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Don't want to die

May 16, 2001

Please help! I was diagnosed HIV+ about a year ago, seems like I was infected 5-6 years earlier or so but refused to take a test until I was so sick my CD4 had dropped to 38 and viral load was several thousand. Now the virus is undetectable and CD4 almost 300 and still rising. Physically I feel terrific, no side effects whatsoever. Mentally, though... I'm sure I'm about to die, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe next year. I quit my job and it feels like I'm just waiting to die, I'm looking for signs all the time and all I do is wait for the day when it's finally over. I've thought about killing myself before it kills me, I'm so scared. I don't want to die but it would be a lot easier to do it myself than to wait for a slow, painful death. Contacted a psychiatrist but can't seem to talk about it with her, or with anyone. What should I do? Am I really going to die soon? H E L P!!!!!

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I have no idea of why you quit your life, stopped working and decided that you are going to die. If you are serious about reclaiming your life then you absolutely MUST shop around for a good mental health professional with whom you can feel comfortable opening up and talking about all of this.

I would be willing to guess that this kind of hysterical over-reaction on your part did not begin upon learning that you were HIV+. It almost definitley had its origins before this diagnosis. This is why you need psychotherapy with a person who is skilled in working with people with HIV in order to overcome this kind of extreme emotional reaction. Michael Shernoff, MSW


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