Dear Annie: Since I was very young, I have had an obsession with my health. As time goes on, it’s getting worse. I am in constant fear of having some kind of terminal illness and often can barely cope.
I am only in my late 20s and am afraid I’m worrying my life away. I don’t enjoy anything anymore and spend most of my time crying or fretting. This anxiety becomes so intense at times that I feel I’d be better off dead. My husband and family are tired of hearing about my fears and ignore me when I try to share my feelings with them. Doctors tell me I’m perfectly healthy, but I still can’t let go of the fear. I tried taking an anti-anxiety medication but ended up gaining 30 pounds and I don’t think the medication helped.
I don’t know what to do. All I know is that I cannot continue to live like this. Please help. — Anxious
Dear Anxious: You have an obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can probably be helped with both counseling and medication, but you must be willing to allow the medication to take effect or, if it doesn’t seem to be helping, to try a different one. It may take a little trial-and-error to find the one that works best for you. Under the circumstances, it’s worth the effort. Go back to the doctor who recommended your initial medication and ask for something else. Also contact the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation (ocfoundation.org), P.O. Box 961029, Boston, MA 02196.
Dear Annie: Our son is getting married at the end of May. It will be an evening wedding and the invitations suggest cocktail attire.
My husband thinks a light tan summer suit is fine, but I say it does not fit cocktail attire. I’m trying to convince him to wear a black suit. Please help. — Questioning Cocktail Attire in Virginia
Dear Virginia: Your husband is wrong. As the father of the groom, his style should match that of the groomsmen. Unless they all are wearing light tan summer suits, his choice is inappropriate, and for an evening event, he really ought to be more formally attired. Even if he is not participating in the ceremony and all the male guests show up in khaki, Dad should be wearing, at minimum, a dark suit.
Dear Annie: There is more that could have been said to “Disappointed and Furious,” who has had trouble paying for dental care. There are options for lower-cost dental care, including dental schools, dental hygiene schools and public health clinics. For more information about these options, you can see the Web site run by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
In addition, many local professional dental associations will have information on the same subject. Here in Ohio, Dental OPTIONS, run by the Ohio Dental Association, has information about a state program to help low-income people. I hope Disappointed gets the necessary financial help. — Toledo, Ohio
Dear Toledo: Thank you for this excellent information. To find out if there is a dental school in your area, check your phone book for your state dental society or association. For a complete list of dental schools, visit the NIDCR website at nidcr.nih.gov and click on “Finding Dental Care,” or contact the National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse at 1 NOHIC Way, Bethesda, MD 20892-3500.
The Bureau of Primary Health Care, a service of the Health Resources and Services Administration, supports federally funded community health centers across the country. Readers can contact the HRSA Information Center (ask.hrsa.gov/pc) at 1-888-ASK-HRSA (1-888-275-4772). To find out whether Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP cover any of your (or your children’s) dental care, contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (cms.hhs.gov) at 1-877-267-2323. To see if there are financial assistance programs available, contact your local or state health department or United Way, listed in your phone book.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail questions to email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.23.08