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Am I Mental?

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--- Quote from: DanielMark on April 10, 2007, 04:38:58 PM --- I also try to think in small periods of time, especially when the big picture is too much to bear.


--- End quote ---


Considering all you have been through, this last sentence is, as they say, "BRILLIANT".  Something so simple, yet so unencumbering.  Wow, I asked for a simple answer and you indeed came up with a good one.  I guess on some level, I have done just as you suggest here, but at the same time, I happen to be a hopeless planner.  What this does is often times set me up for disappointment.  I am always having to apologise for missing meetings because I just didn't feel like driving 185 miles to get that meeting on the schedule.  In other ways, I often beat myself up when I commit to a project or other thing here at home and then my sweetie comes home to find me in bed in pain and the home is a mess and I haven't accomplished anything at all. 

Well, you did give a good and thought provoking answer and I will keep that one really close to my heart.


Hello Tim,

Thankyou for starting this thread. Obviously mental health issues, and how we end up coping with these issues on a daily basis, is a very big part of our lives. This is something we can all see here daily on the forums.

One of the LTS's, that has impressed through the years here is Joe ( Killfoile) and one of the reasons for this is, because he has been so open and honest, about the mental health issues that he has been dealing and struggling with  with for so many years, even as he has stated before, some of these issues were before he became HIV infected. I've always read these posts of Joe's, with great interest, Because depression and mental health issues are something that affect us, at different degrees, on a daily basis. There were a lot of good posts, on the old forums that were unfortunately lost, after the new forums were started.

I've been fortunate through the years that I have always had a good support base. The very limited number of people, and my family members,( and  of course my love in my life Ed), that I confided in, shortly after I became positive, was a big influence in my life, in helping me to keep things on track. Without the support of these people, it is difficult to say what direction my life may have turned. But , I do understand that it takes much more than the support of those around me, to deal with these issues.

I 've stated this before, I have never been on any additional medication other than the HIV meds, and the cholesterol medication. Never been on antidepressants, anxiety medications, sleeping pills etc, so what I learn here from others is very important to me, as I could very well be dealing with these issues sooner than later. It will help me further down the road.

Thanks Tim--------Ray

Wow, I asked for a simple answer and you indeed came up with a good one.

Relieved you think so Tim,

Even as I was hitting the Post button I was questioning if I was addressing your question or just prattling on. That's another ongoing thing I suppose – having fought against thinking problems in the past it leaves you doubting your own thoughts at times.

The upside is that it forces me to try to be as clear as possible when speaking or writing. The downside is it can be a real kick in the self confidence levels at times.



--- Quote from: Moffie65 on April 10, 2007, 01:21:35 PM ---I don't know how to start this thread, because it is an issue that touches us all, but at the same time, seems to separate us at times...
Last night, one of our longer term members was facing the wall of suicide and called out for help, and to my astonishment, help was provided with a quickness and a caring that was so astounding that it is shocking.  Even with all the checks and balances that are in place on this site, people went to no end to help a person who was in dire need of help and did so with an unselfishness that isn't always common anymore... 
I wanted to remind those of you who unselfishly gave of your sleep and time, that now you are committed to an open ended time of support and help.  However, it is also important that the person receiving that help be alert to the reality of how much energy was expended in their crisis.  What also is surprising is that this person seems to have sluffed off the event with more attacks on people that were there for them and tried to help when it was needed.  Also, the rouse of multiple names in use has confounded the operators of the site and caused them to scratch their heads to try and figure out if they are on the right track or once again being used for someones crisis, or drama, and nobody really has the answer...

Thanks for not getting pissed off at my post and thanks for any suggestions I can place my teeth into.

Love and Kisses,

(edited for a stupid typo)

--- End quote ---

Look, I am no shrink, and not hip to the latest mental health parlance...But I know this. For someone to lash out at their rescuers is COMMON. It happened to me when an acquaintance called me up sounding slightly out of it. After he mumbled something casually about "Life isn't worth it" and taking "some pills...and being sleepy" I dialed 911. He told them he was fine. They told me he was fine (I couldn't tell for sure whether they had shown up). Months later he pretended like it never happened and was angry at me for 1) calling EMS and 2) remembering. I did take offense at the time. If this is a psychological phenomenon of hitting bottom, my anger was wasted energy, right? I suppose his response has a name. I did the right thing. I'd do it again. Gratitude is never really the point.

