DEAR AMY: I'm a 26-year-old woman with a degree in liberal arts and a job doing data entry for a retail corporation. I moved to a new city a year ago after having lived my whole life in a small college town. I'm having a really rough time here.
I overspent myself into some serious credit debt; I find my job mind-numbing and completely unfulfilling; I miss my parents but have been avoiding calling home for a while because I've come to feel like a failure and disappointment to them; and I haven't been enjoying spending time with the few friends I have here.
I'm just so full of regret, and wish I could start my life over and not make all the mistakes I've made.
I know there are all kinds of changes I need to make, but I don't know how to make them, and I'm pretty sure I'm not particularly smart or talented at anything, so the idea of making changes seems pretty futile and hopeless.
I feel so useless to the world and wonder if it would be better off without me.
Without much money or resources, what can I do?
— Feeling Quite Lost
DEAR LOST: Please realize that part of what you're going through is common for someone your age and at your stage in life, but the other part is not at all normal — and a clear sign that you're depressed.
There's an almost universal feeling many people in their 20s have — when college is over and the real world of data entry and credit card debt hits you like a wall. You can power through this by joining a volunteer organization, exercising or getting involved in your local music scene — all the while whittling away at your debt and applying for more fulfilling jobs.
Then there's the part where your embarrassment is keeping you from reaching out to the very people who love and understand you the most. That's the depression talking, and you need help right away.
Please call your folks. Let it all tumble out. Tell them you're depressed and let them strategize with you about how to get help.
You can contact your company's human resources department. Also, check your health benefits; some plans cover therapy.
If you are in a state of crisis and having suicidal thoughts, call 800-784-2433. Your call will be routed to a local crisis center near you.
DEAR AMY: You responded recently to the mother of a woman who wanted to plan her wedding after the child she was carrying was born.
The mother was concerned that an invitation would be perceived as a "gift grab," and you suggested the couple put "no gifts" on their wedding invitations.
Any mention of gifts on an invitation is improper, whether it is for or against getting gifts. It assumes that your invitation to share a special moment in your life is a request for loot.
Most people can decide whether they would be able to attend such a wedding happily and with good wishes, regardless of whether they choose to acknowledge the event with a gift.
— Faithful Reader
DEAR READER: You are correct that any mention of gifts on an invitation is improper. Some couples suggest "no gifts, please" on their reception response card, or in response to inquiries by prospective guests.
Thanks for the correction.
DEAR AMY: I have been reading your column often lately, and I would like to speak up on the topic of anonymously telling a close friend awkward news.
Many people go too far. I see it most often in the office, where people now use anonymity to air their every annoyance and where their motivations are unclear.
If the complainer's identity would have to be disclosed, only the serious complaints would be entertained.
DEAR ANONYMOUS: Actually, I feel that the office is one place where anonymity could be valuable. This gives people an opportunity to air issues without their job being compromised. It's up to the supervisor to weed out the petty from the consequential.
When it comes to friends, however, I still believe that transparency is best.
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