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I work as a Customer Laison Complaints Case Officer at a major insurance company, where I have worked for 3 years. I left school when I was 17, as I had some very bad experiences at school and wanted to see what the real world had to offer.

I now live with my boyfriend of 3 years and spend my spare time reading, writing, socialising with friends or just watching some TV.

Times are still hard and I'm trying to cope with various health problems on a daily basis but I'm working my way through things and really want to stop it from getting me down.

I dream of some day going to America and watching a real baseball game (we don't have that at all in the UK) and perhaps finding a job I find creatively fulfilling. Until then, I'm happy trying to be me and making the best of what I have.
Website: My Space
Gender: Female
Location: Dorset, UK
Occupation: Customer Liaison Case Officer
Age: 21
Member Since: January 28, 2006
Answers: 1016
Last Update: March 5, 2009
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well i know i have a sleeping dissorder but i dont know how to help myself, if you know what i mean. im 14 and cannot sleep when i need to. im a total night owl and do not sleep at night only during the day. this has affected my life big time, im failing in school, i have so many absences, i am a bitch to everyone around me. its also effecting me physically, i have these weird lines under my eyes that are so ugly. as of now it is 2 am and i have school in 4 hours. i usually go to bed at 5 or 6? and sleep throughout classes and sleep right when i get home. ive tried waiting till the right time to go to bed but its physicaly imposible. i dont know what to do and its ruining my life, help! (link)
I know you say you're a night owl but if your current sleeping pattern is having that much of a detrimental effect on your life then it's not the right pattern for you.

The human body falls into patterns VERY easily, especially when it comes to something like sleep. A lot of people find that if they get woken at, say, 3am 2-3 mornings in a row, they will continue to wake at that time for days and days afterwards! So basically, you need to re-train your body.

First, make your room ONLY a place to sleep. Remove games, computer, musical instruments and anything else that represnts a stimulating activity. Next, start making sure you spend time lying on your bed doing nothing. You don't have to do it a lot, but just try lying still on your bed for half an hour in the afternoon when you get home from school. Your body will lose its association with your bedroom being a place of activity and will start to see it as a place for quiet and rest.

Next, establish a good sleeping pattern. Tests show that going to bed and getting up at the same time every day significantly improves the quality of your sleep. So maybe aim to go to bed at 10pm EVERY night without fail, regardless of whether or not you feel sleepy. Set your alarm to wake you at 6am every morning and force yourself not to push that 'snooze' button!

Establish a bedtime routine of relaxing activities. A lot of people favour something along the lines of a warm bath, followed by maybe half an hour of reading before going to bed, but really it's whatever you find relaxing.

Finally, if you find you can't sleep, don't toss and turn in bed, as this will build your anxiety levels, which is not what you need. Keep a diary by the side of your bed, as sometimes sleep problems are caused by anxious thoughts and writing them down can help you relax enough to sleep. Maybe read a bit to try to make you feel sleepy. Whatever you do, don't use the PC or, if you can help it, watch the TV.

Sleeping Pills are a possibility, but I tend to recommend against them. A lot of them can carry side-effects and it's very easy to become dependent to the point that you can't sleep properly unless you take them.

Hope that helps a bit!

i just started dating my boyfriend about a month ago how soon is it to have sex with him i dont want to have sex with him to soon. (link)
This is really dependant on a few things. Are you of a legal age? Are you sure you're ready?

As long as the answers to the above are 'yes' then it's a judgement call. With my boyfriend, I waited four months, because he was my first and I was always certain I wanted my first time to be for love and nothing else. But everyone is different and as long as you are secure in your relationship enough to know that sex won't risk ruining what you have, then why not?

My brother is 18 years old and works at the same place as i do. (I'm 16). Long story, very short, he and his friends easily steal money. My bosses have no clue, have no cameras, and are not very on the ball. I'm talking grand theft. He's stolen approximately 5,000 dollars I'd say. It's extremely horrible. I've SEEN him steal some money, and I've heard from a couple of his friends that he confides in tell me that he does this. My brother is basically a straight A, seemingly nice kid, and my parents are too stupid to piece together that he's a thief. He bought half of a 15, 000 dollar car, and my parents thought nothing of it. They were pleased with his "savings and hard work ethic". I work the same damn job as he does and I've saved up maybe 1500 dollars, if that. My grandma asked me how he got such a nice car, and I was THIS close from telling her about everything. I don't know what to do. (link)
Unfortunately, I need to give you some advice that you will not want to hear but you need to hear me out.

