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Author Topic: Reaching out  (Read 1575 times)

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Offline Reaching_out

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
Reaching out
« on: September 22, 2012, 12:29:53 PM »
On May 23rd 2012 I was diagnosed as positive. The technical bit - CD4 of 1292, VL of 47,000.  Subsequent bloods in August showed my CD4 at 1092.  I have a HIV clinic nearby - the Dr and Health Advisor have both been great in the few times I have met with them and my Dr has recommended I leave it 6 months before having more bloods done given my CD4 count being relatively high. 

Itís been difficult to pinpoint when I was infected - the last test I had was about 8 years ago and over the last few years in particular I have been engaging in increasingly more frequent unprotected sex with a number of regular and not so regular male partners - probably up to about 12 of them, though memories periodically arise adding to this figure   - with me being the bottom.

Following the horrendous anxiety waiting in the limbo of uncertainty of deciding to get tested, testing and getting the result, my initial reaction to the result surprised me. 

I took it as a wake up call, as a signal to start looking after myself better and felt a real sense of focus on this.  This lasted about 2 or 3 weeks.  In that time, I shared the news with my therapist and a very close and trusted friend - both of whom have been very supportive.

However subsequently I have spiraled into a pretty dark place where Iíve withdrawn from friends, including the one that I have shared my diagnosis with, and begun using drink and drugs (cocaine) on a regular basis - the worst bit of this is me doing this locked away from the world in my flat. 

Iím not looking after myself particularly well - the gym and regular exercise have gone out the window, my diet is pretty atrocious at the moment and my flat - well, Iíd be ashamed to have any visitors around at the moment as itís in a mess. One positive is that I have not been sexually reckless - though I suspect I have become more sexually anorexic but Iím OK with that at the moment

Iíll be honest with you, these kinds of destructive behaviours arenít new to me but they are more extreme than they have ever been before.  I have periodic episodes of depression - have done since I was a kid - and compulsive/addictive tendencies.  Iíve worked hard on my mental health for about 7 or 8 years now with a therapist and thought I had formed some sort of stability within myself.  I seem to have gone to pieces though and all these behaviours do is help me avoid my emotions and damage my health.

I struggle to reach out and ask for help - always have - even though rationally I know thats what I have to do if I want to get out of this space.  I went along to a Positive Mens group in London a few months ago but didnít go back even though the guys I met there were very welcoming and supportive.

I arranged to meet with a local HIV support worker last week but cancelled and went on a binge instead.  Even my work - which is such an important thing for me - is suffering.  Going in with hangovers, taking days off giving dubious reasons as Iíve maxed out my sick leave for the year and have not worked out whether or not to disclose to them.  Ironically I work in mental health services. 

So Iím posting on here in an attempt to begin reaching out - I feel like Iím living a pretty secretive life at the moment and struggling to let people in my life know how bad things have gotten.  Iím figuring that, even in an anonymous way, this is a way of starting to do that.

Thanks for reading

Offline Jmarksto

  • Member
  • Posts: 468
Re: Reaching out
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2012, 01:32:45 PM »
Reaching Out;

I am sorry you need to be here, but welcome to the forums. 

As I read or your situation there were a few things that resonated for me.  The first is the feeling of isolation - I think most of us go through that, I certainly have and to some degree still am.  The other thing is feeling sexually anorexic -- I wouldn't have thought of using that word, but I know exactly what you mean. These feelings of isolation, sexual anorexia, etc. can very easily send us to very dark places.  The value that this forum has brought me is the understanding that I am really not alone -- there are lots of folks in a similar situation as I am, dealing with many of the same issues, in many cases with similar backgrounds.

The good news is that you know you need support and you have the support available through your friend, counselor, support group, and here.  It sounds like you know what the issues are and what you need to do -- you are light years ahead of many people struggling.  I wish I had some magic words that would make things better -- but just know that you are welcome here.

I wish you well,
JM

03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline wolfter

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,375
Re: Reaching out
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 07:04:14 AM »
Welcome to the forums.  Sorry you're dealing with all this mental chaos and I hope we can help you work through some of it.  Keep on posting and we'll try to help all we can.

Wolfie
productivity breeds content

Offline Reaching_out

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: Reaching out
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 08:13:30 AM »
Thanks JM & Wolfie

I have never used or posted on online forums before and in doing so, one of my fears was to get no response - so it was good for me to hear from you. 

Like I said these behaviours are not new to me and is a default position for me to deal with stress - overspending, overeating, isolating, drugging, drinking but they seem particularly prolonged and more extreme than they have been before.  They seem particularly destructive to me this time around as well given my diagnosis and the need for me to look after myself if I want to maintain my health - both physical and mental.

I think that part of it is my reaction to feeling overwhelmed by all the questions and emotions that my diagnosis has brought up for me and wanting to shut them out and doing it in the only way I know how.

I find it hard when I am overwhelmed to pick things apart and answer or explore only one or two things at a time - make it manageable.  I put pressure on myself to cope and give the impression of coping and expect myself to deal with everything all in one hit (rationally impossible!!).  Anything less and I have failed.  I also expect myself to cope alone with little or no outside help. 

I'm trying to change this, hence posting on here and will try my best to be open to any help and suggestions offered.

Once again thanks for your replies - meant a lot to me and have made me feel a bit more connected

RO


Offline Reaching_out

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: Reaching out
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2012, 08:28:10 AM »
And thanks for the PM Karry - can't respond to PM's as yet

Offline Jmarksto

  • Member
  • Posts: 468
Re: Reaching out
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2012, 12:45:36 PM »
Reaching Out;

These forums are my first on-line community experience too - it has definitely helped me.  Part of the help I have had is knowing I am not alone in some of these struggles and hearing how others have been through this and are living healthy, happy lives.  Along those lines, the "Rehab" post on the "Living With.." forum may be of interest if you haven't already read it - I know it is a very different situation although some of the responses may resonate.

JM
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

 


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