Dear Harriet: My son has just been sleeping for a month after coming home from school. I know college was hard on him, but I don’t like what he’s doing now.
At first, I put him to sleep to recover his energy. But now it’s been a few weeks and he still hasn’t woken up until after 1pm.
I don’t want to yell at him, but I need to break this pattern.
Dear Sleeping Beauty: What other unusual behavior have you noticed in your son?
What does he talk about when you talk to him? what are his interests? how was he doing at school
Can I get him to talk about his experience? Your son may need to consult a mental health professional. Do research in your community and find a therapist he can visit in person or on TV.
Resist blasting at him. it doesn’t help.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, these are signs of depression. We chose to include the entire list because this is a very serious topic and anything you can do to help your loved ones is worth it.
- anger, irritability or aggression
- Anxiety, restlessness, or ‘on the verge’
- Loss of interest in work, family, or previously enjoyable activities
- sexual desire and performance issues
- Feeling sad, “empty,” flat, or hopeless
- Inability to concentrate or remember details
- Feeling extremely tired, unable to sleep, sleeping too much
- Eating too much or not wanting to eat at all
- thoughts of suicide or attempted suicide
- Body aches, headaches, cramps, digestive problems
- Inability to meet job, family care, or other important activity responsibilities
- Engaging in high-risk activities
- need for alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawal or isolated from family and friends
Dear Harriet: One of my close friends recently lost his father. They were very good friends, so she looks very sad now. She doesn’t know how to comfort her.
My father died over 20 years ago. It’s amazing to me that she had a father for this long.He was in his late 80’s when he died.
Part of me thinks she should appreciate his life and move on, but I think that’s not very considerate.
friend in mourning
Dear friends with condolences: be a good audience. If your friend wants to talk about your dad, be there and have fun. You can even share memories of your father if you feel it would be a good fit for conversation.
Don’t tell her that you should thank her for hanging out with you this long. I think I will scold you. I can tell you that you are happy with her that she has had him for so long. Notice the subtle differences that lead to her uplifting thoughts.
Harriette Cole is a life stylist and founder of DREAMEAPERS, an initiative that helps people access and activate their dreams. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.