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mental issues
Nov 2, 2007

Im having a hard time moving forward with my mental state after becoming infected and getting menengitis 2 years ago. I have difficulty concentrating and constantly have racing thoughts. I know my mental health is deteriorating and have contemplated suicide in the last year. Physically I am fine but I cannot concentrate on anything for any given amount of time. Everything always looks so dark and drab all the time. Im wondering if this will ever end , I have trid running and various other teqnigues but nothing seems to help, I constantly am tired and never leave the house because of depression. Im wondering if Im going mad?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Going mad? No. But significantly depressed? Yes.

Your symptoms of difficulty concentrating, fatigue and lack of motivation and your very dreary outlook on life are all quite classic for clinical depression. Depression is also much more common in us HIVers than in our neggie counterparts. Luckily clinical depression has become a very treatable condition. In light of the severity of your depression and particularly because you've contemplated suicide, I strongly recommend you see an HIV-knowledgeable psychiatrist. Your HIV specialist physician should be able to provide you with a good recommendation for whom you should see. A combination of mediations (antidepressants) and counseling ("talk therapy") is often extremely effective. I would also encourage you to continue a regular exercise program. The body releases endorphins when we exercise. Endorphins are natural mood enhancers. Also exercise has a secondary benefit: it makes us look better naked.

Living with the challenges of HIV/AIDS is no picnic. However, your doom and gloom does not have to be a part of your HIV-enhanced existence. You can overcome this. I've been HIV positive since January 1991. In many ways I feel I'm living on "borrowed time." However, my life over the past 16 years has continued to be full of passion, commitment, love, wonderment, intrigue and adventure. I wouldn't wish to have missed a single nanosecond. I'm confident the same can be true for all of us who are taking this challenging and at times treacherous and frustrating journey through life as we attempt to coexist with HIV.

Things can and will get better. Don't give up. Fight back. It's worth the effort.

Dr. Bob


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