Dear Abby: I am a 13-year-old girl. For the past few years I have been depressed to the point where I have considered cutting myself. I also struggle with anxiety and avoid social situations in order not to experience it.

Mom only knows about my anxiety, but I have been sugarcoating it when I talk to her because I don’t want her to worry. Abby, we don’t have insurance and are already very poor, so I don’t want to burden my family with my problems, which I know would cost a lot of money to treat. What do you suggest I do?

Needs Help in Missouri

Dear Needs Help: Because you are afraid to worry your mother, discuss what’s going on with a counselor at your school. Please don’t wait to do it. That person may have the ability to see you get the professional help you need. It may not be too much for your mother to afford and may even be free.

Dear Abby: I have been friends with “Irene” for a long time. We invite her and her husband to our home for dinner parties, etc.

Recently, with every invitation, she has been asking to bring along her dog, “Pookie.” She lives nearby and could easily leave it at home. We would prefer the dog not visit for a number of reasons: We have a cat; Pookie is nervous around people and has bitten; and he isn’t well housebroken. He pees on everything.

How do I politely refuse her request?

We enjoy Irene and her husband, but Pookie, not so much.

No Pooch, Please,

in Pennsylvania

Dear No Pooch: Here’s how. When Irene asks again about bringing her dog, simply say, “We’d prefer you didn’t.” And if she has the nerve to ask why, tell her the reasons you gave me — all of which are valid.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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