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

A roller coaster ride.....

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I hear all that.

Sounds like you need to start finding people to talk to in both the countries that matter for the moment - that is yours, and South Africa, too, right?

Not being sure about what kind of care is going to be available is incredibly stressful.  The best thing would be to find out the facts. Then you can make sure to be making decisions and plans to be in the right place in the right situation, the best possible, when the time comes you will need the meds.  Just find out how other people are managing. 

(For example, I had ALL SORTS of fears based on my American upbringing about what an HIV diagnosis could mean, but some of these didn't apply at ALL to my situation in Switzerland. But it was ingrained in me - that my finances and access to health care is precarious.  Even though in my life in Switzerland its much less precarious.   The Swiss people had to point out all my misunderstandings and useless fears, and several times, before I stopped panicking when i thought about it.)

So you don't need to tell your friends and family.  Are you training or studying away from your family?  That might help you to stay discrete, as that seems important for the moment.  But you probably do need to start talking to HIV+ people or any agencies that can inform you how it all works out in your present and future locations.

Just offering that as my suggestion, cause it helped me a lot to chill.

You are understandably sitting on a fence healthwise and emotionally. You should feel grateful that your immune system is dealing for the moment and that you know, and that you know so early in infection. 

Please don't let fears and anxiety about access to health care - which are completely human and normal - cloud your understanding of HIV the virus and hiv/aids "disease".  The treatment works -- medicine knows very well how to keep someone healthy and living a long life, with HIV. 

Your primary challenge may be to make sure you get the health care.

Thanks once again Mecch.

I've been speaking with doctor here about options and I'm in the process of upgrading my medical aid plan, so as  to cater for treatments and care i wld need via the private hospitals, i understand the drugs are subsidized and much cheaper at govt. Hospitals buh the services are usually crappy. So hopefully i have cover here.

I've search the web as regards information on care for people living with hiv back home and have a list of hospital where i can obtain care, buh like i said, things back home don't ever work as should, so I'm still skeptical about it.

I'm studying away from home, my folks are all in west africa and I'm here in south africa. i can't tell my friends atleast just yet cos i don't know how they would take it and who can keep my status private. i spend most. Of the time with them as it helps me take my mind off hiv,  however they are not in the know.

Thanks for this direct and challenging response Meech. Like the OP, I tend to allow my mind to really zone in on the catastrophic potentials (almost all beyond the capacity to happen) and live in dread and fear. I came out in the early 90's when the disease was much different and I shamefully admit, I never took the time to really pay attention to the advances and realities of the last two decades of science progress because HIV happened to the " other guy ".

I find I get most rattled when I read about someone who has died from the disease in these modern days. I am mindful of the fellow who is the activist who was 44 (I'm 45!) or the porn star Josh (?) who died at 39 a few weeks ago. I assume that they had aggravating circumstances that we will soon discover, but upon the news breaking, it send me to that place of deep fear.

I also find when my labs are coming up, all the potential what if's percolate. My last labs a few weeks ago had my numbers drop from 450 to 310... I am still trying to shake the anxiety that it has caused me albeit my doctor didn't seem concerned.

So as I started with, a big thanks for your insights and passing along a compassionate challenge. Any other strategies that you have used to keep a level head are always appreciated!

Joe K:
Hey Skycee & Cojo,

It's very normal to fear the unknown and the challenges of HIV are not for the faint of heart.  In a way, fear can be useful, but only as a caution, not a way of life.  I've been poz for 28 years and one way I control my anxiety is to gauge how I am doing, by how I am feeling physically and mentally.  Numbers and lab tests are merely indicators of your current health and there are many variables, such as the time when you get your labs drawn, that can create swings in numbers.

I suggest that when you begin to feel anxious, because that is what you are most probably experiencing, you stop, take five deep breaths and think about how you feel.  For over 20 years, my health looked horrible on paper, I'm talking like 10 CD4s, single digit percentage and a VL that could not be measured.  Yet here I am, which is due to luck, wonderful family and friends, incredible treatments and the understanding that I am not going to die today, tomorrow, nor the next day... at least not from HIV.

I urge you to do something, everyday, that you absolutely love.  Even if it's just for fifteen minutes, you must take time for yourself.  Try to live a relatively healthy lifestyle and don't forget to feed your mind as well as your spirit.  It also helps to remember that there are simply some things in life we have no control over and worrying about such things merely drains your soul.

I can't promise that life with HIV will be easy, but it doesn't have to be half as hard as you may think.  There's nothing wrong with the occasional fear about events in life, just be careful, to not let your fear, stop you from reaching for your dreams.

Always remember, you have HIV, HIV does not have you.


Thank you Joe for relating with our fears....and cojo feels just what I feel....

I am learning to live one day at a time, spend time with friends (though I feel selfish at times cod they don't know my status and I'm just feeding off their positive energy and vibe), feed myself positive thoughts no matter how hard it can be, eat healthy, get enough rest.....and still think of where I did be 5yrs-20yrs from now....yes I still believe I can be an airline pilot even with this cross I bare.

It will take awhile, buh i know I will get there, I will get to the point where I don't have to worry about every pain I feel as an indication that something is going wrong inside of me (just like the throbbing slight pain I feel just below my right rib cage and yeah its getting me worried). Buh all in all.....i will live and I will live healthy.

Thanks once again


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