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Dementia? Slowly losing my grip

Feb 17, 2011

I was originally diagnosed 19 years ago with PCP. I have AIDS. undetectable viral load and under 100 t- cells and I seem to be having a very difficult time with my mental state. Mainly anger. I recently had an episode with a health care provider who ignored me and referred to me as "the guy with AIDS" Between anger and thoughts of suicide Am I losing my mind? I feel like I am slowly losing my grip. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Dealing with all the feelings that arise when living with the virus takes constant effort and it's not uncommon to have periods when this is more difficult. Over time one's emotional resilience can be worn away, which can lead to being easily frustrated and having difficulty controlling anger. I'd recommend trying to identify and appropriately express your feelings as they come up. Having a friend or support group who can listen and provide feedback and strategies is really helpful. The old trick of counting to 10 really works, as does deep breathing. Even "justifiable anger," such as you felt when being called "the guy with AIDS" carries a big price tag in terms of emotional and physical health. Such a statement is outrageous anywhere, but especially so in a health care setting. That incident should be brought to the attention of whoever is in charge of that office, and your message will be stronger if you are calm and assertive. Finally, if you have any thoughts of suicide or self-harm don't wait, get help immediately.

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