Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Mental Health & HIV


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New member here.  Tested positive 07/2007.  Was negative as of 07/2006.  I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder in 1994.  Was being treated for depression at the time and developed a manic episode with psychotic features (hearing voices).  My experience has been that I'm depressed (at one level or another) more often than not and only have "manic" or "mixed" episodes when on the wrong medications (Prozac, Effexor and Lamictal appear to be very bad for me).  I've been hospitalized 3 times while having manic or mixed episodes (in 1994, 2000, and 2001).  The first time was just overnight, the next 5 days, the last 2 days.  I've had numerous psychiatrists and therapists over the years -- I've moved to different states 3 times over the years -- and have been on numerous (!) medications over this course of time.  I've also read a lot from various sources and educated myself about many issues related to bipolar disorder and mental health in general and have learned the hard way that you can't always trust that your MD/therapist has your best interests at heart.  You really do have to advocate for yourself and be an informed participant in your healthcare.

Anyway, I've come to believe (in my own case) that "bipolar disorder" is a gift or curse, depending upon how you're able to deal with it.  Despite my struggles, since I was first diagnosed, I did go back to school and earn my master's degree, I've always been employed full-time, I've been a homeowner for 5+ years now and am now back in school full-time.  But on the other hand, I've had some long-term friendships come to an end at least partly because of my mood fluctuations.  I've experienced discrimination due to my bipolar diagnosis and seem to constantly have to fight with insurance companies for reimbursement/authorization for office visits.  AND, in my case, I think my mood disorder and the fallout from dealing with other peoples' bullshit around that and my attempts to cope with it led me to engage in the risky activities (i.e. "self-medicating with sex and the exchange of semen") that have resulted in my acquiring HIV.  So, now I have a whole new set of challenges to deal with (or not).

Anyway....sorry if I got off topic.  I just wanted to say that I'm another forum member with bipolar disorder.  Since I'm newly diagnosed, I have not yet had to deal with issues related to my psychotropic meds (I'm on Lithium only right now -- have been for about a year and a half) and their interaction with HIV meds.

I was diagnosed 3 yrs ago with bi-polar disorder.I was on Sustiva at the time.I strongly recommend you talk to your doc about getting off sustiva especially with the mind fog it causes.I was on it a year b4 they took me off and it made a huge differance.I take effexor xr and Geodon.My combo is rayataz,norvir and truvada.Together they all seem to work well.

I finally accepted my diagnosis of bipolar this year.  After I discovered I was positive, I started attending a support group.  The feedback from the support grouped helped me monitor my behavior.  After a few weeks, I noticed the cycling and mood swings.

There are a lot of things I could say about having Bipolar disorder.  I guess I'm glad that there are medications and help for me.  I have relatives (now dead) that probably had the same issues.  I'm the blessed one because I was born in a time when there was help for me.  My great uncle and great aunt did not have the resources or opportunities to live the life that I have or will live in the future.  I try to remember that when I feel like I want to go have a "pity party". 

I tend to like having "pity parties".  lol

Anyway, I salute all of you who are dealing with this illness.  I know how strong you have to be to face the illness and keep moving forward.

Don't give up!


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