I strongly recommend that you tell your boss and/or call the police. I know how horrible it sounds but believe me, it is the right thing to do. What your brother is doing is illegal and the only way he is going to truly learn what he is doing is not without consequence is to turn him in.

You can do this anonymously (leave your boss a note or don't give the police your name) if you don't want your brother to know it was you that did it (although you might want to tell your brother you knew he was doing it when it comes out).

The main thing you have to remember here is that it will teach him an invaluable lesson and there is a very good chance that being caught once will shock him out of ever doing it again. Turning him is not in this case an act of betrayal. Getting caught for this now means putting a stop to it before it gets even worse.

I really hope that this helps. Obviously, the ultimate choice is up to you but if you want to talk about it any more, please feel free to send me a message.

I'm male, single(never had a girlfriend before!), and 22! I speak English though I'm not from the US. We are a Catholic nation.

I have this officemate/friend of mine whom i am attracted to. She's pretty, witty, friendly, and kind. But it bothers me if i really like her for who she is because i find her noisy and sometimes i think i can't relate to her(she's full of positivity and jolliness while i am more of a serious- and silent-type of person).

However, i can't stop thinking of her. And it bothers me that when i think of her, its always about sex. It makes me wonder if i really like her or i just think of her as a sex object.

And yet, we are catholics; and she is a very devoted one. Thus, if i only like her for sex, then i won't be able to have sex with her coz the Catholic point of view of sex is that it is done after marriage; and she sticks to our religious principles.

I have actually courted her before, but stopped because of some issues like me being jealous (this is another topic/issue of which i believe i am overcoming now).

Do you think things will work out for us if i court her again? I am so attracted to her (though i don't know if my reason for attraction is right). Should i stop this? Thanks!

I think a very big problem here is that you have not yet worked out how you feel about this girl. You say you really like her for various reasons but you can see a fault with her in that she's noisy. To be fair, even in the most loving relationships, you are not blind to each other's faults. What you need to suss here is whether you can stand to be with her in spite of what you perceive to be her faults.

If ultimately you decide you could not cope with her personality, it sounds very likely that this is nothing more than lust. Lust is more than just wanting sex with a particular person based on appearance. In order to feel a sexual attraction, it has to be deeper than looks. After all, you wouldn't fancy a serial killer purely because they looked like a model.

After you have worked out whether you can accept her faults, if you decide that you can, there is no reason you can't see if you would like to give a relationship with her another try. You need to make sure you are ready for a relationship and can handle your jealousy issues. As long as you are sure you can, I wish you the best of luck with her. You may not find love, but at least you will have given it a try and will no longer be left wondering "what if?"

okay for a while now my moms mental health had been droppin drastically...dillusions and constant mood swings and tons of other sypmtoms that go with bi-polar disorder. today she went in and explained to the doctor what was happening to her...after we all told her we thought she was bi polar she wanted to go see for herself. Well as we all thought she is bi polar and she has been put on medication...but we as a family really don't know how to deal with this. She will be on medication to help her but things seem different now that we truly now what is wrong. What can we as a family do to help support her in the drastic change in our lives? (link)
Big changes like this are bound to throw even the most well-functioning family into disarray.

The most important thing is to find out as much information as you can on bi-polar (also known as manic depression) and use that information to help your Mum.

It might be worthwhile seeing if there is some family counselling available to help you all through this. If you have a word with your doctor, they should be able to make some recommendations.

Finally, remember that changes like this will have an impact on the way you all live your day-to-day lives. As long as you are well armed with as much information as you can (forewarned is forearmed and all that), any obstacles you face will be easily overcome.

im 18 and my boyfriend lives in a different state. he always come to visit me. my last class is on wednesday (im in college)

i want to visit him this weekend and im taking the bus bc my car cant make it up there (its old)

i need a very good reason to leave my house for 4 days to tell my parents any ideas? they dont allow me or my sister (22) to have bfs. they are just strict so any GOOD ideas. (link)
First off, I have to say, that's extremely strict!!

