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great opportunity - still depressed
Jun 6, 2006

Dr. Bob,

I'm almost 44, an 11 year HIV veteran, with 6 years of disability under my belt. I was a somewhat successful analyst prior to HIV which after 5 years of continued non-healthy work/lifestyle ended. I sat around for 2 years post-disability very depressed. Then I went back to grad school and received a master's degree in counseling. A new career - new life - new positive outlook. I did so well that folks suggested I continue on to a PhD. I applied and I've gotten myself accepted. I should be excited right? One school is in my beloved DC - but expensive - and not much available in the form of financial help and I fear more school loans. School number 2 is a typical big state university - great program - great grad asssistant opportunity. Financially it looks like I need to go with school number 2, yet, in the state/area where the school is - extemely low numbers of HIVers. Faculty in the department aren't the most liberal and loving and my instincts tell me if they knew they just might have some issues. School number one - the exact opposite but no money as I mentioned. So, even though I have a great opportunity right in front of me - I'm not happy and the Wellbutrin ain't workin'! I have been around the block with my own shame and external HIV stigma a whole lot and should be tougher about this, I know...but...I don't want to be an HIV poster boy in rural PA and/or go through the struggle of "coming out" all over again. All this worry and indecision has put me back into therapy (which isn't a bad thing) but I'm ready to give up on either place. I know this isn't your usual thing - but 11 years ago I never expected to regain a somewhat visible professional lifestyle and live with HIV and disability. Any words of wisdom as always are greatly appreciated.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

This is an issue probably best handled in your therapy sessions. You are clearly conflicted about your two options and will need time to process the pros and cons of each situation, which is something unfortunately I cannot help you do over the Internet. Do look at all your options other PhD programs that may eventually be available to you, working for a while as a counselor (with your master's degree) before deciding on a PhD program, etc., etc., etc. Personally I don't feel we should let HIV impact our lives any more than is absolutely necessary.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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