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1 - 5 of 5 Comments Last updated Apr 3, 2013

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#1 Apr 3, 2013
DEAR AMY: My teenage brother,“Jamie,” died last month in a car accident. My whole family misses him deeply, but I’m most concerned about my teenage sister,“Lana.” She and my brother were close in age and were constant companions.

After a few days of nonstop crying, Lana’s tears suddenly dried up, and she smiled and laughed quite normally. I was happy she seemed at peace, but then when other negative things piled up over the course of a few weeks (including the end of a friendship, a job loss and a robbery), she seemed abnormally unconcerned about any of it, still smiling and joking and shrugging it off with,“It doesn’t matter; life goes on.”

Is sudden, extreme apathy a normal response to grief? Should I get my sister help or just write it off as her own way of coping?-- Concerned Sister

DEAR CONCERNED: My sympathies to all of you for this shocking loss. There is no one way to grieve and there is no one way to cope with loss. I’m sure you have noticed this in your own family, where each family member might have spun off in separate orbits of grief, handling this in his or her own way.

You should not write off any concern you have about a family member, and I agree that your sister’s apathy in the face of repeated stresses is distressing. She may be seriously depressed, dissociative or worse. And because she is a teenager (and not yet fully emotionally mature), you should not discount or make assumptions about anything.

Please get her in to see a mental health professional right away. Go with her and speak to the therapist together. It will be useful for all of you to have ongoing professional help.

The American Psychological Association hosts a helpful database of therapists; you can locate a therapist according to specialty and location. Check apa.org . Your family doctor can also make a recommendation.

DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I live in a house with two male roommates. I have noticed that one of the roommates has stockpiled black garbage bags in the basement. I moved them recently because they were surrounding the hot water heater, and I felt it was a hazard. The bags seem to be filled with garbage.

I find everything about this situation strange. My boyfriend doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers because we plan on buying a house this year and leaving the roommate world.

Should I stay mum for the remainder of our living situation or should I tell him that garbage is put out every week and not piled in the basement?-- Unsure

DEAR UNSURE: We seem to have reached a strange threshold, where writing to me has substituted for even the most benign and obvious human inquiry. I mean, you live with this person. You literally breathe the same air. And yet you and your boyfriend would rather live surrounded in garbage than risk asking a question?

I suggest you stand at the bottom of the basement stairs and holler up:“Hey, Clem. What’s with all these garbage bags down here? Is this your stuff or is this garbage? We put the trash out at the curb on Friday nights. I’d be happy to help you drag these bags out, but I really don’t think they should be down here.”

Repeated (and regrettable) viewings of “Hoarders” have taught me more than I want to know about people who develop garbage hoarding problems. If your roommate has this (relatively rare) condition, it’s best to nip it in the bud before your landlord gets involved and assesses all of you for damage caused by this hazard.

DEAR AMY:“Querying Daughter” asked what she should do about her elderly parents’ hygiene issues. I liked your recommendations that she should be more active and helpful in their household. I’d also like to add that hygiene issues are sometimes caused by oncoming dementia or other health problems.

This helpful daughter really should start going to medical appointments with her folks; that way she will be better informed about their medical issues.-- Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: An excellent suggestion. Thank you.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#2 Apr 3, 2013
L1: I don't know, I have the same attitude, in general, as your sister. But have you tried really talking with her? Rather than make passing remarks, try sitting her down and ask her how she's doing, and tell her that it's okay to cry, to scream, whatever, that when life throws a really shatty week/month/year at you, it's okay to shake your fists to the heavens.(Does anyone else remember that weird Aidan Quinn movie?)

L2: Wow. I'm AMAZED! Two human beings functioning, able to write a letter to a fourth-rate advice columnist, and yet you have no functioning spinal column! Call Dr. Oz! Call the Today show! Call Ripley's!

An idiot in my building has saved every college text book AND EVERY PROM DRESS and they are in our basement (not OUR basement, of course), collecting dust and spiders. THe dresses, from what I can see, are unwearable (bugs live in this big open box full of lace and satin from the '80s--this woman is 40+). If I were the LL, I'd tell her to put her garbage in her unit or I'll throw it away.

L3: Generally, an advice columnist who knows what she's doing doesn't need 15 follow-up rehash letters to point out various tidbits she missed.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#4 Apr 3, 2013

“What's it to ya?”

Since: Mar 09

Location hidden

#5 Apr 3, 2013
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
L2: Wow. I'm AMAZED! Two human beings functioning, able to write a letter to a fourth-rate advice columnist,
I disagree. Amy is a fifth-rate advice columnist, at best.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#6 Apr 3, 2013
1 Yup, something snapped in that girl, time to get her wiring checked.

2 Their body parts ya dummy. As long as they aint stinking, leave'm be.

3 bleh!

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