FIONA SAYS: Please don't dismiss your friend's suggestion. If you can't get to grips with what's causing you to feel this way your doctor will be the ideal place to start. If your doctor suggests that you may be suffering from depression (and from what you've said I think this may be likely) then he or she may also think that a course of anti-depressants is the best way forward. This is NOT unnecessary medication. You've shown that you've got what it takes to weather difficult times so I am sure you can overcome this - providing you seek help.
DEAR FIONA: For the past year my boyfriend has been talking about taking a trip around the USA. He plans to go with a couple of his friends. It will take about a year and it has only just dawned on me that he is serious about this. I am distraught at the thought of losing him for a year. He says he has feelings for me too but that this is too good an opportunity to miss. What can I do to stop this? My life is already feeling empty and I have no friends to turn to.
FIONA SAYS: This is going to be hard on you but I think you are just going to have to accept that this trip IS going to happen. Your boyfriend has placed a great deal of importance on it and it's quite possible that, if you block his dream, he may grow to resent this in future. So for the moment try to focus on the positive side of this - look upon it as an opportunity for you to realise some of your own dreams. You could consider doing some travel yourself. I think you should certainly look to widen your circle of friends. It is not healthy for you to be so totally dependent on one person.
DEAR FIONA: I am very worried by a sore lump in my left breast. My grandfather died of cancer, as did one of my aunts so I am convinced that this is what is in store for me. I have tried to ignore it for the past month hoping it will just go away - but it's still there and I am so frightened. I suppose I should go and see my doctor but I am terrified.
FIONA SAYS: Whatever he says it can hardly be any worse than living with all this fear and uncertainty. So please, see your doctor. Cysts are far more common than cancer after all! And even if it is cancer, the earlier treatment can start the better. Cancer is no longer the automatic death sentence that you think it is. In the meantime you may find it helpful to confide in someone you trust. I sense that you're trying to cope with all this on your own.
DEAR FIONA: I am 16 and can't stop myself from eating. I have told my parents and they have tried to help by paying for me to go to a slimming club. However, it was full of women in their 40s and I felt really out of place. What can I do? I hate looking like this.
FIONA SAYS: Have you spoken to your doctor yet? It's possible that you're not as fat as you think. He will be able to tell you whether you are in your ideal weight zone or if you are indeed overweight. And if you are indeed overweight, he should be able to give you some advise about healthy eating and exercise.