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

I keep crying

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chrism1973:
All  I can say is I know how your feeling.I go through this from time to time.There is no magic answer.I wish there was.I believe some of it comews with accepteing hte fact that your poz. At least for me that has been the case.When I need to cry I cry.Try not to get stuck there though.I got stuck there for 2 yrs and I was a mess.So much so I ended up in the psych ward to straighten things out a bit.THink of the good things in your life if you can and always know you have the support here if you need it.
                                                                                                                                 Best wishes,
                                                                                                                                                 Chris

Andy Velez:
Koksa, as uncomfortable as this is for you, you have very eloquently expressed a lot about what accepting and coming to terms with this is like.

What you're experiencing now is something that I expect will pass, as others have already warmly expressed to you. I believe in respecting feelings. Not clinging to them but respecting them. The "why" of them is less important than the fact that it's how you feel at the moment. While keeping on with your life, allow the feelings to be. Gradually (or swiftly sometimes) they will change. There maybe moments when you will suddenly understand things in a different way.

Make sure there are people in your life, like those who have already responded to you, who know you haven't done anything wrong, that you simply have a virus that you have to deal with which makes some special demands. You're going to find your way and through that experience you will find yourself either literally or figuratively putting your around someone's shoulder sometime and reassuring them that "it's going to be ok."

You've done everyone here a favor by expressing yourself so openly.

Cheers,

Iggy:
Koksi,

It was a little difficult for me to read your post as it was very reminiscent of what I had experienced myself.

It may be grieving of what you presumed is lost and it also may be fear of what you presume will be lost.  It need not be something you are fully conscious of either and why you are at a loss to explain where it is coming from.

Sometimes we give ourselves little subliminal mental notes during the day that have a way of building up in our mind.  For example - passing a drugstore and automatically thinking of HIV meds, or seeing someone who is sick and automatically self identifying that as our future, even just seeing a computer and automatically thinking that you want to look on aidsmeds. I stress that these are just examples and not specifically about you or anyone. 

These are thoughts that can happen so quickly and fleetingly that we may not fully register them in our conscious, but they certainly do register themselves in our head and eventually build until HIV becomes a constant mental as well as physical companion, and frankly I think it's natural to grow exhausted from having this 24/7 houseguest/moocher in our lives, and want to just break down and cry.

I hope you can take comfort in the crying as it is a release and it is your mind presenting to you an opportunity to face something that has been weighing on you heavily.  Frankly it may not be HIV specific or HIV -only worries, but since that is what your gut instinct is,then I encourage you to explore that.

I'm a huge proponent of writing - free style, stream of consciousness writing.  Screw the punctuation, the grammar and any narrative worries and grab yourself some paper and write down everything (no matter how esoteric)  your mind gives you when you put the pen to the paper.   

My final thought is that I think it is worth it if you speak with a therapist if possible.  I think you have a bit of a process to go through and that may be best handled by a professional who can guide you.

koksi:
Thanks to all for your responses to this.  I don't know quite what I seek in contributing to this forum, but I certainly appreciate your taking the time to try to help me.  I will admit to some chagrin at being moved from 'living with' to 'mental health,' though I see the logic there, as though sadness is a sign of pathology and not a constitutive component of living with a potentially fatal illness.

Iggy, you write of subliminal or peripheral things that keep HIV in your mind or consciousness even if you don't notice it.  I know this is happening for me.  Actually for me, it often happens when I see youthful and happy people.  I feel like I am existing in a different world than they are.  I live in Finland, where everyone seems blonde.  So I constantly have this impression of a 'general public' of young, skinny, blonde people and I am watching them from the outside.  Of course, this feeling is some sort of synthesis of being HIV+ in a country with °absolutely no° public culture of HIV, and of being an expatriate here.  It is just a coincidence and pure chance that I seroconverted and moved overseas at just the same time.  But 'coping' with both culture shock and seroconversion all at once has been tuff, to say the least.  Actually, being a foreigner here has made seeking therapy difficult. I was using Skype to talk to my old therapist in the States when I first moved here, but I found the computer interface to be alienating and non-conducive to the confessional atmosphere that therapy sometimes requires.