However, I really think lying would be a very bad idea. Think about it for a moment. Your parents are already very strict. Do you really believe that if you lie, you will get away with it? And if you do get caught, just imagine the consequences of your actions, knowing how strict your parents are already. It just isn't worth the risk.

You need to have a conversation with your parents. Really talk to them (unemotionally) about the situation. You need to be very calm and mature about it. Explain that you have a boyfriend that you care a lot about and you believe that you are old enough for them to invest some trust in you to officially date him because you don't feel comfortable seeing him behind their backs.

The chances are, their initial reaction will not be favourable. The groundwork for overcoming this is entirely up to you. Prove to them that you are responsible. Use good grades as an example of handling your responsibilities as a mature adult and offer to introduce them to the man in question.

Hopefully, once they meet him and you have proven yourself responsible and trustworthy, they will allow you the freedom to see him. Including staying with him.

is tonsilitis contageous (link)
Yes, it's highly contagious and is passed by saliva. If you sneeze, cough, or talk while too close to someone else, that will be enough to pass it on. You need to get some antibiotics to help get rid of it quickly and make sure you keep people at a safe distance until you are better, to ensure you don't pass it on to them.

In the meantime, eat your weight in ice cream. It's the only thing I ever found that really helped.

I like a lot of old (not that old) music and a lot of my friends like all the good stuff (to tham) and it's like rap and everything i like rap but not the rap now and i think i will be unpopular if i don't like the music now what do i do?

I really think you should worry less about what other people think. If I worried about that, I'd never get to listen to any of the music I like!! I'm 22 and my favourite music ranges from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's. I've been to see David Cassidy in concert twice (with my Mum) and Donny Osmond once (again, with my Mum).

I have virtually no friends who have heard of half the music I listen to and yes, I have been made fun of because of it. But you know what? Music should NEVER be just about the here and now. The history of music is so incredible that to let songs go 'out of fashion' in the way that clothes do, would be wrong and, if you ask me, completely disrespectful!

Music should be appreciated like art. It's your interpretation that matters and if you know that you like it, forget what anyone else says!

hey there.

i just want to ask you for advice on your first loves. do you remember them? do you remember exactly what it was like? how did you know you were in love for the first time? how old were you? did it work out, if not what happend? details are important to me so please only answer if your passionate about 'first loves'. thanks.
Truthfully, I don't think you ever forget you first love.

For me, I have kind of had two. I had the first 'love' when I was younger. You know, the guy you think you love and it's the first time you ever feel anything close to it. What I class as my REAL first love, is the man I am with now and have been with for the last nearly five years.

In both cases, I remember exactly every little detail of the most significant moments. The nice things both guys did for me, the way I felt, the little ways they showed they cared and the moments that were particularly special in some way. The first guy, it was as close to love as I think you can get at that age. I thought about him all the time and wanted him to be happy, but especially with me! We were good friends and I remember always wanting to be at school, because that's where he was. I had what I came to call a 'thing' for him for about two years, when I was 11 and 12, although I didn't really get over him until I was about 15 or 16. It didn't work out with him because a 'friend' deliberately screwed it up for me. I was devestated and cried for a very long time. Thankfully, I bumped into him some years later and realised I actually had a lucky escape...!

My current love, my one true love, is very different in many ways. I knew I was in love's like nothing I ever imagined because it's a million times better. I want to be with him as much as possible. I can talk to him about literally anything. We support each other and don't judge each other. I look at him and I know my present and my future are with him and could never be with anyone else. I was 17 when I met him and am 22 now. We started off as very good friends, fell in love over time and now live together. We aren't engaged as there is no obvious hurry and we are very happy with each other as we are.

I truly believe that first loves are very important. The difficulty is in distiguishing those feelings that seem like love from true love. It's something nobody can describe accurately, because it's something you feel. Something you just know.

