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Author Topic: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+  (Read 3976 times)

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Offline ElZorro

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  • Posts: 535
Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« on: May 13, 2010, 06:37:13 PM »
It's almost a year now since I became infected. I'm "blessed" to have access to great medical care, started treatment early, and have responded well by all accounts. I just can't get over "having it".

Unless I'm completely focused on work (or asleep), I'm always thinking about HIV and how my life has changed. I do my best not to feel sorry for myself and to recognize that I am much better off than those who came before me but I don't want it; I want a single "do over". I still spend countless hours every week typing "HIV Cure 2010" into the Google search box hoping to come across a miracle. I have no idea how long it takes for a clinical trial to be conducted or what the process is for new treatments to be approved.  I don't understand a lot of the research that is being done, but it does seem like it's possible that this will be cured in the not too distant future. Am I naive to believe that? How often have others felt that way and been disappointed since this pandemic began?

I live alone and am not interested in dating or socializing. I've only shared the news with three people. I know I'm still the same great person that I was before I made a single mistake last year, but I can't get passed this feeling of hopelessness and regret and stupidity. I'm sure some of it is mild depression, but I think it's mostly fear of not really understanding what has happened and what will happen.

It's one thing for my doctors to tell me that I have every reason to expect to live a relatively normal life and another thing to believe it. I can't help but wonder what I'm doing to my body every night when I take my single "vitamin" before bed (Atripla). I read things about inflamation now being a concern for those on treatment but cannot determine if that is a concern for everyone on treatment or just those who have been on meds for "years". If it is the latter, how many "years" is it? 5? 10? 15? 20?

I sure would be interested in listening to any advice about learning how to share my body with this virus and how others cope with it and accept it. Does it ever become less than the most prevalent thing on one's mind? How can I regain control of my life and start enjoying it as opposed to feeling hopeless and afraid?

Offline Jeff G

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  • How am I doing Beren ?
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2010, 06:49:01 PM »
Welcome to the forums .
I read your profile and I see you are 40 years old and have been poz for less than a year .

I am 48 now and we both know less than a year is not a long time LOL . I'm glad you found the forums its a great place for us to talk to people like us and get the support we need from time to time . I am thinking you have made a big first step reaching out and beginning to talk about how you feel . I look forward to hearing more from you . Jeff   

Offline ElZorro

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  • Posts: 535
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 07:13:05 PM »
Thanks for the welcome, Jeff.

I've been reading these forums for quite some time now trying to educate myself and am grateful that this site exists. I think I just finally decided to "weigh in". Maybe talking to others will help me get back some sense of normalcy. I guess that's what I'm hoping for.

I don't know how to say this without sounding "greater than thou", but I feel like a complete ass for contracting this virus. I'll be 45 this year and don't see how/can't believe that I let it happen. In the 80s maybe, but 2010? It's not like I didn't know it was out there and haven't watched it kill close friends.

My comments will never be meant to disparage anyone, so I hope this post doesn't. I'm just a little angry at myself and ashamed that I allowed this to happen.

Offline Jeff G

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  • How am I doing Beren ?
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2010, 07:26:25 PM »
That sense of normalcy was something I found here in abundance .

The forums was for me the first time in my 25 years of living poz that I realized it was OK to have the whole range of feelings I experienced . It was the first time I didn't feel like I was all alone living with Aids .

Offline WillyWump

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Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 07:36:13 PM »
Welcome ElZorro,

Ive been poz just over 2 years and I can tell you during the first year my mind was preoccupied with the virus almost constantly. However that is fading now, and I can tell you that as time passes you learn to deal with it better and it becomes less of an issue, or at least it's not in the forefront of your mind everyday. Today I think about HIV less and less as I go about my day, it's almost a non issue for me now.

It's a process that you have to go through (Im still in it), but I can tell you unequivacally that it gets easier.

-Will
POZ since '08

Last Labs-
6/3/14 CD4- 736, UD 34%
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir
.

