Dear Dr. Wallace:
Please tell me what to do. I’m 20; I have been married for three years and am the mother of a two-year-old son. I love my husband very much, but I’m lonely and depressed. My husband works 12 to 16 hours a day, six days a week. I have no friends, no job and little to no time with my husband.
Lately, I’ve been having thoughts and fantasies of somehow escaping my predicament. My husband is a hard worker and loves me very much, but at times, I feel like running away and never coming back. I’ve only been out of my teens for a year, yet I feel like a middle-aged housewife with nothing to do but the laundry. Please respond. I’m confused and really need your help.
— Feeling Trapped,
Dear Feeling Trapped: I’m humbled you put faith in me to help you through a very difficult challenging time in your young adult life. The good news is that I believe your life is likely to take a turn for the better soon. Please begin with an open and honest conversation with your husband. This is paramount. Tell him honestly that you’re depressed with your daily routine and feel all alone. Also tell him unequivocally that you love him and your son very much, but you are still feeling very, very blue. Mention that you honestly don’t know what to do about it and are asking him for his help. Most men respond well to requests for help, especially from the woman they love as a life partner. Your husband might come up with some great suggestions and strategies for you, but you’ll never receive them if you don’t ask, so please do this as a first step.
Additionally, from my perspective, it seems you must have contact with other people, especially other adults. If you have other family members you can talk with, do so. It doesn’t matter what the details of the conversation are; just have open and honest conversations with another adult. Do something so you can mingle with people. There may be other young ladies with small children in situations similar to yours; therein may exist new friends who may truly help you. Network and pass around this idea with everyone you know.
You are in a rut, but it wouldn’t take much to get you on the road to stability and happiness. It is possible professional counseling could help to get your life in order, if the first suggested steps I’ve outlined here do not bring you the desired results soon. Hang in there; I trust better days are coming for you. The fact that you contacted me and poured out your heartfelt story to a columnist is a very good sign.
Now keep this momentum going in person with others in your community.