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Author Topic: Two and a half years and counting, depression sets in.  (Read 565 times)

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Offline Dantheman

  • Member
  • Posts: 16
Two and a half years and counting, depression sets in.
« on: June 30, 2016, 12:42:27 AM »
Hi all,

I come to the forum periodically when I need some guidance and some support. To feel like I'm not alone. Well, its been two and a half years since I've been positive. I take my meds pretty consistently.  I was undetectable a month after diagnosis and have been undetectable ever since.  In fact, I don't think I've been healthier.  I work out consistently and get my check ups every three months. 

Although on the surface nothing has changed, everything about me has changed quite drastically.  I find myself in low dips quite frequently and depressed a lot.  My career isn't going so well (freelance) and at the age of 32, I've never even been in a relationship.  I think all this, add HIV in, and it's, well, quite depressing. I don't know if I've ever quite let it sink in because If I did, I wouldn't be able to get out of bed (which I do sometimes). 

I tried going to a therapist (whom is also positive) but I don't think it's helping.  I try to go to groups, I try positive reinforcement, I try to hang out with friends, but now I think drinking is the only bit of relief.  And maybe sleep.

It's agonizing to think sometimes how this will be me in the future and how much I've changed for the worse.  It's sad that I threw my life away for such a stupid decision (or lack of action).  I don't know how to handle being positive, or how to be myself anymore.  I'm angry a lot.  I sense myself being a selfish individual.  I don't like who I'm becoming.  I just don't care about things anymore because I don't see the point.  What's the point?  I used to think I could do anything, accomplish anything, change anything, be anything.  I don't know where that person is anymore.  And the frustrating thing is I don't know how to fix it.  How do you fix this?  Happiness is becoming a distant idea.  Harder and harder to get.  It's a sad thought to think nothing will ever be better.

How do you get through the hard times? 

Offline awakening

  • Member
  • Posts: 19
Re: Two and a half years and counting, depression sets in.
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2016, 01:09:21 AM »
I am relatively new to HIV having been diagnosed two weeks ago, but the book
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron has been helping calm me and put my situation into a spiritual perspective. Also good in that way is Eckhart Tolle's, The Power of Now.

I'm not a religious person, but as one who has a tendency toward depression and negative thinking, both of these books help me see some of my destructive thought patterns and provide tips on how to bring myself back into the peace of the present moment.
Tested neg 3/1/16
Diagnosed poz 6/17/16
June 17, 2016: CD4 - 524 cells/uL (30%), VL 22,900
Started Triumeq 7/2/16

Offline BT65

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  • Posts: 10,739
Re: Two and a half years and counting, depression sets in.
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2016, 05:18:26 AM »
Hi, it sounds like what you're experiencing is a delayed reaction to your diagnosis.  What I mean is, a lot of people react the way you are reacting shortly after diagnosis.  I haven't read your old posts so I am not sure how you reacted initially following your diagnosis, but these are typical signs of trying to accept the HIV diagnosis.  Having these feelings is completely normal.  I wouldn't stop counseling right now just because you aren't seeing immediate results.  Therapy usually is that way, it's like ripping open wounds and while there is relief in the long term, short term wise it can be very traumatizing.

You also may need some psychiatric help in the form of an antidepressant that will actually help you process these feelings better.  I have been positive for about 30 years and have been on antidepressant for quite a while.  I also had therapy for years to come to terms not only with the diagnosis, but also how to treat myself like a person worth while. 

I am moving your post to the mental health part of the forum but please keep talking to us.  We're here and we care!

I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

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Offline harleymc

  • Member
  • Posts: 541
Re: Two and a half years and counting, depression sets in.
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2016, 07:27:30 AM »
Dear Dan
sounds like you're feeling it pretty bad.

I won't pretend there are any easy answers. I've tried a lot of things over the years and have eventually gotten to a pretty good space but I couldn't say there was just one thing that got me there.

So some of the things that have helped, counseling (to control my negative self-talk), work outs (at least for the duration of the work out), practicing mindfulness, volunteering (that one was huge for me), practicing being thankful, being social and a very low dose antidepressant (which just stopped the random horror days).

I see you're doing work outs and counseling, stick with those.

And start challenging those negative thoughts such as "I threw my life away", it's just a thought and it materially is not true, you're alive and well. Tackle each of those negative thoughts. "It's a sad thought to think nothing will ever be better" is exactly that it's a thought and has no evidence for it. Put these thoughts at arms length and recognise they are not reality.

