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Author Topic: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!  (Read 3856 times)

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Offline Newguy

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Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« on: June 03, 2012, 03:10:57 PM »
Greetings to everyone!

First off a little bit about myself. I am in my midthirties and have for the better part of the last decade been taking serious risks. From gambling to smoking to sex (no drugs, although I did briefly experiment but found out it was not for me). Anyhow I am tired of living like this so I quit all the bad habits except sex. I have been clean from the smoking and gambling for over five years and now I have received the dreaded diagnosis that I knew was coming. I tested HIV positive about two months ago along with a syphilis infection. So needless to say the last two months have been a rollercoaster of emotion but it hasn't been all that bad. I found out while I was enrolled in three courses from University. (I already have a few degrees but I like taking courses because they balance the darker side of my life) At one point I was so depressed in bed before the exams I was considering not writing them but I decided that would be me losing to this fucking virus so wrote them and DID VERY WELL, even though I had a full blown panic attack trying to figure anti derivatives I managed to get the second highest in the class. Also, I interviewed for a job and eventually got it which I started last week. It is not what I want to be but during times like these it is better than nothing and they provide full benefits. I also am scheduled to start a Masters program in Sept barring the students in Quebec do not cancel the academic year. So here is my question? Although the last two months have been greatly productive it has been the case because I am drowning out the HIV reality. Is this good or bad? Can I keep this up? I am not angry or sad but I am scared of getting sick? I saw the ID doctor for my first consult two weeks ago and I get baseline results on the 20th of June. I need some guidance here. Although no one can predict the future am I being dangerously optimistic with what my expectations are living with HIV? Public health seems to treat me like I am marginalized referring me to disability programs and this and that. I can understand their compassion but it is getting on my nerves a bit. I know there are long term survivors who had to endure first generation meds but things have improved. Everyone is different and their bodies react accordingly. But since this diagnosis I have been playing by the book, eating amazingly well, working out, getting rest and keeping busy. I have also gained 28 pounds since I found out because I got scared of being too thin so I gorged on food for the past month but I have toned it down since I reached my ideal weight. Any insights, comments would be greatly appreciated! A very emotionally mixed Newguy

Offline Ann

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Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012, 06:11:54 AM »
Hi Newguy, welcome to the forums.

The last thing you want to do is give up on your dreams. Go for your Masters. Why not? You're healthy and you're likely to stay that way for a long time yet.

We all have different ways of coping with diagnosis - and keeping yourself productively busy is a good one. You're not ignoring your virus, so it's all good.

Onward and upward. You're going to be ok!

BTW, as long as you're asking for advice, may I ask you to please cut your posts up into more manageable paragraphs? It's difficult to read people's posts when they're presented as a wall of text (it makes your eyes cross and the text dances).

You want people to be able to read what you have to say, and on the internet, short paragraphs are the way to achieve that, trust me. :)

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Lad_Liam

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Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 01:16:00 PM »
Hi Newguy,
Sorry to hear you've tested poz, but welcome to the forums. They are great.

I hear you say that you're deliberately being busy to drown out the HIV reality since your diagnosis. That sounds like a normal way to handle it for some peeps. Worked for me for about 2 weeks but then I found I needed to dedicate some time and energy to getting my head around this. Plus get the health, lifestyle and medical needs sorted etc.  Personally, I couldn't keep up the drowning it out.


I needed to understand it so it stopped needing drowning out. It sounds like you're getting to that point too?

The panic and fears and your behavioural changes, e.g. big eating/body gain phase, also sound familiar to me. But Panic isn't a response that was designed to be sustained. 

Also panic isn't necessarily informed by relevant information. These resources below helped my panic be a bit more usefully directed to begin to manage this situation. Also, to confirm that there are well-established and sucessfull ways to treat this.

click on HIV basics, elsewhere on this very poz.com site
http://www.poz.com/newly_diagnosed.shtml

The  'Day One' brochure is good, by Project Inform. It's part 1/3.  (brochures 2 and 3 look at treatment.)
http://www.projectinform.org/pdf/dayone.pdf

AFAO's 'Next Steps' brochure is also made for the newly diagnosed.
http://www.afao.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/4709/NextSteps.pdf



You're not alone and you've made your way to a great, smart and strong site full of informed and generous folk. Clever man. You are doing great already, and have already demonstrated you can make the changes yourself you want in your life. I reckon you will do really well handling this new change too.


I really liked your post by the way, nicely written and honest. Cheers,
Liam


a new dark passenger joins the ride

Offline sshortguy1

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Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 03:33:13 PM »
newguy,  i'm sorry that you got tested positive but you are here , i was like you thinking what the odds of dying from it ? luckily i have friends thati know personally  have hiv 10 yrs longer than me  they are doing good. life will still continue as long as you take care of yourself and take your medication as prescribed you will live a long and healthy life.

