Life Advice



Is It Depression or Something Else?

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I am a 48-year-old male living at home with my folks and older sister. We are a close-knit family and do things together often. I couldn't be happier to have them in my life.

Lately, I've been feeling a little bit down and stuck in the mud if you can call it that. I have no reason to feel like that. I am my oldest nephew's home caregiver, and I am grateful every day for personally taking care of him. He's disabled but very high-functioning when it comes to doing things on his own.

Could this be some kind of depression of sorts or a midlife crisis change? I am single, never married, no children, so I really don't know what I am personally going through. I guess I'm afraid to ask my doctor about it. Can you give me some advice on what it is? I appreciate your input very much. -- Down in the Dumps in New Mexico

Dear Down in the Dumps: It's normal to feel down in the dumps sometimes, even if you're generally content with your life. Caring for a loved one is rewarding but can also be draining, which might be contributing to how you're feeling.

Feeling down could also be a sign of depression or a response to the repetitive nature of your days if you feel like you're missing out on personal growth. It's not uncommon to reevaluate your life's direction at various points, which can sometimes manifest in what people call a "midlife crisis."

There's no need to be afraid of talking to your doctor; he or she can help you determine whether what you're experiencing is depression, or perhaps something else, and can suggest appropriate treatments or changes.

It also might help to look into new activities that can bring a sense of excitement or challenge to your life. Consider taking a class, volunteering or joining a group that aligns with an interest you've always wanted to explore.


Dear Annie: My friend "Emily" got married a few months ago, and since then, I have barely seen her at all. I've invited her out a couple of times, but she is always busy with her new married life and couple activities. I'm still single and I miss the time when we would talk every day and hang out every weekend. I don't want to intrude on her new life or seem clingy, but I'm pretty offended by the way she has let our friendship fall by the wayside. How can I bridge this gap and maintain our friendship without feeling left behind? -- Single Friend Struggling

Dear Single: Navigating this change in Emily's life and your friendship can certainly be challenging, but it's possible to adapt. Openly express your feelings to Emily. Let her know that you value your friendship and miss the closeness you once shared.

Next, try to engage with her new world. Suggest activities that can include her spouse and their friends sometimes, which might make it easier for her to balance her relationships.

You should also embrace this phase of life by expanding your own social circle and interests. Friendships evolve, and with a little effort and open communication, you can adjust to this new chapter in both of your lives.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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