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Avatar universal

rational depression?

I found out 6 months ago that I was HIV positive.  The news came as a complete shock to me as I have had very few sex partners and always had safe sex.  Since I found out, I had be incredibly sad and indescribably lonely.  I've been forced to change career paths (the one I had dreamt of my entire life requires a medical clearance), I can't bear going out, and I cry virtually all day long.  I moved across the country about 4 months before I found out and I have had no one to talk to (besides a few people I met online).  I am just in such a low place in my life... but I think for very legitimate and rational reasons.

I am very averse to taking any kind of medication because I was generally a very happy person before I found out this absolutely horrible news.  Is there something like rational depression?  I can't fathom what a therapist might be able to tell or prescribe me to alter the reality of my life's circumstances now...
18 Responses
424549 tn?1308519102
I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis. It must be really shocking to get such news, having lived as you say: A low-risk life.

Moving, that's always difficult. Some are outgoing and make a whole lot of friends, through work, through neighbors, through this and that... etc!

This is a very rational depression. You're facing a whole lot of phases having your diagnose. First, you have the phase of shock, then I believe it is the same as with loosing someone: You bargain, you deny, you ignore, you accept... All in all, you're looking at how to make life work even with your diagnose. I don't know much about how it is to live with HIV. The worst that's happened to me was to adapt to life, which also gave a "rational depression" - the arguements and the thoughts. Had to let the emotions to even start allowing myself to react!

A therapist - not as in psychiatrist (who's the only one who should prescribe you any meds at all) - could be of good help for you if it gets too tough to find a way to adapt to this experience. I'm so glad that you have found this forum. You have the journal option too, to figure our your thoughts. You can change the privacy there to "only me" as in who can read.

Allow me to give you what I read in your message: A totally explainable rational depression based on what you have met now in life with your diagnose, and in having an illness that makes you go through the grief-phases - everything from understandning the why's, up to adjusting to HIV.

Do what you have to do for this - online support groups, offline support groups, someone to talk to online and offline - it could be a pastor or a friend or just... anyone who can be a good listener! (It's fully possible that the guy who runs a pub at the other side of the street would be a great listener as well as a man with high education and high rates pr 10-minute counseling session).

I hope you find some great contacts here. Good luck!
Avatar universal
I think you're describing what I called "situational" depression. In other words, caused by real life events as opposed to chemical imbalances or etceteras. Does HIV positive mean "AIDS", or just the chance of it? I'm not too bright.

Whichever, and whatever the cause of anyone's "rational" depression, I have to say two things: 1. You never know what tomorrow may bring. Prepare for any eventuality, but anticipate the best, and 2. We're all alotted a certain number of years. Whatever remains at any time shouldn't be spent in worry and in despair. Each and every one of us is going away somewhere some day, and this life will only be a memory (if we still exist at all). If you possibly can, find some folks to have fun with.

My girlfriends Mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few years ago. She's had a "miracle" recovery, and been given a new lease on life. She is drinking heavily with it instead of glorying in her newfound years and using them to feel and spread some joy. That's so sad.

I know it's real easy for me to say, not having been diagnosed HIV positive, but grab at whatever good you can and all the enjoyment you can, try to reject bad feelings. There's no profit in them. Que será, será.

-El Dave
Avatar universal
Thanks for your replies.  I really appreciate the support.

One of the most resounding issues, however, is the intense - no, unbearable shame that comes with this diagnosis.  This is different than cancer, where everyone becomes sympathetic and supportive. I am young (23), responsible, and professional and have just been thrown into this category with intravenous drug users and people who are promiscuous.  This is that one terminal illness that society blames on the infected and makes those unfortunate enough to be HIV+ feel like unwanted pariahs.  

