I have in so many pages in so many instances seen people giving advice to a newly diagnosed. Pieces of advice that are centered on the “advice-giver” rather than the receiver. Advice that’s most likely coming from “if it were me…”. Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day one would appreciate the effort of trying to help someone out. But it’s worth knowing what not to tell a newbie.
- “It’s OKAY.” What is okay? Being diagnosed a few days ago? Or vomiting every time he or she takes his/her zido.
- “You can do it!” Do what? I did it already! Encouraging someone by telling him that he can do it when he has a truckload of concerns at the moment ain’t gonna work!
- “When I was…” Oh this has to be the more common one. I went through the same or When I was at the stage — It doesn’t respond to the concern of the person. Besides, you cannot possibly be going through the same thing. Yeah you may have had the same lowered hemoglobin case, but the situation around it is something worth looking into.
- “Be strong, you did that to yourself.” (Ginusto mo yan) Blaming the person and wanting the person to take responsibility for his actions are two different things. No one has the right to judge someone for sero-converting. People have stories that we may not know. People who trusted “the one”, people who were raped/drugged, people with all sorts of stories from childhood which may or may not have anything to do with where they are now. But who are we to judge anyone?
- “Your mother/family will accept you no matter what!” Seriously, do you even know the dynamics behind the person’s family? Is it that easy really? If it were to you, would it be that easy for him/her? Are you him/her?
I think I have written a similar blog around this. But somehow talking to my PC monitor helps vent out my frustrations. Again, I can only appreciate the effort around these sentences. I just hope the “assumed” heads or leaders would take time to help educate the ones who want to help. It’s worth the time investment.
So what to do?
How would I know? LOL.
Seriously, know the behind-the-scenes and see where the person is coming from. If the concern is medical in nature then you may have to refer to the doctor. It doesn’t mean you can’t help.
Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us. Hear the person out. Take it from there.
Ask before sharing. More often than not, the person would end up saying, “Ikaw ba?” or “Did this happen to you?”, then go and share. Remember though that you do not have exact same shit going on. There are circumstances around his story, and yours, that make things unique.
Refer to support groups. This might work if you don’t belong to one. Or if you were not trained to give psycho-social support. This is tricky though because someone can come up to me and say, “Where the F is the training?” This is where referring to trained people comes in instead. Know who to run to for “on-the-job” training.
If the person goes, “You’re negative, you don’t know what I’m going through.” Ask yourself, do you?
If you’re positive and you think you’ve gone through hell and back, making you think you know everything. Ask yourself, do you?
I personally know a handful of people you can talk to if you’re newly diagnosed, or if you have issues. You might want to try them out:
Mommy Christina Capacete, she works with the health unit of Laguna and is working closely with a support group for PLHIVs
Twitter’s @edbusim is a good person to run to.
Jake of Iloilo is also alright, I have met him personally and he has shown both intellect and maturity in handling cases
My cousin Don has also been trained in counseling and has also proven to be a good listener, at least according to the guys he eventually referred to me.
If one prefers a TG, you might want to contact Devine. I have seen her in action myself.
Jhun Oliveros has been around for some time and he is also someone to talk to.
There are a lot more out there, I am not able to endorse people unless I know them personally, or at least I have seen them in action. But I’m sure as well that what works for Juan may not work for Pedro, so it’s a base to base casis, Oops, it’s a case to case basis I mean.
For more information, please visit us on facebook: HASH-HIV AIDS Support House Inc or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org