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HELP! I am really losing it...
      #113004 - 10/23/04 07:04 AM

While I am waiting to get an app't with a counselor, I am fighting off severe depression and anxiety. Long story... HIV+ since 1990. Alot of health problems, most not HIV related, no major illnesses, opportunistic, etc. on new regime, viral load at 30,000 tc up to over 700. However, mentally, I am
pretty much gone. I lost my job of 15 years in April (was part time at that point) because of too many absences, even though employer accomodated me in every way. I am not sick enough for doctors to say I can't work at all. I have filed for Social Security Disability, Short Term Disability and Retirement Disability, denied all 3 although everyone that knows me well tells me I should've gotten them. One dr wrote letter indicated I have chronic illnesses, I would need time off work, etc. but nothing saying I am "incapacitated", etc. I battle things like insomnia, depression (have had since young), allergies, sinus problems, headaches (one dr said migraines), a staph infection in July from an abscess, 2 wks of IV antibiotics, had severe allergic reaction to that, then worse reaction to alternative antibiotic. The abcess was not necessarily caused by HIV, but I was delayed in getting cortisone for 1 1/2 wks because of HIV, it was HELL. I was out of commission for over a month. I couldn't have worked.
Then I was physically okay until diagnosed with arthritis in my knee. Then flu or some bug, (no dr visit), then sinus infection (dr visit). My health is unpredictable. Part of me feels I could try to work, then BAM. But worse? I didn't file COBRA form, I will owe approx $15k in medical for claims that will be backed out by my insurance. I have appealed COBRA on basis I was
stressed out, etc. I MAY get 12 months of coverage but can't change coverage lapse. My $35k in retirement which is all the $ I have will be half gone. I wanted to put $ in a CD, etc.
for future living expenses, medical, for my sons. I was so excited to maybe move back out with my b/f, have my own place again. Now that's not possible. I have a place to live (mom) and my dad has lent/given me $, but they can do no more. Believe me, I am thankful to have them. But I
felt like a failure before this, now I feel I am a total loser. Bad enough everyone has had to go through my HIV battle with me, but my parents are very successful (not so much financially, but responsible, hard working, etc). and I had high standards for myself. I went to college for 2 years, but got pregnant with my 1st son so quit, got married, had son #2.
Married 6 years, I divorced him (control freak, other problems). I feel like a failure there. I know in the long run my sons were better off, but I know for awhile it was so hard on them. I don't regret having my children, but I never got my degree. I went on to get a good job, but when I lost it I feel like
I failed there. I have felt suicidal off and on my whole life due to depression. Watching my fiance die of aids in 1992 caused another spiral. Health problems, financial, have sent me down. I feel like my last bastion, my retirement, I have now f***ed because again, I feel like no matter how hard I try
either bad luck or some oversight on my part (I am not imagining my "luck", others have even wondered if I don't have some kind of curse! I've tried to laugh about it most of the time) ruins things. I feel there is a reason I didn't die from HIV, but I am SOOOOOO sick of my life I can't take it anymore. I can't commit suicide, I know it would destroy my family. Or I would've years ago. I am on medication but it is not enough. I know I need help, I am close to voluntarily committing myself. I totally hate myself. Everyone sees things I know are there...attractive, smart, funny, etc. but I see the negatives first. I feel I am like a plague on all their lives. I visualize ways I can die, there are times I feel GOOD
making myself suffer by being strangled in my mind, or stabbing myself, or being stabbed, isn't that SICK!!!! I know my illness has brought a few sons' avoid unprotected sex, I have been able to educate others about HIV, and I knew others with serious illness have seen there ARE miracles, just as I have seen miracles in others. But I feel this is the end of the road for me. The only positive is that NOW maybe I will qualify for Social Security!!! Has anyone out there gotten it based on mental/emotional disability? Or am I living in another fantasy world? But I may be in the looney bin by then. Or moved somewhere, that has been a serious NY, SF,etc. I could maybe
get housing, medical care, etc. What do I do? Only my mom and b/f right now know what's going on, I "hide" the depth and seriousness from everyone else. Yes, the counselor/psych
will help, I will sign a form stating I will not hurt myself. And maybe different meds. But how can they change how I hate myself? Noone else has been able to. They can't get rid of the depression that's within, that can't be surgically removed.
I just want to disappear. I feel I already have in some ways...