In the 14 months since I had my baby I have lost 66 pounds.(10 lbs less than pre-baby) I exercise when I have time, do aerobic videos, lunges and push-up and sit-ups a few times a week, walk a lot, work 10 hour shifts as a cleaner...I am still flabby and looks like a lot of loose skin on my legs and stomach and hips. Will it ever shrink back? How can I make it go away? (link)
This really depends, as skin loses its elasticity over age. You haven't said how old you are, so I will have to guess.

If you are over 35, your skin will probably struggle more to get back to its usual shape and unfortunately, you may find the loose skin to be permanent.

If you are under 30 years old, in theory, the skin should eventually 'snap back', but it might take time. If the baby was big and your stomach was very stretched, it could take a lot longer for it to reform to your body shape.

In the meantime, make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids, as there is a lot of moisture in skin, eat healthily and keep working out. If it hasn't gone away in another six months, it may be worth speaking to a doctor about alternative options, if you are still unhappy with it.

Hi, my name's Manda, I'm 17 and female. Here's my question: For the last three days now, only the right side of my throat has been hurting, it feels like my tonsil area but I'm really not sure. I was just wondering what it could be considering the fact that my throat hurts only on one side. It's not an excruciating pain or anything but everytime I swallow (saliva, not food), I just get this little hurting sensation. All advice is welcome, thank you! (link)
It sounds like you have hurt your throat, but rather than it being some form of an infection, you may have caught your throat on something sharp as you swallowed, such as a piece of crisp. It might be that you've nicked your throat or your tonsil as you swallowed and it's just caused it to become a little sensitive and possible inflamed.

If it hasn't gone away within the next three or four days, I would suggest you check with your doctor, just to be on the safe side.

Whenever I save my legs, I just get read bumps and you can clearly see the hair follicles or pores, whatever they are.
It makes my legs look worse than they did before I shaved them.

What can I do to reduce the appearance of them? (link)
This sounds like one of two things. Either it's a shaving rash or it's dry skin. Regardless of the problem, this simple routine for shaving your legs should help solve the problem.

Make sure your legs are well washed and exfoliated. It's best to do this in the shower or bath and use a body puff to exfoliate.

Use a good razor. Venus razors are absoloutely the best I have found and I would always recommend these. Blades should be changed regularly, when you start to feel the hairs pull when you shave.

When using the razor, use long, slow strokes along the leg, NEVER short strokes, which can make it easier to cut the skin. You can use a shaving gel or foam, which can make it easier, but simple shower gel is cheaper and generally works just as well.

After shaving your legs, rinse thoroughly with water. Cold, if at all possible, as this will help to seal the hair follicles.

When you are out of the water, PAT your legs dry and then moisturise well. I would recommend moisturising every morning when you get up or every evening before you go to bed, to ensure your skin is always hydrated.

I'm making a minature model of someone and this will be the first time i ever used clay. I'm not a very great art person but this will probably be a huge mark for ym project in class.

Is there any tips you can give me to make this successful and hopefully not make it look terrible? It's air-dry clay from Wal mart. thanks (link)
The most important thing when using clay is to ensure you have the difference between keeping it moist and keeping it wet correct. Use too little water, it will dry up and become almost impossible to do anything with, as it will crack constantly. If you put too much water with it, it will slop all over the place!!

Basically, you just want to make sure that when you first use it, you put some water onto your hands and start moulding. Work slowly and carefully, with whatever tools are at your disposal. If you are making a model of an actual person, it may help to have a picture of that person with you (covered in something plastic so it doesn't get dirty!), to work from as a guide.

Any time the clay starts to feel dry, or starts to crack, dip your fingers in some water to moisten the clay and continue to work. Remember, it is extremely pliable stuff and in the right hands, there is very little that cannot be made with clay. Finally, if you need to stop for more than 20-30minutes, cover your artwork in a plastic bag, clingfilm or something similar, to ensure it does not dry out.

