Sunday, April 26, 2015
I didn't get this couples name this past Friday evening, April 24, 2015. I did give them mine and also my card as into the brief ten minutes we shared in laughter out came my sharing my story as a gay man who lives with HIV, bipolar and substance abuse, that I was a suicide attempt survivor and still have suicidal idealization from time to time, hence my card and how I feel I'm doing God's work, each time I share my story and listen to others.
I'm often asked, do you talk to everyone, my reply yes but more important I listen.
In memory of their son, lost fifteen months ago.
I don't know about most cities but when it comes to intersections and the traffic light both pedestrians and motorists respect one another, most of the time. I will say it is at these intersections I do my talking and listening.
I was walking on Eight Avenue to catch my bus when I stopped abruptly causing the couple which I has just passed to stop as well. The only thing I heard, was "are you going to talk this loud all night so that everyone could here what you say," followed by laughter. The laughter peaked my curiosity so I turned and said what was so funny. The wife said you heard me, I said no all I heard was your husband and asked her what did you say, her reply, there goes a man I would love to have sex with as they continued to laugh.
My reply, thank you as I was flattered, but replied back that I love people of color, but swing the other way and love the brother which the wife went from laughing to tears as it reminded her of their gay son they lost fifteen months ago.
The husband behind holding her arm, as I said, I'm sorry for your loss and went on to give them my card, and shared that I live with mental illness, bipolar and that I'm also HIV+, that I carry minority stress and that he also did as a gay, black man, that for him, he was a minority within a minority and for me, I'm a minority within a minority, within a minority, that at times I often want to let go, that it is very hard.
As we hugged, I said let's not go to tears, that I didn't want to ruin their evening, she went on to say, I love this man, I quickly shifted gears back to laughter saying, "we seem to be enjoying each other lets grab a room and have a three way which she let out with more laughter and said this, " that only in New York can something like this happen on the street."
She said I work in a hotel here in New York City, the husband shared he worked for the Post Office, I said I work at a non-profit and also educate, do awareness around bipolar and HIV and often share my story. I left them saying email me and in the subject line write: "I want to have sex with that man" that seeing that will bring me back to tonight's share. I said if you wish we can meet up, that I don't drink and also feel free to reach out to me if you need assistance with coping with your loss, they replied thank you and we will.
I walked on, grabbed my bag in my arms and said a prayer for them, for their son and for me, as thirteen days earlier, April 11th, I went home with thoughts of suicide, it was an evening/morning I will never forget, nor the date as I started back in formal recovery from my addiction, God was looking out for me that early morning.
"Wikapedia Minority Stress."
"Increased Risk of Suicide in Blacks and Latino LGBT Men"
"LGBT-Inclusive National Suicide Prevention Strategy"
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
I had four back to back panic attacks the most severe I walked four blocks past my office stopped wasn't lost, but said to myself what am I doing here, and started to boil in side as I made my way back towards my office. As I got closer, block by block the boiling of emotion like a volcano started to erupt and it did. It was severe, so severe I couldn't see the medication I carry in my bag as my mind had left me, my mind had left me, rare.
Thanks to three co-workers who saw me, stopped me as I rushed to the stairs hoping not to be seen...hurrying upwards, I heard my someone asking if I was okay?
As soon as a heard a human voice and then felt theirs hands as they got me to step backwards, down three steps, did the melting speed up out came the tears, crying, I felt like I collapsed and I did into a chair I sat.
One got me water and said hydrate, the other raw almonds and said eat, the last handed me a photo of a kitten and said pet it and I said why and was told to just pet the photo and sure enough it hit...so fast like a brush fire it hit, the petting put out the flames, enough to where I could see my pills and take the one I needed for the anxiety.
Anxiety is no joke when it goes full range panic attack, that was my second severe one, the first was when I diagnosed, but this one was severe and I'm thankful for the people in my life and for myself in that in a way I knew to go where I feel safe, it was my office and within less then an hour after taking the pill, I was bright, composed and working, advised to go home and relax, but I decided to stay and be around people.
