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I CANT GET OVER THIS
Feb 22, 1999

HI, I AM HOPING YOU CAN GIVE ME A LITTLE ADVICE.I HAD A HETREROSEXUAL ENCOUNTER 10 MONTHS AGO AND WAS SEPERATED FROM MY HUSBAND AT THE TIME.WE HAVE SINCE GOTTEN BACK TOGETHER AND BEFORE WE DID I BECAME REALLY SCARED THAT I MAY HAVE CONTRACTED HIV BECAUSE THE GUY I SLEPT WITH(UNPROTECTED)HE HAD A PAST OF MANY WOMEN.SO, I WAS TESTED WITH ELISA AT 3 MONTHS,6 MONTHH,7 MONTHS AND WITH ELISA AND P24 AT 8 MOTNHS AND LAST WEEK I HAD A VIRAL LOAD TEST DONE AND IT WAS UNDETECTABLE(I KEEP A CHEST COLD, AND I STAY SICK LATELY I FEEL LIKE I MAY BE POS. BUT NO TESTS WILL DETECT.I HAVE BEEN IN COUNSELINGA ND NO HELP ATALL FROM THAT. WHAT DO I DO?I AM LOSING MY LIFE EITHER WAY AND I FEEL LIKE THE TESTS ARE NO GOOD. IS THIS A MENTAL DISORDER OR WHAT? I HAVE SHARP PAINS UNDER MY ARMS AND I FEEL LIKE IT MAY HAVE SOMETHING TO DO W/ MY GLANDS BUT DOCTORS SAY MY BLOOD WORK IS PERFECT. THEY THINK I AM CRAZY BUT I DONT KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS.MY HUSBAND WANTS ANOTHER CHILD SOON AND I CANT STAND THE HTOUGHT OF HAVING A BABY IF I AM POS. WHY CANT I BELIEVE THESE TESTS, AND ALL THESE DOCTORS (I HAVE 6 DIFFERENT ONES, ONE IS A INFECTIOUS DISEASE DOC) I FIND MYSELF CONSTANTLY THINKING THAT I WISH I COULD DIE IN A CAR ACCIDENT OR SOMETHING SIMILIAR BECAUSE I AM SICK FROM WORRY. I AM A 22 YEAR OLD GIRL WHO HAS ALWAYS BEEN SO PROUD OF WHO I AM AND SO ENERGETIC AND OUTGOING.I ISOLATE MYSELF AND I DONT SPEND THE TIME W/ MY 2 YR. OLD LITTLE GIRL THAT I SHOULD BECAUSE I AM SCARED TO EVEN GET CLOSE TO HER FOR THE FEAR OF INFECTING HER OR DYING AND HER LOSING HER MOMMY.MY MARRIAGE WILL NOT LAST VERY LONG LIKE THIS, BUT COUNSELING IS NOT HELPING ME ATALL.NEITHER DOES ANY OF THE DRUGS THEY GIVE ME BECAUSE THEY MAKE ME THINK I AM HAVING MORE SYMPTOMS AND I THINK IT IS HIV.I KNOW PEOPLE OUT THERE WILL NOT UNDERSTAND THIS AND THEY WILL BE MAD TO READ THIS, BUT I AM SO HELPLESS BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE I AM GOING CRAZY.I WISH I COULD DIE BUT I DONT WANT TO COMMIT SUICIDE BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE A COPOUT TO MY FAMILY.WHAT IF I INFECTED MY INNOCENT HUSBAND WHO WAS HERE WAITING ON ME TO COME HOME AND START OUR MARRIAGE OVER?I HAVE TOLD HIM ABOUT EVERYTHING IN HOPES THAT I WOULD GET OVER THE GUILT BUT HE GETS VERY MAD WHEN HE SEES ME WORRY ABOUT AIDS AND HE ISNT SUPPORTIVE AND WHO COULD BLAME HIM?THE GUY I SLEPT WITH TOLD HIS NEW GIRLFREIND HE WASNT GETTING TESTED BECAUSE HE KNEW HE DIDNT HAVE IT.I TEST ALL THE TIME AND I HAVE TO QUIT BUT I CANT. HELP.I KNOW THERE IS NOT MUCH YOU CAN SAY BUT I AM JUST DESPERATE.MY QUALITY OF LIFE HAS BECOME VERY BAD.I AM REAL SCARED.HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF PSHYCONEUROIMMUNOLOGY WHERE PEOPLE MAKE THEMSELVES SICK OR SICKER THAN THEY WERE FROM THE POWER OF THOUGHT?HAVE YOU HEARD OF PSHYCHOSOMATIC ILLNESS,DO YOU KNOW ANYWHERE I COULD GO TO STUDY THIS?MAYBE IF THATS WHAT I HAVE THEN I COULD BETTER UNDERSTAND IT , THUS, GET ON WITH MY LIFE. I WILL DO ANYTHING.I JUST DONT KNOW HOW I LET THIS HAPPEN TO ME.THANK YOU.PS. DO YOU THINK I WOULD HAVE HAD DETECTABLE VIRUS WITH THE RNA TEST IF I WAS? I KNOW YOU WILL TELL ME TO SEND IT TO THE OTHER FORUM BUT HEY NEVER ANSWER ME PLEASE, JUST AN OPINION.PLEASE.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

You are wracked by your guilt at having had the sexual encounter. Why can't you forgive yourself and believe the tests and viral load? Perhpas it is not your feelings about what happened during the separation, but what caused you to separate in the first place. Have you tried asking your husband if he would go to counseling with you? If the two of you can not talk about this together there will not be a good prognosis for you two to make it, or for you to work through the issues that are causing such turmoil in your life.

There is alot of evidence that demonstrates that romantic, sexual and emotional problems can present themselves as physical and medical issues. The symptoms are very real, but are a direct result of the high level of stress that a person experiences in his or her life, generally about a specific situation that they feel very conflicted about. Very often the medical problem exists because a person is not able to directly identify the source of the stress, and therefore is unable to deal with it in an adaptive way that addresses the real problem for what it is, an emotional and/or romantic problem. I am suggesting that the root may be your feelings about your husband and your marriage.

You were obviously feeling enough dissatisfaction with your marriage to separate from him. Have you ever really dealt with the feelings you were having and the issues that arose that caused you to temporarily leave him? He is the father of your first child, and wants a second child with you. Perhaps the root of the problem is that you do not want to spend the rest of your life with him. I do not know if this is the case or not, but am suggesting that you may be very guilty about not wanting to remain in the marriage that is causing your conflict, and thus causing your physical symptoms and emotional conflict. Michael Shernoff, MSW

I'd urge you to explore these issues in your counseling sessions. Michael Shernoff, MSW



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