Offline ElZorro

  • Member
  • Posts: 535
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010, 07:37:53 PM »
It was the first time I didn't feel like I was all alone living with Aids .

I think I do feel "alone" right now and I know that I shouldn't and I appreciate the chance to chat out here. When I was first diagnosed, I was able to attend a support group for people with chronic illnesses. I met others in much more serious situations and I think that helped me to put things into perspective. It's a little hard to feel sorry for one's self when you're listening to someone who has a terminal illness and is preparing for death.

With work, I haven't had the luxury of attending that group anymore. I gain a lot of hope from listening to others who have been living with HIV for 20+ years and have to believe that given time, what I'm feeling will pass.

Offline skeebo1969

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  • Posts: 5,705
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2010, 08:26:25 PM »
I sure would be interested in listening to any advice about learning how to share my body with this virus and how others cope with it and accept it. Does it ever become less than the most prevalent thing on one's mind? How can I regain control of my life and start enjoying it as opposed to feeling hopeless and afraid?

  It's kind of like a death of a loved one, when it first happens it totally knocks the wind out of you and consumes your thoughts all day, as time goes on though the pain becomes more manageable.  My first year was pretty rough.  Because of illness I couldn't work, I fell behind on my mortgage, child support, phone bill, etc., etc.,..  It seemed like I couldn't catch a break.

   Oh I remember it all to well...  it sucked man, and I am sure you can relate.  I couldn't even roll over in  bed in the morning without thinking about HIV.  Stop at a traffic light, my mind would race once again on the HIV marathon I was trying to stop running.  Yes, it sucked.I practically lost everything and what I didn't lose I sold to maintain. 

   As time went on though, things started to fall in place.  I began waking up in the morning with an agenda and HIV was not included. 

  Today, 5 years later, I am remarried and have a beautiful  two year old daughter.  I'm 41 and just recently started school to become a registered nurse.  The only reminder today of my HIV infection is the alarm that goes off at 9am and 9pm to remind me to take my meds...

   I'll be honest with you, it's not a long road, but it is a wasteful journey and what I mean is= I wasted a lot of time worrying about HIV and lost 2 good years where I could have been enjoying life.... especially those days when my health was ok.

   Along with the others I would like to welcome you to the forums.  It will get better however, the length of time depends on you.

   Skeebo

   

 
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline ElZorro

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  • Posts: 535
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2010, 08:41:24 PM »
Thanks for the welcome, the encouragement, and the validation, Skeebo.

Traffic lights, driving to work, trips to the men's room, walking around the grocery store...it is constant.

I'm "glad" to hear that it's not just me. It's also encouraging to know that despite the fact that I feel like I'll never date again, you met someone, settled down, and are continuing to live your life. I look forward to being able to do the same thing.

Was it just the passage of time that did it for you or was it some type of education or realization?

Offline skeebo1969

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  • Posts: 5,705
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2010, 08:54:38 PM »
Was it just the passage of time that did it for you or was it some type of education or realization?

The education and support from this site helped along with the passage of time.  In 5 years you'll be handing out support as well....  just don't get hit by that bus everyone talks about. ;)
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline emeraldize

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  • Posts: 3,350
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2010, 09:03:02 PM »
Hi EZ

Good that you decided to start writing about what you're feeling. Write here, write in a journal, write--it's a good way to get the gunk out. And talk. And if you're working and your health insurance is good enough, think about getting some counseling and techniques to break that nasty rumination cycle with HIV the key player. It's possible you're propelled by anxiety and there are things like meditation, medication or both that help to cool that engine.

This August marks my 7th year. At times, I find I'm angry, or sad, or lonely or perfectly at peace, or laughing my ass off at something. Hmm. Sounds like life pre-diagnosis except I had far less anxiety and anger. I'd like to date, I'd like to fall in love again...hell, I would even consider marrying again if the situation were right. It would be nice to be a partner, but a good life can still be lived as a single person. I haven't lost my optimism, it just gets rocked slightly every so often. I'm getting better at managing my thoughts, my thinking. Most of this happens in the head rather than the blood, in my opinion.

