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Author Topic: diagnosis as creating and/or worsening mental health problems  (Read 3800 times)

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Offline CalvinC

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  • Posts: 159

Hi all

I am wondering if anyone on line suffers from or lives with mental health issues prior to diagnosis, how that impacted your life or if diagnosis lead to an issue (depression, eg), and how you dealt with it

For example, I have lived with OCD for about 30 years and I have been on meds for it for about a good 14 years and will likely be so for the rest of my life. That doesn't bother me (so it makes me think that, should I ever need to go on meds for hiv, I can handle that too).

What is bothering me is that the stress of being newly diagnosed is finally coming home. For those of you that know my backstory, I was diagnosed about six weeks ago. Now, I think it is finally sinking in. I am also not reacting to "bad news" by going out and numbing myself, and my entire mental state has been thrown into upheaval. I'm managing, but barely. I've got great support (from doctors and friends etc), but I think I need to accelerate that.

I am wondering how other people on this list dealt with diagnosis if it either lead them into depresssion (eg) or simply exacerbated a pre-existing mental health issue.


Offline chrism1973

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Re: diagnosis as creating and/or worsening mental health problems
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2006, 04:59:14 PM »
           I was diagnosed as bi-polar at a young age.I have been on meds for that for years now.I was on HIV meds.and am now on a structured treatment interuption.That didn't affect my taking of my psych meds.When it becomes time for you to take your meds there is a great tool here to use.You can check your meds and get the interactions on this site.
Love yourself,love life and live.

Offline Christine

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Re: diagnosis as creating and/or worsening mental health problems
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2006, 05:15:43 PM »
I was diagnosed with depression, and anxiety at 19 which was regulated with medication, although at the time of my + diagnosis (26) I was not on depression meds. After my + diagnosis, the anxiety was almost intolerable. It took almost a year for me to figure out the stress from the diagnosis was making the anxiety and depression really bad. Once I started going to a therapist and psyche doctor it made dealing with the + a little easier. And the depression and anxiety became much better. One thing that has been a challenge is drug interactions. Some depression meds can really interact with the hiv meds.
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline Eldon

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Re: diagnosis as creating and/or worsening mental health problems
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2006, 05:57:32 PM »
Hi Andrew,

I agree with Chrstine in what she said about going to the therapist and seeing your psyche doctor. I do that on a monthly basis to control the anxiety that comes along with being diagnosed as HIV. I am told that HIV brings depression and it affects your mental state.

Just work on meditating and breathing excercises should help you. Focus on a project or a hobby that helps also.

Offline maddeuwch

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  • Posts: 66
  • Po callaf y dyn,anamlaf ei eiriau.
Re: diagnosis as creating and/or worsening mental health problems
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2006, 09:28:57 PM »
I have suffered from chronic depression and anxiety for years.I had managed last year to wean myself off Seroxat and went on to another drug called fluoxetine.Since my diagnosis on monday and other work/life related issues I have started back on the fluoxetine.It's only been a few days and of course I've had to start on a low dosage for a couple of weeks,but I'm hoping it will start to kick in quite soon as my anxiety levels are incredibly high at the moment....insomnia...heavy/numb limbs...feeling dizzy...my whole body seems to pulsate at times.

I'm so glad that you have a good social support with both doctors and friends.It helps.I have only been able to tell one friend but she has been to see me a couple of times and has been so supportive.

I must put down 'psyche therapy' in my notes to take next wednesday...thanks for reminding me :)
Po callaf y dyn,anamlaf ei eiriau...(i need to remember that sometimes)!

Offline Life

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  • Member 2005
Re: diagnosis as creating and/or worsening mental health problems
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2006, 10:12:02 PM »
Andy,  I have had ADD since the day I was born.   Depression is certainly in the mix.  And to top that off I am gay and a recovering alcoholic (sober now 11 years).  Now you would think with all these buttons being pushed including a impending operation on my husband, I would have fallen off a cliff or a wagon or something exciting, but I have not.   I am feeling all of this (as you poor guys have had to sift thru my grumblings).   Depression is certainly a natural part of the process.  Treatable yes.  Long term? Just depends on the persons make up.   I have been taking Paxil since my diagnosis 10 months ago 10mg (pretty much nothing) and it helps me from roominating or taking things out of proportion.  I still do, but that's just my f**cking ADD making things huuuuger than they really are.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2006, 10:13:48 PM by Eric »

Offline Robert

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Re: diagnosis as creating and/or worsening mental health problems
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2006, 11:44:20 PM »
Depression really gets to me.  I mean it's really, really deep.  Every morning I wake up and I just feel overwhelmed and indecisive and think dismal thoughts.  I have to literally force myself to my rowing machine. It's the last thing I want to do, and it's a chore doing it, but when I'm done, then I'm feeling better.  I feel like I can plan my day better.