Thanks to Andrea, Marion and Lisa
Thursday, February 26, 2015
photo source: Pinterest
Depression is a syndrome, a combination of emotional, behavioral and physical symptoms portrayed by sadness, loss of pleasure, loss of self-esteem and sometimes difficulty functioning. If you are experiencing these problems and they persist overtime, cause you suffering, interfere with pleasure and work on a daily basis, you may have clinical depression.
Clinical depression or major depression "More than 19 million Americans suffer from clinical depression each year ." If you feel depressed most of the day, a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships, find yourself withdrawing from others, fatigue...loss of energy. trouble concentrating, problems remembering to take your HIV medications, problems sleeping, talk to your provider as you may need a physiological evaluation.
Major depression, clinical depression is treatable with medication. Once medicated the symptoms will cease allowing you to get better, feel better and get on the road to recovery, medication is crucial for this to happen.
"Serious mental illness includes diagnoses which typically involve psychosis (losing touch with reality or experiencing delusions) or high levels of care, and which may require hospital treatment. Here we look at two of the most common severe mental illnesses: schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (or manic depression)."
From my website facts page you will find statistics on major depression, serious mental illness and HIV, also please visit the resources page with listings in all fifty states.
Today, nineteen years later, on two cocktails I'm back working part-time, living in affordable housing, my SMI (bipolar disorder) is in check. This can be you, again talk to your provider.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Photo credit: "Everyone wants to have someones arms wrapped around them when they fall asleep at night. "
Full disclosure; HIV, bipolar and insomnia, and why full disclosure is important, not just for the safety of transmission for the man you are with, but for your own anxieties around my being a dual diagnosed HIV and bipolar, mental health consumer, as insomnia for me is extremely problematic. It has ruined two relationships as both partners didn't understand the severity, all they noticed was I wasn't in bed when they woke up, I know not the right men for me. Not easy, but necessary if you are to find Mr. right, he's out there.
I met someone last summer, of course when traveling who on the second night of day two asked me to spend the night, knowing about the past problems, my anxiety kicked in, not so much on my HIV disclosure, although can be hard, it's no where as needing to disclose your suffer insomnia and bipolar, so I needed to make an excuse to leave when I wanted so much to stay.
The third night of ten wonderful days, he said out of the blue how's your sleeping habits, my reply was problematic but that I have medications that will knock me out. Curious I asked why did you ask and he went on to share that he's in open relationship and was reading me, as his partner lives with bipolar. Wow, talk about gaydar, he had bipolardar if there is such a word.
For the first time in a long time I was laying with a man, with no anxiety about my HIV, no anxiety about my bipolar, (which I do manage very well, with medication), and again no anxiety from the insomnia as we lied there talking, cuddling and him saying in a loving way, it's time for you to take your medication, period! And in my double cocktail, both my HIV and psychotropic medications, I dosed off.
If any of you have shared this experience, after many attempts in finding the right medication I was prescribed Seroquel, Seroquel which put me to sleep in his arms in a deep medicated sleep. The lowest dosage is 25 mg and me being a bear, that pill will put me out withing one minute, and sleep as much as 10 - 14 hours. So with my psychiatrist on board I use a pill cutter and take half, 12.5 mg and sleep a good 7-9 hours and woke up everyday rolling over to find one another.
I was happy to meet him, as we had a good ten days, we are still friends and he showed me that there's hope out there for me and although it hasn't happened, I learned that full disclosure around not just my HIV for the safety of the other partner, but for my own anxieties, the very real insomnia that kept me away from dating is something that the partner needs to know if they are to wanting to get to know you on a deeper level.
I know, it's very hard to do that, but I'm hoping to meet someone again, with the same level of understanding, if this is you, if you've been here, know you are not alone and that as we age with our HIV the stigma of not just that, but that of bipolar is slowing taking hold.
Sleep Problems and HIV
The Importance of Sleep
Monday, January 19, 2015
"Gay Men With Mental Health Issues Have Higher Risk Of HIV,"
source: (Randall Mayes, Design & Trend, Science, January 16, 2015)
"The study included 4,295 gay men who had sex with other men in the previous year. They participants took behavioral surveys and a HIV test every six months."
"In the 680 men who completed the study, the researchers found that those who had the most mental health issues were more likely to become HIV positive during the study."