I looke for what I call 'HIVsign' in others (think "wormsign" from Dune):  signs of the various atrophies associated with the disease.  I wonder constantly if I am the only HIV+ person around, even in gay bars.  When I read things about AIDS, I always wonder if the person writing it has HIV or knows anyone with HIV and whether that person ever imagines that s/he is addressing people who have HIV.  There is so much discourse about HIV that seems of and for negative people, discourse that tends to presume or recreate the concept of the 'general public' that was so damaging in the early days of the epidemic.

Em, other people's sickness and death also triggers self-reflection for me.  As I indicated, this is usually self-berating:  other tragedies end up being occasions for belittling my own sadness and suffering.  How can I be so selfish as to think that I deserve sympathy for having contracted HIV when children in Iraq have had their lives and families torn apart in the most unimaginably awful way?  I think things like that.  Where do I get off thinking that I am suffering?  What's messed up is that I suspect that this thought pattern only ends up continuing various forms of self-abnegation and low-self-esteem that probably contributed to the decision I made that led me to get infected.  "I get what I deserve."  That kind of thing.  Which is really just messed up and wrong and I need to reject it. 

One thing I am struggling with, and I think this relates to the tears I have been crying for the last few days, is how to be kind to myself.  Especially now, and especially with this disease.  I find myself as a result veering between anger and sourness towards those around me, and incredible solicitousness and kindness toward others in the hope that they will show those to me.

Sasa, the feeling of having betrayed family is especially difficult.  I haven't told anyone in my family, except for my boyfriend.  I think I am getting ready to do this, because the longer I go without being open the more I end up creating this shameful little closet. 


Thanks again for paying attention.  I really appreciate it.

Buckmark:
Koksi,

There's nothing inherently wrong with crying.  It's a normal part of the grieving /healing process.  And finding out you are HIV+ is terrible news, as it obviously can have many, many undesirable consequences.  So you need to grieve.

But crying should lead you through the grieving process.  If you are crying for an extended period, you have to ask yourself if you are "stuck" in the grieving / healing process.  If so, you should probably talk to someone -- family, friend, or therapist -- who may be able to help you.

It's normal to blame yourself for becoming positive.  To regret the actions and decisions that lead to you becoming HIV+.   And most of us do have to accept at least some responsibility for those actions and decisions, particularly if HIV was acquired sexually.  But blame and regret are not terribly productive, and usually don't lead to a place of acceptance. 

It's so easy to say "I should have known better" -- most of us did know better than to engage in unsafe sex.  But our sex drive does not come from the same part of our brain as logic and reason do.  If it did, the incidence of STDs would be drastically lower, and there would be no unplanned preganancies, and abortion might be virtually non-existent.

That's not a free pass to engage in sexual activity without first thinking of the risks, and what we should do to protect ourselves and our partners.  Like I said, we have to accept responsibility.  But we're human, and when it comes to sex, it does not come from a place of higher reasoning.  Like all humans, we have the potential to make mistakes.

I hate to see you be so hard on yourself.  From what I've read, you've already done plenty of that.  Ask yourself "what comes next?"  You're right that life will never be the same again after your diagnosis.  You've got a lot of hard decisions to make, and problems to face. 

Playing the "what if was wasn't HIV+ game" is awfully tempting.  But that's a game you can't win, because you are HIV+, so resist the temptation to play it.  In many ways, you really don't know what your life would have been like if you weren't HIV+.  It's just speculation, the same way we speculate how things might be different if we made different choices at other significant points in our lives.

One of your statements below highlights one of the biggest fears of many of us positive folks: 


--- Quote ---"Yet, I am scared, really scared, of what family and colleagues would say once they knew that I have this.  I am especially afraid of professional consequences."

--- End quote ---

I would keep only very limited contact with people who won't accept you because of your HIV status.  We all want and need to be accepted for who and what we are.  You'll find endless threads on these forums about the fear of disclosing our status.  I encourage you to take advantage of these forums, and learn from other people's experiences in disclosure, because having to keep your HIV+ status as a big secret to yourself is an extremely large burden to bear.  Also, it's quite normal to seek out others who are HIV+, so if there is no one in your area that you are aware of  (as you state below), you'll find these forums even more valuable.

The first sentence in your post below is "something is changing."  I think that is probably a good sign, as I'd be more worried if you didn't think you and your life would change, after being diagnosed as HIV+.

Regards,

Henry

(Edited only to spell Koksi's name properly)

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