Offline Newguy

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  • Posts: 127
Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2012, 04:37:27 PM »
First off thanks to all who replied.

Ann I want to thank you for your advice to chunk my postings so they are easier on the eyes.

Lad Liam thanks for your kind words regarding my post.  Although I have managed the last two months fairly well, it does creep into my thoughts and can bring on panic. The reason I will continue to look upward and onward is because I  do not want to exacerbate my condition. Although I feel this wont be easy I think it is totally doable.

There are some things that I still haven't sorted out yet. The big one is SEX! I am gay and I love homo sex! But since I suspected something might have been wrong I have been celibate. That has been since DEC 31 2011! And to be honest although I miss the random hookups it is a bit liberating not being consumed by the need to constantly hook up. Perhaps there is a underlying mental health issue there but I do not care to find out. Like Ann said upward and onward. I do know that I have to be a bit more careful when I do the random hookups now because I need to disclose status.

Another thing on my mind is the reality of being rejected by someone because I have HIV. Although rejection sucks for whatever reason it is that you are being rejected, there are millions of people living with this infection that I am sure are looking for love or trying to start a life with someone. The pool of qualified candidates is plenty so the rejection issue I think I have mentally coped with.

The final two issues are starting treatment and non-sexual disclosure. Treatment when I think about it causes me serious panic! I do not know why but I almost freak out thinking that I have to take medicine everyday forever. However, my good friend told me that there is a very good possibility that it wont be for the rest of your life because of medical advances and new technologies.

And finally non-sexual disclosure is my last issue. I have told my sister and three of my closest friends. THAT IS IT! I do not feel I have to tell anyone else (except possible sexual contacts) I love my my parents so much that they  WILL NEVER KNOW about my condition because they would be crushed. I feel guilty about this but I do not know why. Should I play by the rules (according to my ID specialist) everything SHOULD BE OK. The way I see it is I have an infection and there is no reason for them to know unless of course things ever get extremely dire.

I apologize for the long post but I never realized how therapeutic it is to write on these things and read people's responses. When I do get scared I come on here and I end up feeling much better. On a final note I am trying to put in to perspective what this means to me being gay and having HIV. Although I am not proud or ashamed to have HIV, I simply accept that my desire for men is very powerful and outweighed the safe sex message. (Although I did play safely most of the time but that is irrelevant now).

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 05:23:06 PM »
First off thanks to all who replied.

Ann I want to thank you for your advice to chunk my postings so they are easier on the eyes.

Lad Liam thanks for your kind words regarding my post.  Although I have managed the last two months fairly well, it does creep into my thoughts and can bring on panic. The reason I will continue to look upward and onward is because I  do not want to exacerbate my condition. Although I feel this wont be easy I think it is totally doable.

There are some things that I still haven't sorted out yet. The big one is SEX! I am gay and I love homo sex! But since I suspected something might have been wrong I have been celibate. That has been since DEC 31 2011! And to be honest although I miss the random hookups it is a bit liberating not being consumed by the need to constantly hook up. Perhaps there is a underlying mental health issue there but I do not care to find out. Like Ann said upward and onward. I do know that I have to be a bit more careful when I do the random hookups now because I need to disclose status.

Another thing on my mind is the reality of being rejected by someone because I have HIV. Although rejection sucks for whatever reason it is that you are being rejected, there are millions of people living with this infection that I am sure are looking for love or trying to start a life with someone. The pool of qualified candidates is plenty so the rejection issue I think I have mentally coped with.

The final two issues are starting treatment and non-sexual disclosure. Treatment when I think about it causes me serious panic! I do not know why but I almost freak out thinking that I have to take medicine everyday forever. However, my good friend told me that there is a very good possibility that it wont be for the rest of your life because of medical advances and new technologies.

And finally non-sexual disclosure is my last issue. I have told my sister and three of my closest friends. THAT IS IT! I do not feel I have to tell anyone else (except possible sexual contacts) I love my my parents so much that they  WILL NEVER KNOW about my condition because they would be crushed. I feel guilty about this but I do not know why. Should I play by the rules (according to my ID specialist) everything SHOULD BE OK. The way I see it is I have an infection and there is no reason for them to know unless of course things ever get extremely dire.

I apologize for the long post but I never realized how therapeutic it is to write on these things and read people's responses. When I do get scared I come on here and I end up feeling much better. On a final note I am trying to put in to perspective what this means to me being gay and having HIV. Although I am not proud or ashamed to have HIV, I simply accept that my desire for men is very powerful and outweighed the safe sex message. (Although I did play safely most of the time but that is irrelevant now).