As the Bi Polar bear whom for the last eleven years has been writing about HIV and mental illness not only do I agree, but support any moves to add both HIV+ testing and the reverse Mental Health screenings in the HIV+ community as a way to not just talk about stigma, and help 'New York State end the AIDS epidemic by 2020" , and cities like San Francisco, "getting to zero coalition" reach their challenges of zero transmission of the HIV virus, and finally for the Gay Community to speak the words Bi polar and SMI (serious mental illness) into the media, when they talk about depression, it seems like words like these are kept in the closet.
I recently attended a Long Term Survivors Town Hall Meeting, at the end I took to the microphone as no where in the evening where they spoke about aging and co morbidities was serious mental illness, or bipolar mentioned. Scott A. Krammer, LCSW, ACSW offered this:
"The Bipolar Bear came out her tonight and talked about the mental health issues he's living with. By doing that, talking about the issues, he lessens stigma by showing others they are not alone. By using his voice, he gives others hope. This is just one example of how healing happens in the Community."
Just as proud as I am to to be HIV+ wearing shirts and riding bikes to raise money and awareness, I'm one of 1 in 5 HIV+ men and women struggling with a serious mental illness and depression, wearing my own shirt as the Bi Polar Bear.
Op-Ed Wearing Red & Green, in POZ Magazine 2013
I'm a Consumer Activist on these issues, I wrote last year that had safe sex kits handed out when exiting bars had cards that spoke about substance abuse and mental health screenings and HIV prevention, well maybe I would be simple, a gay man living with bipolar disorder, and the rates of transmission would have been much lower or better zero rates of transmission of the HIV/AIDS virus in the year 2000 not twenty-years later.
So a call to Action: to those who hold sponsor HIV rides and Walks, add mental health to your brochures and advertisements as the funds your are raising, are in fact treating substance abuse, HIV and mental illness.
Huffingtonpost. article, Where Has All the Money Gone," , says, " It means less support for mental health and substance abuse to deal with the very issues that were part of that reason that they are living with HIV and AIDS.
My website, www.bipolarbear.us they most comprehensive list of resources and on HIV and mental Heath.
Visit my Testimonials page to see what people are saying about 2013 SAMHSA Voice Award Fellow
"Stephen has been an active and steadfast member of the NAMI GLBT Networking Group. He has been an invaluable supporter and advisor to the work of NAMI to meaningfully include and support GLBT individuals. He provides this group and communities beyond his NAMI family with resources through his voluntarily maintained website and blog with which he shares a unique perspective of personal recovery and experiences with bipolar disorder, HIV and substance abuse. He has built a strong awareness-building platform for these issues through cycling events, media outreach and many contacts he makes to advocate and raise funds for recovery efforts."
- Marin Swesey, Program Manager, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Multicultural Action Center, 2008-2013
- Marin Swesey, Program Manager, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Multicultural Action Center, 2008-2013
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Not what you thinking?
I have dry cracked skin problem on my feet, hence the use of my dried cracked leather hammock, thought it appropriate. Well my dermatologist prescribed two scripts both topical. I tried just with a pair of socks and the socks got treated nicely but not my feet.
So being myself, always thinking outside the box, usually when I'm in a mellow side of mania cycle, I found a pair of those rubbers you stretch over you shoes and proceeded to grease up my feet and wear them while at my desk. I'm wearing them now.
To my amazement my cracked dry feet aren't as they used to be and my dermatologist was like wow, what an improvement, I shared my trick with her, and she was like you should patent that. I kinda of just did that, taking this photo and writing this lite humorous...but brilliant post on rubbers and feet.
So if you have cracked feet, possible a foot fungus and need to apply cream to your feet, or any over the counter foot care product, buy yourselves some rubbers and treat your feet to a nice vacation
I've been having writers block, writing about HIV and bipolar post after post isn't easy. So like my feet I'm giving myself a vacation and taking a step away from it all for a few weeks.
Rubbers. I got the standard shoe model
but they come in so many sizes and colors, have fun.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
All Saints Day Collage by: Stephen A. Puibello
The photo above, this entire project from thought to finished product is one way I use art to help reduce stress in my life. Writing here on my blog is another. My process involves music while I write to help me focus and also I clear my desk of all piles, mail, anything that could distract me as I have a hard time staying focused. Please enjoy my project; the All Saints Day collage above, and tap into your creativity and have fun.