I have to have an interview with another school's guidance counselor to see if I can get in to that school next year.I was just wondering how do I not get nervous and what if I dont know the answer to a question or questions they ask me???I dont want to look stupid in front of that person.HELP ME!!!! (link)
The main thing with any interview is preparation. Think about what sort of questions they might ask you and how you might need to answer them. Know why you want to leave the school you are at right now and what you think you will gain by moving to the new school. Think about what you aspire to be after you leave school, as what you do when you leave school could be easily affected by what and how you do while you are there. Think about extra curriculars you would like to do and what you could bring to the new school. Also, and this is VERY important, make sure you know WHY you want to pick that school. Why not another?

The other thing is controlling your nerves. DEEP breaths are very important and making sure you take a few moments to compose yourself and formulate answers before responding to any questions. That way it doesn't come out all rushed and making no sense! Keep your hands in your lap, do NOT fidget and make eye contact. Make sure you remember all that and you'll be just fine.

how can you gain a bigger self confidence in your self? i always find myself doubting myself. please and thanks! (link)
Lack of self confidence isn't as uncommon as you might think. Even those girls who walk around looking gorgeous all the time sometimes lack self confidence. Why do you think they make so much of an effort?

Self confidence is all about feeling comfortable with yourself and comfortable in your skin. Although it's not about changing yourself as such, sometimes there may be things that need to be changed to boost self confidence. For example, if you know you are overweight, exercising and eating healthily to drop the weight can give a huge confidence booster.

What you need to do is think about the root of your low self esteem. Is it something to do with the way you look, do you not think you're intelligent enough, do you not think you have enough friends. Work out which aspect it is you feel you need to work on and then work out how to tackle it. If you don't like your hair, see if you can change it in some way. If you think you're not smart enough, study or get a tutor.

It can also help to give yourself a mantra or choose some affirmations to recite to yourself when you're feeling less confident. Something like "I am a happy, independent and confident person." Sure, you might feel a little silly but the greatest minds in the world support the use of positive affirmations.

Finally, the biggest way I find self confidence? I imagine a light inside me, glowing outwards. Hard to explain but I feel my body fill with a bright glow that everyone around me can see. The second I feel that glow, I feel miles more confident. Give it a try and see what it does for you!

I live in a dorm at my university, and I live next to a girl that I absolutely cannot stand. Last semester, my roommate and I noticed that no one was being very nice to this girl (who we'll call Bertha). So, we decided that instead of being mean and nasty to her, we'd try to be nice so that she felt welcome on our floor. Oh boy, was that a mistake. When Bertha's roommate moved out, she became like a parasite in our room, always there, no matter what. She never leaves, and even asks to stay in our room when we aren't there. Bertha has several rude and annoying habits as well, such as farting, burping, spilling things all over our room and refusing to clean them up, talking over our t.v. shows and eating our food without permission. We've asked her to leave repeatedly, and she just ignores us. We've even stopped being friendly to her, but she just won't go away! I've already had to quit one of my activities because she constantly humiliated me there, and I'm at my wit's end. We're moving out next year, but I'm not sure I'll last until the end of the semester if I can't think of some really good ways to avoid her. Please help me! (link)
I know you want tips to avoid her, but the truth is, I don't think from what you have said that avoiding her will work. Sounds like the way she is, she will just continue to act this way with you and the other people in your room, with or without your presence. Really, the only way you can deal with this is to confront her about it. Not a nice idea, I know, but someone has to stand up to her behaviour.

Next time she acts like this, you and your friends need to form a united front and tell her once and for all that if she continues to behave the way she is, she will not be welcome in your room. It's YOUR room and you have the right to decide how you and your belongings get treated in it.

If she continues to do this, lock the door if you can, so she can't get in. If you can't lock the door, then you need to speak to whoever is in charge of where you are staying, Landlord, Dean, whoever, and explain the situation. Hopefully, someone in a position of greater authority might be able to do something if she still won't listen.

ii really like this boy :( (link)
Oh what a horrible thing to have happen to you. I'm so sorry!

I really wish I could say something that would make all the pain go away, but the truth of the matter is that I can't. I can't tell you to flirt with him until you can win him over, because in reality, it would be a terrible thing to do and ultimately, may cause him to lose all respect for you.

