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Want to end this...
Jun 18, 2006

Dr Bob, how do you do it?

Just diagnosed positive, 22, male, girlfriend dumped me, parents don't want to know me, lost my job, took a bunch of pills, slit my wrist, best mate found me and took me to ER now a month later am still in hospital under suicide watch, psychiatrist won't release, really just writing in to hopefully get some words of wisdom you. I really respect and admire you. I have lost all my confidence. I feel I cannot go on.

How do you?

David.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello David,

How do I do it? How do I not slit my wrists? Hmmm . . . .

Well, to be honest, that thought is very foreign to me. Certainly living with HIV can, at times, be challenging. To claim otherwise would be ludicrous. However, in spite of those very significant challenges, I do not want to miss a single moment of my allotted time on this amazing planet. I treasure my very existence, each and every split second of it. I can find joy and pleasure in an unlimited array of activities listening to music, sipping coffee, getting wet sloppy kisses from either my dog or my lover, playing the piano, helping others who are less fortunate than I, etc., etc., etc. The list truly is endless.

HIV is no picnic. Girlfriends, parents and employers don't always behave as we would like. It's important to realize when they reject someone because of HIV, they are in essence rejecting the virus, not the person. Most of the time these rejections or bad behaviors stem from fear and ignorance of HIV/AIDS.

There is not doubt getting the news you are HIV positive is shocking. It changes everything. However, that things change does not mean things have to end. A period of adjustment to your new reality as a "virally enhanced" person is normal and to be expected. You my, at the moment, feel you cannot go on, but I can assure you those feelings are temporary. If I had committed suicide when I became infected in January of 1991, I would have missed the most amazing 15 years of my existence. I also would not be here responding to your question.

David, give yourself some time. Start to learn more about HIV/AIDS. A good place to begin is here at The Body. Try clicking on the Quick Links topics on The Body's homepage. Read through the information in the "Just Diagnosed" and "Inspiring Stories" chapters. Take control of your HIV; don't let it take control of you.

One mechanism I've found particularly helpful is to dedicate some of your time, energy and talent to help those in need. Volunteer at an AIDS service organization or spend some time at a pediatric cancer center or even an animal rescue center. Make your life matter. I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy . . . . Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

-- George Bernard Shaw

You will feel better, David. Start making plans for how to spend the rest of your life. The future is indeed yours, if you want it.

Dr. Bob



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