Like Skeebo, I've had some things turn around. I adopted a great kid, I love being a mom and have loved letting her life transform mine---it demands that I wake up, grow up, be up. A technique called NET administered by a psychologist, periodic acupuncture, walking, eating and trying to get enough sleep factor into how I feel and staying in touch with family and a few friends are essential.

Make sure you are still doing some things you love...whether that's listening to music, creating art, cooking, or if you don't have something in the category of hobby or passion, see if there's something you'd like to do or read or try.

Oh yes, as tonight is my TV comedy night...I highly recommend watching as much comedy as possible and hang out with people who have a sense of humor and use it.

Em

Offline ElZorro

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  • Posts: 535
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2010, 11:00:01 PM »
Excellent advice, Em, and thanks.

And, I know you're right: I do need to "get the gunk out". Just venting a little today has been very therapeutic for me. I suspect I will be doing more and more of that in the upcoming days/weeks.

I haven't figured out how, yet, but I'm going to take back control of my life and get back to the pre-HIV me. Aside from this frickin' bug, I've got the best life anyone could want and am a pretty decent catch  ;) 

I think I have to get back to recognizing that and begin to focus on the positive aspects of my life rather than just on "being positive".

Not sure how, yet, but if you folks did it, I can too!   :P

Offline JJ80909

  • Member
  • Posts: 21
  • April 1, 2010
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2010, 11:39:55 PM »
ElZorro, what you have posted and expressed is what I have been going through, although I have only been Poz for a few months.  Thank you for writing what I could not express.

To the rest of the folks, thanks for comments and your experiences.  As I hope El Zorro is trying to apply them and cope, I am too.  I have found these boards useful to read your experiences and realize I am not going through anything new.  The hard part is self acceptance and application.

El Zorro, I also found the local support group helpful and they have flexible programs.  Maybe your local one has other options for you to consider?
April 1, 2010: Confirmed Poz
March 2010:  VL at 217,455
May 2010:  CD4 at 190, waiting genome testing
May 2010: Started Bactrim and Atripla
July 2010:  CD4 at 270; VL is undetectable
Nov 2010:  CD4 at 245; VL is UD
Nov 2010:  Switched from Atripla to Truvada, Prezista and Novair
Jan 2011:  CD4 at 294; VL is UD

Offline ga1964

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  • Posts: 188
Re: Can't stop dwelling on being HIV+
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2010, 02:23:09 AM »
ElZorro,

When I read your post it took me back to my 1st year.  HIV consumed my life and still does to a large degree.  I'm just over 3yrs. since diagnosis and during my 1st year I would see the letters HIV in everything like they were in bold print.  From books, signs, TV, car tags.  No matter where I looked there were always those 3 letters in front of me, like when you buy a new car and all of a sudden you notice how many cars like yours are actually on the roads.

As for how long it last, I don't know.  I'm sure its different for everyone.  I still see the letters HIV in everyday things, but not in bold print.  I guess you could say that's progress.  The one thing that has saved me from doing some pretty stupid things, are the people here that opened their hearts to listen when I felt all alone.  The first lesson I learned was how caring and compassionate the people here are. I also had to learn that it is OK for me to vent and ask for advice and guidance.  I've never been good about asking for help. 

The great thing about the forums, is that there is always someone here to talk to and let the feelings out.  Sometimes it helps me just to type out what is going on in my mind, like putting it here takes it out of my head, at least for a while.

Welcome to the forums and I hope your journey in life with HIV is a peaceful one.  For me, I am now on an antidepressant, in fact, I am starting on a new one this week.  Dr. said it would be a trial & error process.  This will be my 3rd one.  I wonder what the new side effects will be with this one.  I do remember reading something about spontaneous erections.  No lie, I swear it was listed as a possable side effect.  Who knows, life might just be about to get really interesting after all. 

The most important thing I have learned over the past 3yrs., is that its OK to ask for help if you start feeling over whelmed by it all.  I know I have a long journey ahead, but I had to take the first step.

Good luck and God bless.   


 


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