Besides, who would want to be with me now?  I have always wanted to have children, to grow old with someone...The prospect of being alone for the rest of my life, going in and out of the hospital, dying youjng, and knowing that I am just some statistic, makes me wonder why I should even bother.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel.  There is no "miracle" recovery.  This is something I have to keep hidden from pretty much everyone.  I am suffering quietly. I have no support network, no one I can talk to about this that is my age.  Everyday, I feel like I'm dying just a little bit more.   Now, I feel trapped in a job because I need the health benefits,  I feel alienated from pretty much the outside world and I frankly do not see anything changing.

I've been to online forums for HIV positive people and everyone keeps saying it gets better with time.  I feel like the opposite is true for me.  The more I think about all of this, the more anxious, sad, lonely, sleepless, hopeless, helpless, worthless, I feel.  

Avatar universal
Are you absolutely sure everyone will feel that way? I hear so much about people becoming HIV positive because of transfusions or other things that are innocent.. surely others hear of them too? Well, but then, society does stink to the high heavens, so you're probably right.

I'm not sure who would want to be with you.. another person with the same problem perhaps, or someone who didn't focus on certain things? I don't know, but I know you're not just a statistic and you're still alive. No "miracles" perhaps, but good things can happen. I'm sorry if I seem like an optimist, I'm not, but whatever time we have we should make the most of.

I'm just so sorry this has happened to you. That doesn't do you a bit of good, of course.. I suppose there's nothing I could do, but if you think of anything, just say the word.

-El Dave

P.S. I understand why you might list anxious, sad, lonely, sleepless, hopeless, and helpless, but why "worthless"?
Avatar universal
yes.  I know the vast majority of people will feel that way.  Before I got the news I used to think that people with HIV were irresponsible and careless; that had they been more careful they wouldn't have contracted the disease... were my sentiments not those that most people harbor?  So being HIV positive is not just having a terminal illness - but it's knowing that you will get little sympathy, that people will talk about you behind your back, that some doctors will be afraid to touch you..I could go on and on.  

and I really don't feel alive.  i feel like a walking zombie - so empty inside. hollow.  I mean... am I supposed to just keep hoping for something "good" to come along?  how long am I supposed to wait?  and what am I supposed to do in the meantime?

worthless because I am now costing society more than I am putting into it.  

anyhow, i really don't know what the point of writing all of this is... i know there are no answers to my questions.  and I know that most people reading this will just pass on by because there isn't much to say here. it is what it is.

Avatar universal
I asked my Hildy, and she said many folks are like me, aware of the different ways it can be spread. But does it really matter? I suppose not.. it's your business, and folks really have no right to make any judgements about it. You've much more reason than I to feel depressed, but what you're pointing out there is one of the factors that did bring me to the brink of destruction previously. Society stinks, that's the fact.

I have to say, my Hildegard has been involved with the medical community almost her entire adult life. She's at the executive level and has been for many years now, and has seen and dealt with thousands and thousands of cases. She sees them from beginning to end. I haven't checked with my Sweetling, who is a nurse, yet, to back this up, but Hildy claims the being HIV positive doesn't mean terminal in every case. Unless you know something you're not telling, isn't that a reason to have a little hope?

But perhaps you're like me.. prepare for the worst and if better happens it's like a gift. If you expect the worst there are no hopes to dash. Seems like a valid outlook to me.. I just worry about when you say "makes me wonder why I should even bother", because that glimmer of hope you aren't feeling is why you should bother.

You're definitely not supposed to just keep hoping for something "good" to come along, you're supposed to hang onto life as long as you can and enjoy it as much as you can. So, so easy for me to write that, isn't it? The ease with which I can write it and the difficulty you have accepting it don't change the truth of it, though.

Society is dukey. Society is the beast sitting in unfair judgement of you, by your own statement. You don't have to put in more than you take out, "society" squanders our resources on things that don't matter. You do matter.

I have to go cry like a grandma for a while now, praying to a God I can't believe in for you. Praying for you to see that you're still here, that there's no sense in jumping into a grave in your own mind before it's time.

First, though, I have to ask you, is Hildy wrong? Is being HIV positive of necessity terminal?
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