Dear Mrs. Crabby,

I’m in my second year of middle school and the pressure is killing me. Between 3 hours a night of homework, having to keep up with two sports and the piano lessons, I only get about 7 hours, sometimes 6 hours a night. Even on my weekends. My mom and dad never have time to listen to me because they both work long hours and the housekeeper/driver doesn’t speak English enough to listen. Plus she really doesn’t care, and spends her free time texting her boyfriend.

My best coping mechanism so far is smoking weed and cutting. I cut my upper inner thigh and my feet because no one looks there. But I’m running out of places and last week the bleeding got too much and my mom complained about the laundry. She thought I had my period and didn’t use the tampon. And the weed is getting too expensive. My parents stopped carrying cash because my brother and I kept stealing it out of their wallets.

I’m thinking of switching to bulimia because my best girlfriend Janelle says it helps her, plus it keeps her weight down. But she passed out yesterday in P.E. and I’m not sure it’s such a good idea. Plus her front teeth have had to be capped twice already.

What do you recommend for the stress?

Stressed Out Susan,


Dear SOS,

Oh hon, the world today is brutal on kids. It just is. You work so hard to do well in school, while school just loads mounds of mindless crap on your shoulders. And when you do get out of college, finally, there are no jobs that provide you a living wage, since it usually turns out you studied the wrong things because the schools don’t provide the right ones.

My answer to you is a bit off the chart. I would say to you, get off the weed and try to stop the cutting. Go on Amazon or to a DVD store and get some DVDs on Transcendental Meditation. Do the classes for at least a half hour a day. If you could afford weed (without stealing), you can switch those funds to a once a month massage. These will give you some tools for dealing with the idiotic level of stress.

Next is the work. Do your best with your work in two hours of homework a night. Tops. What doesn’t get done in that time, let it go. Don’t worry about it. You sound very smart and I will wager you will figure out the most important things to finish for the grades. And if your grades slip, hon, SO WHAT??? You’ll be fine. It’s not like there are going to be great jobs waiting for you out of college. Unless you study computer science or auto mechanics.

What will happen is that you are going to get more sleep. And it will be more restful sleep because of the meditation and massage. You will be more alert during the day and find pockets of time to get a head start on the homework. And make a point EVERY DAY to do something you enjoy. EVERY DAY, hon. For at least an hour. Preferably something legal.

When your parents finally do have some time, try to sit them down and explain your life to them. Tell them you need to do this and they need to pay attention so that you don’t have to resort to the mundane cries for help, like being arrested,getting pregnant or jumping off a tall building. Hopefully the chat will catch their attention.

Be proactive and creative and think outside the box for your best result, hon. It’s not going to be the way most adults and teachers tell you it should be. Soften your edges with kindness and look to other healthy avenues for relief. Take a yoga class on Saturday. Ride a bicycle.

And write me again if you need to,

I.B. Crabby



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