Instead, the only thing I can recommend to you is that you get in a few soppy films, a LOT of ice cream, pizza and any other junk food you like. Get a huge box of Kleenex and spend a weekend locked in your room with the whole lot, eating and crying it all out. If need be, write down everything you're feeling and burn the piece of paper (in a well ventilated area, perferrably outdoors!).

After this, go outside. Go for a walk, hang out with some friends, do anything that you enjoy that you can do. Smile, even if it feels forced to begin with. You will accept the loss of this boy eventually, but it will take time. As long as you accept that you won't get over him overnight but you WILL get over him, you will be halfway there.

I really hope that helps. I know how horrible heartbreak feels.

Okay, does anyone know any good love songs/sad songs?
I like oldies, pop, rock, classic rock, some country. I dont really like punk and metal, but i (link)
Sarah Maclachlan - Angels
Sinead O Connor - Nothing Compares To You
The Beatles - Something
Bryan Adams - Everything I Do (I Do It For You)
Green Day - Wake Me Up
Nilsson - Without You
Art Garfunkel - Bright Eyes
LeAnn Rimes - I Need You

That's some! Hope it helps!

Im 16 and have had my license for a month ... i was just on the highway in the pouring rain and couldnt see a thing, i had to slam on my brakes and i may have hit the car in front of me, i dont even know! i jerked forward but i cannot remember if i hit him or not! he didnt stop or signal to me or anything, but what happens if he took down my license plate number? am i gonna be in big trouble? and i looked at the front of my car, but i just got into another minor accident lastnight (wasnt my fault, so please dont judge) so the scratches could just be from the one lastnight. im freaking out i dont wanna get in trouble with the cops or anything ... whats gonna happen?!?!?
Now, obviously insurance may be a little different in the US to how it is here in the UK, but I worked for nearly three years in the Motor Claims Department of one of the UK's leading insurers and now work in the complaints dept.

First of all, you should really try to remember that when the ground is wet, you need to at least double your braking distance, so that you won't hit the car in front.

Now, the fact is that insurance companies get thousands of claims every year from people who were involved in minor incidents with people who did not know they had hit them. I dealt with countless claims like that myself!!

All that happens is the other driver puts in a claim. That insurance company then traces the insured party for the other vehicle and sends them and/or the insurer to whom the vehicle is registered a letter, advising that they were liable to damage to the vehicle they insure. On receipt of the letter, the insurance company contact the driver responsible for the damage, to let them know they have had a report and need them to call to validate the details.

It is very rare for police to become involved in minor incidents because generally, unless there is injury or multiple vehicles, they just aren't interested. Even if you have left the scene of the accident.

Please don't worry. It's really not a problem. If you don't hear anything, good. If you do hear something from your insurance company, all you need to do is call them to let them know you are aware of it. They will then cover the Third Party's costs under your insurance.

Im a columnist on this website and i just dont understand how the world got this bad thet everyone in it needs advice, i mean, i know people need help sometimes but has it got this bad. My life is going down the shitter and im 17, why do i feel terrible about everything and have a constant depression in my life? Is this normal, am i supposed to feel like the nothing? Ive had a girlfriend and i broke up with her because i wasnt happy with her, i just dont understand why life sucks so much! (link)
I know exactly how you feel, because when I was 15/16/17, I had exactly the same problem. I suffered from fairly severe depression and in the end, tried to take a knife to my wrists.

Do you know what I did to pull myself out of it? I thought about all the things I did before I was depressed that then, I couldn't be bothered with. I thought about them and realised how badly I missed having fun and feeling happy. Then, one day, I made a decision. I decided I was going to force myself to do something I enjoyed. After that, I forced myself to do something else I enjoyed. Then something else and something else. Eventually, I realised I was actually enjoying myself. I kept one and I got over it. Now, although I still have my bad days, I'm nowhere near as bad as I used to be.

So if you really want to get over this, you have to try really hard to see the good in life. Bad things happen all the time. But if you don't MAKE good things happen to counteract the bad, all you will ever see is the bad. You have to make things happen in life. So go out and do something fun. Get outside and go for a walk somewhere and appreciate the wonder of nature. Take up a hobby. Find something fun and productive to do and throw yourself into it. You'll be amazed at the difference it will make.

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