Dear Carol

"Dear Carol, I just broke up with my boyfriend and I feel completely alone"

Dear Carol,

My boyfriend and I broke up a month ago. I am just 14, but I really did love him. This past month has been the hardest experience of my life. My oldest sister left to go to college. My other sister is taking a lot of advanced classes and is always busy. My best friend goes to a different school, and all of my other friends don't seem to care. Plus, my grandma who has Alzheimer's doesn't remember I exist anymore. My ex won't even tell me why he broke up with me. I'm completely alone, and for as long as I can remember, isolation has been my biggest fear. I feel like no one is listening and no one cares. In the last month, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I've cried myself to sleep a bunch of times and I have nightmares about being trapped. I feel like if this keeps going on, I might completely lose all sanity.

- Fear of Isolation

Dear Fear of Isolation,

Wow, that's a lot. Let me start by saying I'm sorry your grandmother has Alzheimer's—that's sad, and while she may have moments of lucidity or sweetness, it's a loss that you can't go back to how things were (though you can take comfort in happy memories). As for the breakup, I want you to give yourself credit for powering through a hard experience. Very few first loves last forever, but it hurts terribly when you give your heart to someone and they hand it back. Still, try to keep your perspective. He was your first BF, not your last. And he may not know why he broke it off—he may have just felt too young to be in a relationship. You will have new friends and new boyfriends (really!), and your two sisters, though busy, will find time for you. Can you arrange to visit your sister at college? Can you join a club or sport or part-time job or extracurricular or theater or volunteer project that will help you find your community? More advice: Compliment one classmate each day this week. Work hard in your favorite class. Get exercise and fresh air and enough sleep. Counselors are overbooked because so many kids are feeling anxious, but keep talking with yours so you can work at feeling more positive. The right medication can make a real difference, too. Hang in there. Things will get easier. And PS: you are not alone in feeling alone.

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by GL | 10/18/2022