Big hugs to you, keep on posting and let us know how you are getting on.

Offline mecch

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  • Posts: 13,093
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Two and a half years and counting, depression sets in.
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2016, 08:01:01 AM »
Sorry to hear this news. I agree with BT65 - psychiatrist consultation is a good idea. Ask your therapist for a referral, or your GP, or your ID, whatever health practitioner you have. Is your therapist aware of you feeling this bleak these days??  It sounds like some medicine might be helpful.  "Low dips" - thats what i had went I got depressed and hopeless.  Drugs and therapist helped me through that.

You have to figure out a way to forgive yourself and let it go that you got HIV.

Also for the career, freelance has advantages and disadvantages.  Disadvantages include having to always produce, or if not producing, not making money.  A job - well some jobs one can have more productive periods than others but one always has a salary.   Also a job - colleagues say affirmative things - if its a good job at least. Also - less isolation.

Sounds like you are having a bit of an Adulthood crisis - existential - whats the point, and how do I make my living, to boot.   

Seems to me as an outsider the therapist should be working through these questions and challenges pretty concretely - if not - what options do you have for other therapy?

I don't say this to minimise your disillusionment rather to put it in perspective - you are not alone in what you are experiencing.  1st existential crisis in first stage of working life.  There may well be another - the famous mid-life one in late 40's or early 50's.

If you can land on your feet this time, you'll have more tools and less anxiety next time one comes along?
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Dantheman

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  • Posts: 16
Re: Two and a half years and counting, depression sets in.
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2016, 04:15:53 PM »
Thanks everyone for the comments.  It's nice to feel I'm not alone. 

I'm hesitant to take anti depressants as I don't want to rely on meds to make me feel better.  Although, maybe that might be the way to go, for now.  I hate relying on meds to live my life.  I already have to take meds for this everyday.

With my therapist, I just feel like there's no goals.  It sort of floats around and never to a resolution.  I have so much to say, but I end up being quiet because I feel he's not really saying "here's ways you can do to improve the situation, ways to change your train of thought, or when you feel down, here's what you can do" I just pay him and leave and sometimes, feel shittier than when I went in.

I've decided to go to bartending school for a week next week so that I can at least make some money.  Freelancing has its ups and downs, and I need something more consistent so that I can deal with other aspects.  Don't want to be in real financial trouble, although I'm getting there~

The cycle of feeling shitty is so bad. I feel bad, I project bad, and then the perspective is just negative. 

@awakening, I'll give that a read. Thanks for the suggestion.

Offline mecch

  • Member
  • Posts: 13,093
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Two and a half years and counting, depression sets in.
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2016, 06:52:30 PM »
Many people have success with SSRI - anti-depressants - and do not need to take them forever.  My course on them as maybe 2 years.  I do not regret it in the least. It was exactly those "dips" that SSRIs helped to eliminate.  They really felt chemical to me. 
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Bowie-esq

  • Member
  • Posts: 77
Re: Two and a half years and counting, depression sets in.
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2016, 02:58:53 AM »
After five years of depressive dips, days of silence, unable to move, physical pain, anger, I'd had enough and finally opened up to talk about my mental health with my doctor. I'm on my third therapist, answered hours of questions relating to mental health, and now being referred to a psychotherapist. Until my sessions with my psychotherapist kick in I touch base every two weeks with my current therapist. It helps a lot! At the beginning I just wanted to be sedated, give me PILLs! But my therapist explained why this wouldn't be helpful, that I need to talk through all the shit - I'm done with talking! I'm done with crying.... But I gave myself over to her advice and it is calming down and getting easier.

So talk, talk to your doctor, talk to a close friend,  get refereed, and get the past and anxiety over the future out into the open. I'm trying to rebuild myself, find work that is more stable - I'm also a freelancer - and give myself the time and space to be tired, to be angry, to be sad. But knowing that I have a support network helps.

Stay strong, it's all part of the journey X
Infected: +\-01/2010

Tested positive 08/2010
28/07/11 CD4 420 9% v.l. 20500
16/10/11 CD4 320 10% v.l. 185000
10/11/11 begin Truvada/Viramune
29/12/11 CD4 410 13% v.l. 115
14/4/12 v.l. undetectable
05/7/12 CD4 520 19% v.l. UD
21/08/13 CD4 470 20% v.l. UD
19/12/13 CD4 430 23% v.l. UD
8/12/14 CD4 600 21% v.l. UD
4/2/15 CD4 600 v.l. UD. Cholesterol 6.2 ....


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