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Ask Amy: Anxiety cripples teen's school experience

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • November 2, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Dear Amy: I’m a freshman in high school. So far, my experience hasn’t been that great. I’ve been so stressed out and had to go to the doctor several times for bad headaches. I’ve had breakdowns. I’ve looked into home schooling/online schooling. I’m afraid of asking or even bringing up home schooling to my parents because I feel they might laugh and say it’s a very stupid idea since I’m just a freshman or that they want me to have the “high school experience” they did. What do I do?

Amy says: Before dropping out of school entirely, you will need to notify all of the adults in your life about what is going on with you, so that they can work together (and with you) to arrive at strategies for you to cope. If you are too afraid to go to your parents, you should start with another trusted adult (your school counselor, friend and/or relative). There might be ways for you to adjust your school schedule so it’s a little easier on you. After-school groups or activities might give you a needed outlet.

You should also have a thorough checkup by your physician to see if some physical problems might be at the root of some of your symptoms. A compassionate counselor could help you sort this out and give you tools for dealing with stress and anxiety in the future.

Family heirloom a fake

Dear Amy: When I got engaged last year, my now-husband and I went to visit his parents. His mother gave me a lovely 2-carat diamond ring from her safe deposit box. I was thrilled because it meant acceptance into the family. I wore it every day.

Six months ago I took it to get cleaned by a jeweler, who informed me that the ring I loved so much was a fake.

His parents are coming to visit next month. What shall I say when she doesn’t see me wearing her ring? I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I can’t feel as proud of this ring as I once did and have stopped wearing it. My husband says that we will handle it when she visits and that surely she is unaware of the problem. I’m disappointed with the situation (and in him, too), but he says a happy marriage is what’s important, not a piece of jewelry.

Amy says: My first recommendation is for you to get a second opinion from another jeweler — and bring your husband with you. His mother should be told — it could have ramifications for her (she might need to get other pieces of jewelry appraised). She may be embarrassed, but be honest, calm and understanding.

Real or fake, the ring still symbolizes (or should symbolize) the exact same thing it did when it was presented to you.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com.

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