DEAR ABBY: I am sick of being afraid of everything in my life. I'm a 21-year-old college student who wakes up every morning wondering what will go wrong today or what I am going to screw up this time. I don't know how to get beyond the little misfortunes that occur on a daily basis, and I take every form of criticism to heart, even if it's a joke.
I get nervous before and during every activity I take part in. I also get nervous talking to close friends and relatives and have a hard time articulating what I mean to say because I'm afraid everyone is judging me.
Please tell me how to relax for once; I honestly do not know how. My stress level is over the top, and it exhausts me beyond belief. I know I have a problem, and counseling is not an option.
— MESSED UP IN OHIO
DEAR MESSED UP: Excuse me? Counseling is not only an "option," in your case it is important you seek it out. You are fortunate to be in college, because your next stop should be the student health center. Anxiety can feed on itself, and sometimes it takes medical and psychological intervention to quiet the adrenaline rush that's causing it. Once that's done, you can then address the cause of your depression and low self-esteem and start feeling better about yourself. Please don't wait.
DEAR ABBY: I am 20 years old and during this past year I have been exposed to more drugs than I ever thought possible. I have tried many of them — from prescription drugs, marijuana and cocaine to ecstasy.
I know my decisions were reckless. Abby, I'm writing this in the hope of reaching out to anyone who will listen. I was blessed that I didn't become addicted, and even luckier that I'm still alive.
There are those who are not as fortunate as I am. I have heard more stories about drug abuse, overdoses and drug-related deaths in my town than I can handle. I want to change this. I want to make a difference. But I need help. How can I get involved and make people in my community more aware that our town has a problem?
— REACHING OUT IN LAKE HAVASU CITY, ARIZ.
DEAR REACHING OUT: By writing this letter, you have already taken the first step in raising awareness. Now it's up to your local police and your board of education to take some action. Everyone knows that passing laws is not enough unless they are enforced. And one of the most effective weapons in eliminating drug abuse is education.
DEAR ABBY: Can you please tell me where is the proper placement of a name tag?
I own a small business and attend many networking events. Some people have told me the tag should be worn on the right side so you can see it when you shake hands. Others say it should be on the left, because people read from left to right. What is the proper etiquette?
— JEFF IN STUART, FLA.
DEAR JEFF: According to Emily Post, the tags are usually worn on the right side because that's where most people look when they first greet each other with a handshake. (Using this logic, some women should paste the tag just above the middle of their chests.)
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.