One thought: making hard and fast rules such as WILL NEVER KNOW can seem like a good idea now but you'll find as time goes on that such rules are very hard to keep and often not worth the effort.

If your parents had to find out, who would you rather they learn it from -- you or one of the four people you've told already? Moreover how would you like them to learn about it -- in circumstances you control or an intensive card ward at your local hospital?

Don't give up your ability to control who finds out and how.

MtD

Offline Newguy

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Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 06:02:47 PM »
To Matty the Damned

Thanks for the reply. Although, I agree with your comment regarding keeping hard and fast rules is it unreasonable to expect to never getting sick because of HIV if you keep all medical appointments and monitor your health? I mean I understand NO ONE knows the future but from the very limited research I have done it seems that HIV is manageable with treatment and proper care. From what I read people who find out late in their infection can potentially end up in the hospital? Please provide some insight into ending up in a hospital care ward. I totally agree that no one knows the future but I am under the impression that should you maintain a good relationship with your doctor and stick to treatment, you have a fighting chance at a somewhat decent quality of life?

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 06:59:35 PM »
To Matty the Damned

Thanks for the reply. Although, I agree with your comment regarding keeping hard and fast rules is it unreasonable to expect to never getting sick because of HIV if you keep all medical appointments and monitor your health? I mean I understand NO ONE knows the future but from the very limited research I have done it seems that HIV is manageable with treatment and proper care. From what I read people who find out late in their infection can potentially end up in the hospital? Please provide some insight into ending up in a hospital care ward. I totally agree that no one knows the future but I am under the impression that should you maintain a good relationship with your doctor and stick to treatment, you have a fighting chance at a somewhat decent quality of life?

No love, I'm not saying you're going to get sick. Your observations about HIV treatment in developed countries are quite correct.

I was not as clear as I should have been, perhaps.

Being diagnosed with HIV is a big deal and leaves a body feeling as if he is no longer in control of his life. So it's natural that you feel the need to keep your status a secret, telling only a few intimates and so on. I understand that your desire to keep this news from parents is about not hurting them. This means you are a good son, you love them and want to protect them.

But experience has taught me that once you've told one person that you have HIV, your status is, in reality, no longer a secret. These things have a way of getting out.

Be aware of this. Also, be aware of the value of that comes from you being the one who discloses your HIV status.

I've found having control over one's life is about accepting that things will not always go as one might otherwise have wished.

Regards,

MtD

Offline Newguy

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Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2012, 07:29:53 PM »
Thanks Matty

The disclosure of HIV is a tough one I do agree, not only to potential sex partners but also to people that you care about and who care about you. Dealing with the physiology of HIV seems MUCH EASIER (And I am not downplaying the significance of HIV infection) than the social aspect of it? Do others feel this way or is it just me?

Once again Matty the Damned I appreciate your reply and I am beginning to feel what you describe in the post regarding that it is best if I do the disclosing.

I feel this site will indeed be part of my treatment regimen.

Best

Newguy


Offline Joe K

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Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 07:40:05 PM »
Hey Newguy,

Being a parent myself, the greatest fear we have, is that our children would not come to us in times of need.  The idea that my daughter, would not feel comfortable coming to me with news like this, would break my heart.  When we have children, we accept that they will become their own persons, however, we surround them with our unconditional love for life.

Please do not underestimate the love your parents have for you.  Yes it will be a shock and they will need some time to adjust, just like you do, but they will be there for you.  You also have no right to deny them the opportunity to do what parents do best, love you, for who you are.

It won't be easy for any of you and that's what family does best.  Trust your instincts and assuming they have been good parents, they won't love you any less and they will be grateful that you came to them, in your time of need.

Welcome to the forums.

Joe

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2012, 07:58:08 PM »
Once again Matty the Damned I appreciate your reply and I am beginning to feel what you describe in the post regarding that it is best if I do the disclosing.

I feel this site will indeed be part of my treatment regimen.


This is precisely what I mean. How and to whom you disclose is, of course, a matter for you.

Just be mindful that when you disclose may not always be in keeping with the timetable you have set.

Also Brother Killfoile gives excellent advice about parents. He is wise in these matters.

:)

MtD

Offline Lad_Liam

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Re: Help! Mixed emotions on newly being infected!
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2012, 01:37:32 PM »
Hmmm, Fark.. The last few posts make me think. Great points, Killfoile and Matty the Damned. Cheers all.
a new dark passenger joins the ride

 


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