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Depressed State of Mind
Oct 11, 2000

Since learning that I have AIDS, I have been in an increasing downward spiral about life in general. How do I plan for the future when I don't know how long I may have.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

You have to do several things. First is to ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a good mental health professional who can help you evaluate how bad your depression is and how long you have been in this state. You very well might require a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant drugs, but this can only be determined when you have a face to face evaluation with a skilled professional.

You also need to go into a support group with other people who are living with HIV so you can can speak with other people who are struggling with the same issues in order to find the faith and hope you need to realize that HIV does not need to be a death sentence any longer.

It is normal for you to have an initial period of shock and adjustment. But now you need to figure out, with the help of other people with HIV and with professionals what you need to do to take charge of your life and illness. It will not be easy, but tens of thousands of other people are learning how to do this every day. Call your local AIDS service organization today and ask about support groups.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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