DEAR ABBY: I am in my early teens and have mood swings. I assume everybody has them, but I have had mine nearly every day for the past five months. One minute I will be laughing about something, the next minute I get “down in the dumps.” I can feel happy and sad at the same time.

I haven’t told anybody about how I feel – not even my parents. I need to know if this is a real problem, or if this is a part of “growing up.” Please help. – CONFUSED ALABAMA TEEN

You are at an age when there are massive changes occurring in your body chemistry. What you have described can sometimes be caused by hormonal shifts.

However, it is important that you communicate your feelings to your parents and discuss your mood swings with them. From my perspective, they are definitely a part of growing up. But if they continue to trouble you, an appointment with your family doctor should be scheduled.

DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Mack,” and I have seven children. I was a stay-at-home mom while they were growing up. Mack worked in the oil fields. An accident in the fields put him in a wheelchair and now I work while he stays home.

Mack was told he would never again feel anything from the waist down, but he has been fortunate to have regained the use of everything except his left leg.

My problem is, while I am at work, Mack gets drunk and trashes the house. I have tried talking to him about it, but he gets defensive. He says I don’t tell him what needs to be done so he doesn’t do it. I feel he should look around and do what he knows needs to be done. How do I get him to cooperate? – STUCK IN TEXAS

Before your husband can do an effective job around the house, he will have to sober up. Please encourage him to get help for his drinking. The cause might be depression, frustration or anger that he is no longer the primary wage earner and is stuck at home doing what he perceives to be “woman’s work.” Counseling can help. And an AA meeting is as near as the phone book.

Once Mack has dried out enough to be lucid during your working hours, I recommend you give him a list of the things that need to be done around the house. It’s a lot more helpful than giving him an argument later.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating “Wylie” for 3 1/2 years. Eight weeks ago, he gave me an engagement ring. I immediately shared the news with my friends. He, on the other hand, has told no one about our engagement.

One of the people I told went to Wylie and said, “I heard you’re getting married.” (He was going to congratulate him.) Wylie responded, “No. Maybe later.”

When I heard about it, I asked my man, “Aren’t we engaged?” He said yes.

Could he just be leading me on? – FEELS LIKE A FOOL IN TENNESSEE

Watch out for wily Wylie. If he denies to others that your engagement is for real, it isn’t. Only a cad would behave that way.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $10 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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