I think we should emulate medical professionals:
Help see everyone gets quality timely treatment.
Don't play God and decide who is worthy.
Detach yourself emotionally when possible, so as not to burn out as a caregiver.

 8)  -megasept

Joe K:
Nothing like starting the forum will a real brain burner involving mental health and maintaining the will to live.  I have to break these up because I have some different views, a few suggestions and a few comments that you will possibly find either very disconcerting or very familiar.

As Daniel mentioned, sometimes the most effective ways of coping are also the easiest.  About five years after becoming poz, I had a great therapist and she used to challenge me to adjust how I felt and reacted and she gave me two very powerful questions that have served me well over the years.

When I start to feel apprehensive or begin to worry about something, I must stop myself and ask the question: “Is it true?”  Simple as that seems you would be amazed at how skewed my thinking can be and often I must literally stop what I am doing and answer that question.  More often than not, I find my answer to be no (the thought is NOT true), I am not thinking factually and that causes me to go back and restart the evaluation process again.  It may sound like second nature, or even common sense to ask such a basic question, yet somehow my mind can skim right over facts and grab onto the most arcane things.  However, while this works for weeding out the factual vs. imagined issues, there still comes the issue when my answer is yes, what I am thinking is true.

For example, I have been having real problems with my neck and right shoulder for about two years.  I started in denial and then slowly, as I determined that the pain was real and had a source, I then had to calm myself by asking myself the second question: “What is the worst thing that can happen?”  In this case I saw a few doctors and after some consultations, I realized that the worst that would happen is that I would require surgery to correct the problems in my right shoulder.  Granted this works well for minor to somewhat major issues I might face, yet nobody prepared me for the answer I would give, when I asked that same question concerning my longevity.

I used to absolutely fear death and when the answer of the worst was death, it would send me right up the wall.  It was if the Grim Reaper had become my shadow and I just new that my demise was not a question of if, but rather of when.  I felt this way for almost ten years (85-95) until I became so ill in 1995 that I had to leave work.  I had crushing depression, 32 t-cells and a viral load off the charts.  I know if Protease Inhibitors had not debuted I would not be here, but oddly it was a hospital stay that really opened my eyes.

After leaving work I suffered a very strange episode involving my appendix (medical journal type of strange).  My appendix swelled to almost three times it size and the pain was something that you can NEVER, EVER EVEN TRY AND DESCRIBE to others.  It was the first time in my life I wished to actually die and as I lay in the hospital hallway, waiting for a bed, I came to the realization that sometimes death is not something to be feared, instead it can serve as a way out.  The episode also highlighted to me, just how important my “quality of life” is and the older I become, my quality is of even greater importance.

This has caused me to change my entire life-view and Stephen and I have had real discussions on what we want to happen, when either or both of us, just cannot live, as we would like.  To be honest, I have contemplated suicide often, but deep down I could never do something so horrific to those whom I love and fortunately I possess enough skills to generally recover from my darkest moments.  However I have discovered the difference between taking your own life, as opposed to letting go of your life.

Sadly Tim, your last question, regarding how to keep going when life seems darkest, is becoming increasingly difficult for me to answer as well.  We have talked about this and I sure wish I had some answers as I keep grappling with my loss of cognitive abilities and failing health.  I have often thought that if I were to ever loose Stephen, that would be the last stop on the last train of my life.  I have waited so long for someone like him and I know that without him, I would have little left in my life.

I am just so damn tired, scared and so frustrated that I got myself into this mess.  I will never know what life would be like without HIV and to be honest, I'm not so sure I would want to know, yet the thought cannot help but to cross my mind on occasion.  With every new ailment or decrease in abilities, there comes that dual-question of whether it is due to HIV, aging or both.

I am getting to the point where I no longer care and I often feel that I am much too young to feel this old.  Fortunately, with age comes a little wisdom and I have made peace with myself and I know that when my times come, it will be much easier than I have ever allowed myself to believe.  And to be honest, I like that feeling very much, because now I can just live my life out, rather than worrying about dying someday.  In a very perverse way, my acceptance of death has brought me a level of contentment that I find reassuring and the way I see it, if I do not fear the Grim Reaper, there is little else in life that can scare me.


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