But were it not for my prozac (fluoxetine) (20mg) I would be really in a fog.  It takes discipline and support.  It sounds like you have some of both. 

good luck...robt

Offline CalvinC

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  • Posts: 159
Re: diagnosis as creating and/or worsening mental health problems
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2006, 04:49:39 PM »


Great to read all the feedback and know I am not alone.

And this "aloneness", I think, is key. The more I am around others, the better I feel. Of course, this initially grated on me as I am not gregarious by nature, but hiv has forced me to be more social and friendly, in instances wherein I would just walk away. My meds are a blessing; I would be so lost without them. I'm a big believer in psychopharmacology. The problem is often, I find, that there's too much information on here and elsewhere to digest sometimes; already, I am planning a vacation away from the 'net. But, still, this is a great site for knowing that we all suffer in various ways, but that we are all fighting to stay afloat too.


Offline Moffie65

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  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: diagnosis as creating and/or worsening mental health problems
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2006, 05:21:31 PM »
OK, Andrew.

I have been "digesting" this thread and have come up with an example that might help all to simplify this confusion about mental health and HIV.  I used this illustration on the Administrator of the HIV Department in New Mexico, to illustrate this exact thing.  I did  it 10 years ago in advocating for comprehensive Mental Health Services to ALL HIV infected people in the state.

I was talking to him on the phone and told him this.

"You live in Albuquerque, do you not?"  'Yes'  "So that you will understand the absolute emptiness that overwhelms you, when you are diagnosed with a Terminal Illness; imagine if you will, you are on your way to the office in Santa Fe, which is 60 miles north on Interstate Highway 25.  One day this week, you are going to be killed in a huge and bloody accident on the freeway.  That is all you get, no more information other than that sometime this week, your wife and family will not ever see you again, because your body is going to be so torn up that you will not have an open casket"  'Silence'  "Now, I have a question for you; do you need mental health counseling today, or should you just go home and think about it and let it stew on your brain until you go crazy with the possibilities".

From that day forward, the whole mental health program in the state was completely revamped to give anyone being diagnosed the choice of on site counseling in your home, on demand.  I have no idea if 10 years later this is the way it still works there, but it worked well for the rest of the time I was there.  I hope this example is not too obtuse, but for real, everyone being given a "Death Sentence" diagnosis of any kind, should be encouraged to seek therapy.  It is one way to accelerate our Mental Healing and help order things so we can keep moving forward and not get bogged down in process.

In Love and Support.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Joe K

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  • Member
  • Posts: 5,820
  • 31 Years Poz
Re: diagnosis as creating and/or worsening mental health problems
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2006, 05:52:53 PM »
Hey Andrew,

I had depression long before HIV and since infection it is REALLY FUCKING AWFUL.  I'm not trying to scare you but illustrate how depression can affect us all differently.  What I suggest is you start with your ID doc and rule out any medical issues that may be causing you problems.  Then you need to get yourself evaluated by both a psychiatrist and a therapist.

The psychiatrist will ask you to describe your issues and then discuss possible medications with you.  I strongly encourage you to actively participate in this and realize that some meds can take weeks to take effect and it's not uncommon to have to try 2 or 3 drugs, until you find one that works.  The main reason that you need meds would be that for any therapy to work, there has to be a balance in brain chemicals to allow the therapy to take place.  I'm not a doctor and that's a sloppy explanation, but I think you get the point.  If you need anti-depressents and don't get them, then it is doubtful that any subsequent therapy would be effective.  Again, this is my opinon only, plus 25 years of living in the Cuckoos Nest.

Same thing with the therapist.  Commit to a few sessions and see what you think.  But don't plan to just observe, because you will only get from therapy, what you are willing to put into it.  It can be frustrating, scary and totally thought provoking.  It can help you to recognize behaviors and how to change the less desirable ones.  It can teach you tools for coping that will last a lifetime.  It can illustrate how many of your feelings are normal and healthy and help you to understand this process you are undergoing, since becoming positive.

I suspect you already know what you are going to do, you just need some validation.  Andrew, the bottom line always remains that only you can decide on what is right for you.  If you don't like how you feel or respond to your reality and you believe there is something out of balance, then take advantage of the help that that is there for the asking.

The reason that you need to take action now is so that you don't sink further into depression (or any other disorder), to the point where you no longer care to get any help.  It can happen quicker than you think.  Talk with someone and get some opinions.  You will know if they understand your circumstances and when you do, you will be more inclined to trust their advice.

Certainly your mental health is worth that investment.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2006, 06:01:03 PM by killfoile »


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