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psychosomatic insane

Sep 21, 2000

I was tested for HIV 2 years ago and was "non-reactive." That was a very hard time in my life. I thought about having HIV day in and day out. It ruled my life. It caused me to drop out of school and I was constantly depressed. After finding out that I was "non-reactive" I was immediatly 500% better. I had no worries, I felt great and was care-free. To be honest, I've never even had sex. I've only touched a man's genitals once and was freaked out because I felt something "wet" - it was not semen, may have been "pre-cum." Anyways, I have not had any sexual experience since then and have been fine. I worried 24 hours a day about my risk level (which doctor after doctor told me "simply was not there.") But still, I wouldn't believe anyone. I was convinced that I had it. Finally, I got tested and was negative. It was the happiest day of my life to date. However, a friend of mine recently brought up that difficult time of my life (the time of waiting for test results) and it really bothered me to hear about it. I was so upset that she brought it up because I had successfully repressed that time of my life. The day after she brought it up and started to freak me out I lost my appetite and had trouble breathing. Exercise seemed to help both problems, but sitting around thinking about it made it worse. Within 1 1/2 weeks the problems went away. But I still had the thoughts in my head of that difficult time of my life. Since then, I have occasionally had joint pain - but it is relatively short lived and goes away quickly. I have put on 15 pounds because of the depression and am just freaked out again. Maybe I should see a psychiatrist. By the way, after finding out i was negative, I went back to school, finished college and am now in the middle of a Ph.D. program. Life seems good, but I can't shake the feeling that HIV is just around the corner. It's the first thing I think about when I wake-up and the last thing i think about before bed. It is eating my life up. The best time is when I am asleep and can't think about it (although I occasionally dream about it). Please give me some advice.

Response from Mr. Kull

It seems that your feelings and thoughts are really interfering with your day-to-day life. This is usually a sign that you suffer from a psychological condition, maybe an anxiety-related disorder, that could respond well to medication and/or psychotherapy. The two treatments in combination seem to work the best for anxiety disorders. I am not a psychiatrist and I can't diagnose the cause of your symptoms, but I really would encourage you to meet with a psychiatrist and/or a psychotherapist. It is also important to meet with your medical doctor whenever you are experiencing physical symptoms to rule out any medical causes.

Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the U.S. Many people feel ashamed about seeking treatment. Whether or not this is the case with you, it is important that you understand you are not to blame for your condition, you are not alone in your experience, and there is help for you.



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