, almost adolescent in their actions. You've seen that side of sex. I think you want more for yourself. Something deep in your gut is telling you that any superficial sex is not going to satisfy you. You want a loving relationship with a guy you can trust who is going to know your soul before he knows your body. Something private and intimate and wonderful. Takes time to get to that point and practice. Not practice in making out, but practice in having the kind of friendships that can lead to that, in choosing a partner who will cherish you without any sexual strings attached. The sex part comes later. Trust your intuitions. The crying is your instincts telling you this is NOT a good idea. You've seen how indiscriminate sexual relationships can hurt people, so why rush?

In the meantime, maybe you'd like to talk to someone older and not related to you, like a counselor. I don't think that you're crazy, just that it may make you feel better to have a person to talk to about private stuff who is responsible and mature and will be honest with you. Sort of like a professional grownup who can do some of the parenting your own parents neglected to do. It's my humble opinion that most of us would benefit from a couple of sessions with a trained listener and it is a really nice gift to give yourself.

I wish you well,





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