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

Advice to Avoid Withdrawal/Depression

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Hey guys,

As I sit here, thinking about how close my life was to becoming so wonderful until it spiraled out of control within the same exact week, I get a little upset. To start, my partner of 4 years and I had decided on a new place to live in March, as we acquired two amazing jobs starting just a week apart from each other that together would make our lives almost perfect. The jobs are/were in line with our career goals, including health benefits, convenience, and a great start to where we want to be ultimately with our college degrees. (We are in our 20's)

So, judging from my other posts, you can see that my partner became seriously ill a week before I started my present job and was expected to die, as we both found out we were positive. Fast forward to today, he is progressing but lost his hearing completely, is visually impaired but can definitely still see, and is disabled. I was hurting the entire time, dealing with his family, not to know what to expect, and of course living alone. So I feel like I set myself back majorly b/c I dipped back into recreational drug use, that I had given up for so long so that our lives could work together (4 years ago while in college was when I first experimented with drugs).

I still work full-time at the employer that I want to be with, but now commute over an hour to get there, since we were unable to move due to this circumstance. Additionally, I am his primary care taker and although appreciative that my employer is understanding and allows me to take off to assist my partner, I have just hit an ultimate low. During the time of his hospitalization, I started seeing my friends from high school and others I know that partake in drug use, such as heroin, painkillers, and crack cocaine. And although I've experienced them all, since he has been home and I have been dealing with a terrible commute, and truly wanting to be with my partner more to assist him with getting his hearing back, I have been unable to let painkillers out of my life for good.

While the whole situation has me financially tight, spending at least $100 a week to obtain painkillers for the high just sickens me. I just feel like it is helping me get through these hard times, allowing time to fly and me to keep doing what I'm doing. But it also takes a bite from my wallet and I just want to let it go.

As I am working full-time and career-driven, I do not anticipate taking off work to get "help" with this drug abuse, but I do want suggestions as to what I should do. I just begun to dip into my savings to support the habit, but know that it is not what I want to do. My ID doctor has prescribe antidepressant, Lexapro, to assist with the tough times but I have heard bad things about it and the one time I took it I just got tired and it was during my workshift. He also prescribed Xanax, but I am not so sure it will given me the same increase in energy to get me through these times.

I am just looking for suggestions, positive energy, and advice that can be provided to help me avoid going through a withdrawal or depression stage when choosing to stop this on my own. Please anyone, I need your advice. I can't go through depression or heightened emotions as I still have tons of things to do (the anticipation to get my partner's hearing back, working productively at my employer, etc.) and really need advice as to get through this the easiest way possible. Thank you so much.


Sorry to hear about the trials you are going through. 

I am sending you positive energy and good vibes.

I am also struck by how you outlined your situation as it shows you have a good head on your shoulders.

As challenging as the situation is with your partner, you are fortunate in that you have the job you had hoped for and your employer is willing to work you and allow time off to care for your partner. 

The stress, however, is difficult and your foray into drug use, as you must know, will dilute your efforts to cope.

Since your employer appears flexible, do they also have an EAP (employee assistance program) for you to get mental and addiction counseling?

These are just a few things that come to my mind.  Other Board members may chime in with even more substantive advice.

Just know that you are not alone. 

I wish you and your partner the best.

Please keep us updated on how things go.

Take care.

Wow Shoreboy, Lot of things on your shoulders there. My heart goes out to you.

You are already a step ahead of everything by realizing the painkillers have gone to far. It's good you realize that. As Tampa says, you ahve a good head on your shoudlers.

Im with Tampa on trying to get some kind of cousneling, I realize it is going to be tough with everything you ahve to do. But is there any way you can squeeze in at least an hour a week? I truly think this would benefit you the most.

I cant really comment on LExapro or the Xanaz, but it seems like the Xanax might make you more tired. Maybe we can get some better input form others on that, or what you might be able to take to help you out.

It sounds liek you are really a Saint by doing all you do. I'm sending prayers and good thoughts your way.

Hang in there and keep us posted.


Hey buddy

I have followed your posts and first off I want to say that I think you are amazing. With the bottom pulled out from right beneath you, YOU have been constant in keeping love, hope and care alive. In the very weakest of moments, you have been and continue to be so incredibly strong for your partner and your own life jolting diagnosis.

So my first impression of your post is to say, be gentle with yourself. You have been and still journey through an incredible trauma that most would have crumbled long ago. No wonder you have yearned to escape from it, albeit for a moment in a not-so-healthy way, yiu got to give yourself some slack here. The mind and soul can only take so much and you have had your fill!

I've been on Lexapro for a decade and can tell you it does work, but you've got to give it time (4-6 weeks) before it really does its job. Hang in there with it as it really makes a huge difference; especially in the anti-anxiety domain.

In the meantime, you may want to check out some mindfulness body stress reduction techniques. Again, it has done wonders for me. Google MBSR and I'm sure you will find tons.

Again, be gentle with yourself ... as gentle as you have been to others. You're awesome.

Wow. You stirred up a ton of old memories for me, mostly pre-HIV.

Glad Cojo shared his experience with Lexapro -- if you've not shared your painkiller addiction with your ID doc, I encourage you to do so. It seems as if you have, but I'm not 100% sure. I'd be less inclined to use EAP so early in your new job. Just my own protectiveness popping through.

Working full-time at a new job, with a lengthy commute and caring for a sick partner and still new in your own diagnosis is the epitome of a stress volcano. And, it's already begun to blow, you're just keeping it tamped down with painkillers.

So fess fully with the doc and figure out, even if it means hiring a nurse part-time or someone to help with your partner, how to put yourself first. There's advice from a group I know of which asserts basically...take care of yourself first so you can be available for others. If you dissolve, your partner will have compounded losses.

Can you get into an NA group and twelve-step your way through this? You could start engaging relief and accountability from a free support group away from your employer immediately.

Probably the hardest thing you need to do is put yourself first. My partner died of cancer. I worked full-time and cared for him after work and it was so easy to kill my pain by dipping into his meds. So, I do understand the incredible, bone marrow sucking grind you are in right now and the intensity of love that fuels care of someone. It is easy to grind yourself to dust and sacrifice the very health you need to keep the job to buy the groceries to have the insurance to put gas in the car to lie down and start it all over the next day.

Yes, there's no doubt you've got a good head on your shoulders, but it's just not firing on all the cylinders available right now.

You first, no guilt. You first and things will get done and other avenues of support will open up to you. Imagine yourself in your partner's position and imagine him in yours. You would not want him to implode, would you?

I hope this finds you in a good spot. Get enough sleep. Get the drug issue figured out pronto, the legal ones vs the ones you should not be taking. Yep, the psychotropic drugs sometimes demand adjustment time, but you can do that, hell yes, you can do this.



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