My dad's (** August L. Puibello: Died December 10, 2010) home recently sold, in the garage I found within a shoe box a stack of "In Memory" cards with a rubber band on them. I decided to make a collage of these many cards found above and list all the names so that we could remember them, many of which I didn't know personally but knew the names of the families.
In Memory of the many friends and family members of my Mom and Dad
1947 - 2010
Right Reverend Monsignor, William A. Keyes: Born July 26, 1870 Died February 8, 1947
** Josephine Lopes: Born October 19, 1869 Died September 30, 1954
** Felice Lopes: Born 1874 Died November 3, 1954
** Caterina Puibello: Born 1884 Died October 30, 1959
Fred Bonica: Died May 5, 1963
Benvenuto Cardinali: Born April 1893 Died July 10, 1963
** Maria Lopes: Died November 23, 1963
Gerard Graziano: Died April 10, 1964, age 48
** Vincent Leahy: Died October 28, 1967
** Alfonso Chiarelli: Died November 8, 1968
Alphonso J. Ciampi: Died Janduary 20, 1969
Jerome Leahy: Died May 3, 1971
Anthony J. Buonomo: Died July 20, 1972
** Mario Crimando: Died January 18, 1973
Mary Rinzuello: Died October 10, 1975
Thomas A. C. Vanaria: Died March 14, 1977
**Maria Terzita Crimando: Died August 28, 1979
** Johanna A. Leahy: November 2, 1982
Lazar Balac: Died January 31, 1982
Stefano Pittorino: Died June 3, 1985
** Joseph Lopes: Died July 16, 1985
** Maria Lopes: Died October 19, 1986
Charlotte Hefferon: Died September 11, 1988
Maria Santa Maria: Died September 23, 1988
Rose Chicketano: Died May 27, 1988
Ralph J. DeBenedetto: Died June 1, 1990
Robert A. Delvescovo: Died: December 8, 1990
Felix Bonica: Died February 28, 1990
Mark P. Hansen: Died April 14, 1990
Angelina Santa Maria: Died January 5, 1990
Michael K. Pizek: Died February 2, 1991
Dorothy Nagurka: Died January 29, 1992
** Stefania Chiarelli: Died September 20, 1992
Mary Louise Pittorino: Died February 8, 1992
Lloyd A. Strunk: Died November 4, 1995
Alyce Maganzine: Died May 14, 1995
Edward Rosatelli: Died May 20, 1995
Barbara D. Vanaria: Born December 1, 1928 Died July 17, 1995
Fred Calabrese: Died December 1, 1996
** Audrey M. Puibello: Died September 11, 1996
Maria C. Palotta: Died September 25, 1997
Josephine "Jessie" Chessari: Died July 20, 1997
Francis L. Healy: Born Tuesday, August 3, 1926 Died Saturday December 20, 1997
** Joseph J. Leahy: Died November 22, 1998
Joseph A. Romano: Died July 18, 1998
Albert Joseph Rapella, Jr.: Died May 27, 1998
Angelo J. Chessari: Died December 14, 1998
Barbara A. Ambrosio: Died May 5, 1999
** Peter L. Cardinalli: Died October 21, 1999
Catherine Stocco: Died August 18, 1999
Salvatore Fastuca: Died November 1, 1999
Paul E. Baia: Born February 26, 1920 Died January 25, 2000
Conchetta G. Bellino: Died May 24, 2000
Emily M. Buonomo: Died May 14, 2000
Jim Molinari: Born June 9, 1925 Died: February 28, 2001
** Arthur P. Puibello: Born April 29, 1928 Died: September 3, 2001
Catherine Santa Maria: Born May 19, 1921 Died January 19, 2002
Peter D. Fulco: Born March 3, 2002 Died March 2002
Frank A. Stancati: Died January 27,2002
Posted by Stephen Puibello at 11:37 AM
Labels: All Saints Day Collage, art therapy, creativity, Stephen Puibello. reduce stress. music to help reduce stress