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Re: HELP! I am really losing it... new
      #113016 - 10/23/04 08:05 PM

Hang in there. I was where you are now 7 years ago and tried to kill myself. Thank God I was not succesfull. I know your feelings feel as though they are insumountable right now, but give yourself a break. Life is hard and blaming ourselves for our misfotunes makes us feel worse. Most things really are not our fault. LIFE IS TOUGH. We are all pretty much the same and are never as horrible or as wonderful as we often think or feel that we are. We are all just doing our best and I know that you are doing your best. This terrible time in your life will pass. If there is anything that is certain in life it is change and if you don't like where you are today just wait a little bit because you will be someplace different tomorrow. That thought helps me a lot when I get down. I know that I won't feel that way forever becuase something will change. Things are always changing. Losing a job is a big loss and like all losses getting over that is a process that takes time and you will feel worse before you feel better, but YOU WILL FEEL BETTER. Your counselor will help a lot and keep asking for help. I was amazed at how much help and support was available to me when I was at my bottom. The one thing I learned was that I just had to keep asking for help. If I didn't find it in one place if I kept asking I eventually found it in another place. There are all sorts of social agencies to help you with all of this. And asking for and accepting support from others who know about and are facing similar circumstances themselves is incredibly important to getting through this. I know that you are asking because you came here to this board and asked so just keep looking for places to get support and just keep asking. It will be there. Disability is difficult and the key to that is to keep trying. They always reject you the first couple of times. They do that to weed out the people who really do not need it. They just want you to prove that you need it by continuing to try. So just keep applying and appealing. A combination of HIV and mental health issues is something that they will consider. The other thing that I learned in my darkest times, was that shame was a luxury I could not afford. If I was going to survive I just had to accept that no matter what I have done or what my circumstances of my life were or expecations of myself are I was basically just like everybody else and as good and deserving of love as the next person. I just had to start there and not compare my circumstances to others which hurts but instead just work on my problems VERY SLOWLY one day at a time one problem at a time and know that I was not alone and that what was happening to me was not a reflection of me. It was just simply something that was happening to me. No more no less. I also learned to pray a lot which was not really my nature but I found that it really helps. You are living with a fatal disease and surviving. That makes you a BIG WINNER. That makes you a very sucsessfull person. Those are challenges that schools do not teach us how to face. Theses are challenges many people will never face. I would say that meets the higest standards that a person could ever be held to. Give yourself that credit you have earned it. I know you will make it. Just try to find more people and places where you feel safe and supported enough to share your true feelings. What makes the depression so much worse is keeping all those horrible feeling stuffed inside. You need to let people know how you feelling and where you are at. This really helps to relive that terrible deprressive pressure that builds up. You are in my thoughts and prayers today and please know that this will pass and you will move on it just takes time and patience. I was there and I know. I am sending you all my love and good thoughts today. I know this is not easy. God Bless!

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Re: HELP! I am really losing it... new
      #113042 - 10/24/04 05:04 AM

Thank you so much for your reply! Yes, I am glad you didn't succeed in killing yourself! Sounds like you have had a tough time. You have some wonderful insights, we each have insights unique to ourselves, and qualities about ourselves we can't see but others can! I have given myself credit for surviving this illness this long, getting through my fiance's death (everyone said I was sooooooo strong, I felt so weak!!!), etc. etc. I don't have shame for having this, but I have shame when my family, etc. may be rejected because of ME, which I would never do, but people can be ignorant.
I will resume prayer which a friend helped me re-find lost faith, and I will pursue the mental health angle re SSDI. Thank you, hugs, and good luck to you!!!

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Reged: 11/01/04
Posts: 15
Loc: minnesota, united states
Re: HELP! I am really losing it... new
      #113634 - 11/02/04 08:36 AM

i am 23 yrs old and was diagnosised late january 2004. two months later i found out i progressed to AIDs. i found out through someone i was talking to that works at the social security office that alot of claims are denied at first, but he said that 90 % of appeals are approved. don't ever give up there is always hope even if you don't see it at first. i hope things get better for you.

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Reged: 06/15/04
Posts: 395
Re: HELP! I am really losing it... new
      #113710 - 11/03/04 03:58 PM

HI there,

I know exactly how you are feeling and I am sorry that you are going through so much heartache...The last thing you need at this time is to be fighting the system for what you are entitled to recieving...Usually one is denied the first time they apply, so re-apply and dont give up hope...It will all work out...I know with fighting the depression and anxiety it seems almost hopeless and I am sure you feel like you have no energy or purpose but you do. You must know and feel it too cause you came on the site and posted a nice longggggg letter telling us all about you, things you are going through, personal situations and such...Keep writing here if it is helping you and say whatever you need to..Talking is theraputic and can help!!! We are here for you...try and stay with a positvie frame of mind...even when things seem tough...they will lighten up and there is light at the end of our journeys....Prayers to you my friend..keep the faith...~Jessie~

hiv+ since 2-3-04
"While there is breath, there is hope".

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