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tips and tricks for dealing with non diagnosed HIV related depression

Jul 16, 2002

what can PLWHA do for themselves when they notice they are starting to feel 'blue' treating depression early is important yet the wait to see professional help may take weeks, what are good easy stratagies that can be incoperated into a daily schedule that will not be too demanding on time or energy please? Phil PLWHA peer support worker Brisbane Australia

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Having taken the step to get help by making an appoointment to begin working with a mental health professional is the first and most important step that someone can do. Having to wait a few weeks to see someone is not a big deal unless the person is suicidal. If he or she is, then they should be enocuraged to go to the nearest hosptial psychaitric emergency room for treatment.

Treating depression requires talk therapy and sometimes even antidepressant medication. Someone waiting to begin therapy can find good books on depression and begin reading them to educate themselves about the disease and it's various treatments. This will make them a better partner in their own mental helath care.

They can also begin to try and catalogue instances in thier own life where they are feeling hopeless, helpless, powerless or even despair, and note that these are real indications of their depression and not some character defect of their personality. Similarly if they just find that they are not able to accomplish things that they would like to, even small things like cleaning their homes or doing the laundry, they should catalogue these as very poossible symptoms of depression.

The other biggest thing this person can and should do is work very hard at not judging himself for being depressed. Very often there is alot of shame that accompanies recognizing that one is depressed. This is also a symptom of the disease.

I hope that these are helpful.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

Partner and non-disclosure
I am married to someone with HIV.

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