Life Advice



Ask Amy: Chronic depression is constant topic

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

My own theory is that when people constantly offer suggestions and unsolicited advice – they are actually expressing their own very deep anxieties.

Depression is an isolating illness, and your sister’s eagerness to connect and talk about it seems to result in you feeling even more isolated from her.

I hope you will express exactly how you feel: “I know you are worried about me, but when you only want to discuss my depression, I feel like all you see in me is brokenness. I am so much more than my illness. If I promise you that I will gratefully let you help me if things are bad, can you trust me that I’m managing pretty well? I long for a sense of normalcy and would really like to talk about other things. I really miss that!”

Your sister might be sitting on her own valid fears about what might happen to you if you are in a severely depressed phase, but she needs to understand that her fears are hers – not yours – to manage.

I highly recommend writer and psychologist Andrew Solomon’s TED talks, and especially his masterful and comprehensive book on depression, “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression” (2011, Scribner).

Solomon’s own depression led him to study the illness, and his insight is both unique and helpful. He writes: “Depression is the secret that every family has.”


Dear Amy: My husband and I have been planning a trip overseas with two other couples. We have been hoping to travel together as a group.

We had started to plan this trip before the pandemic but had to put it aside. So now we are back to planning it for 2022.

I realize that trips overseas may have to be canceled if travel restrictions have not been lifted.

However, the husband of one of the couples doesn’t know if he wants to be vaccinated.


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