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depression,AIDS and how to get help
Aug 5, 2001

My partner has AIDS (I am negative). He was confirmed with AIDS 7 years ago (though he has never had an opportunistic infection) - just no T-cells. He shows all the signs of depression - it is causing both of us issues. I need to get him help - he refuses - it is tearing me apart to see him this way - it is causing me a great deal of money (he buys things to feel better). How can i get him to see someone - he says no one can know me as well as you - so they can't help. His AIDS doctor is good, but my partner won't let me in when he goes in and so I don't think his doctor hears it. I have read about depression and know that drugs (maybe Prozac) would help, and then he can do therapy. What should I do? He does not have many friends, he is not close to his family and I travel every other week in my job. My long-term goal is to help him get better, end of relationship (we were never a good couple) and both of us get on with our lives.

Please help....

Response from Mr. Shernoff

You have really allowed yourself to be in a no win situation. It sounds as if you have completely relinguished all of your power to your partner. You need to tell him honestly that you are miserable since he seems so depressed and that you are having a great deal of difficulty being there for him when he will not let you him, since he refuses to get professional mental health care. I would tell him that either he allows you to join him during one of his doctor's visits or else you will call his doctor and tell him your concerns and ask him to refer your partner too a psychiatrist.

You can not make him go for help. All you can do is decide if you can continue to live like this. If you feel like you are reaching your limits, then this may be something to tell him, in order to raise the stakes on his obtaining help that will make both of your lives better.

This is an extremely difficult situation, with no obvious or simple solutions.

Best of luck.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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