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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

It's No Good to Suffer in Silence, to Treat Loneliness With Isolation

One of my dear Facebook friends posted a repost that she and I share a common interest in, loneliness and Isolation.  We all get these posts from time to time, they end by asking,  "at least one friend copy and repost (not share).  I wrote that I'd do better and repost on my blog, but read that it's good a good idea and would be better if I wrote my own story.

How we know one another is from local Senior Activity Center where we both met, and partake in programs that help bring people together.

Here we play bingo, parties like give-n-take where participants each bring three gifts worth $3.00 and we get five numbers and when a number is called we go to the table of gifts and take a bag, here's the thing there are more attendees then bags and anyone left with numbers gets to take from someone who has more than two bags.  It's a fun social event where lunch and dessert are served.

Other programs available are lunches for $1.25 suggestion, open to Seniors from town and surrounding towns and their friends.  It's here where I volunteer to teach basic computer skills, how to access wifi, the difference between data and wifi as the center offers wifi for free.

Rosemary and I understand these issues, we are both non-judgmental, supportive of one another, supportive of me as all who know me here know I struggle with Bipolar.  and aging with HIV“Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population age 18 and older every year.” (National Institute of Mental Health)."

Both of us have invited one another for coffee, made ourselves available to each other if we need to talk, we know the value of talking one on one, not with a text or email, those work and I have many friends around the World so meeting one on one isn't an option, but we do use Face time, Skype or Messenger or one of the many platforms that technology offers.

Just this past Sunday another friend asked me for help with her phone, I showed her how to take selfies and send to her family via a text where we asked if they have Skype as she wants to download and start video chatting.  

Many of our friends struggle with Isolation, Isolation doesn't discriminate it affects all walks of life and all ages.

Other Articles on Isolation and Loneliness:

Source: AgingCare.Com 


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Long Term Survivors Awareness Day June 5th, 2018

HIV Long Term Survivors’ Awareness Day

With all of the recent advances in HIV treatment and prevention, it can be easy to forget those who have been living with HIV/AIDS before these advances – before the approval for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) as prevention in 2012; before approval of the first ‘highly active antiretroviral therapy’ (HAART) that began the transformation of HIV into a chronic illness in 1996; before the approval of the first antiretroviral drug, AZT, in 1987 – before that, when HIV/AIDS was a death sentence. These people are considered Long Term Survivors, commonly known as LTS, and we honor this community on June 5th – the anniversary of the first report from the CDC on the illness that would come to be known as HIV/AIDS.
People who contracted HIV between these advances have very different lived experiences. Often dubbed “longest term survivors,” those who were HIV+ before the HAART era of treatment can suffer from forms of PTSD, not knowing whether they would live or die, and had often seen many friends wither away from the disease. Many survivors from this period also have long term side effects from early forms of therapy, which were much harsher on the liver, kidney and nervous system than current medications. Many also suffer not just from HIV, but from AIDS.
People living with HIV post HAART era, or after 1996, in many cases – though not all – had access to medications that were not only life-saving, but began the shift from HIV/AIDS as a fatal disease to a manageable chronic illness. And even more recently, going from a cocktail of drugs to only one or a few medicines a day.
Together, these LTS have witnessed monumental shifts in the way HIV/AIDS is treated, prevented and perceived, which is not to say that stigma and disparities do not exist.
Patient and Callen-Lorde Community Advisory Board member Bruce Pachter empathizes with people who have been recently diagnosed while acknowledging the perspective time has offered him. “I remember when I was first diagnosed. I made an appointment at Callen-Lorde and cancelled maybe 10 times because I knew. But I finally did it, and when the nurse called me in, I said you can’t tell me, but I know, and have to tell you. I’m HIV positive. At that point I was ready to accept my diagnosis. I had 86 T cells and a million and a half viral load. But I’ve come a long way since then.”
“Recently I was on a panel about being gay and aging, and I said, ‘Not only do I have to worry about geriatrics, but I also have to worry about how it affects my HIV status’ – and there were gasps. Someone went up to me after and said ‘You just outed yourself, how could you do that?’ And I said, ‘Everyone knows I’m gay, why do I care if they know I have HIV?’ So now, when people say to me ‘Why do you tell people?’ I say ‘Why not?’ People still have a stigma, but we have to break the stigma. If we just see each other as people instead of feelings attached to a label it’s a breakthrough. I’m proud of who I am.”
Callen-Lorde CAB Chair Stephen Pubiello agrees. “June 5th celebrates and honors long-term survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and raises awareness of their unique needs and journeys. Each year since the inception, more and more LTS groups have started all over the country, each celebrating with a party, dinner, dance etc. There are also LTS groups on Facebook where groups range 200 – 4,500 members, offering day to day support on aging, questions on medications, and day to day life situations. It’s here in these groups where I’ve gotten my own support on mental health; it’s here that I know I’m not alone.”
Today, we honor all of the long term survivors and support them in their journey not just to survive, but to thrive.
Learn more and get resources at

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dented Can

By: Stephen Puibello

Have you ever reached for a can at the supermarket only to put it back because it was dented.   I've experienced this more then I want, you see bipolar in it's darkest times...I'm that dented can.   

Bipolar in it's darkest times has me with no spark, no lite, no flame, it's dark and it's dented, and way back on the shelve.

Next time you reach and pick up a dented can, take it home and think about those of us with Bipolar in our darkest times, shine light on the can even for a few days, invite friends for coffee or dinner and share this story about the dented can, you will have helped eliminate the stigma of mental illness.

God Bless.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Art Therapy: Collage to Pope Francis

All Saints Day Collage by:  Stephen A. Puibello

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.

I sent the collage to Pope Francis asking he place folks dual diagnosed HIV+ and Bipolar Disorder.

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


 Painting by Fra Angelico

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Rescued by a Rescue Dog

Rescued by a Rescue Dog.

Kate a Scottish terrier came into my life during my sixteen years in Boston, by way of a good friend David who was traveling with his job left Kate to my care for two-three weeks at a time.

David had rescued Kate and travel from Texas to Boston her new home, where she lived me with me at our new home in Boston's Back Bay, our Marlborough Street Condo owned my me and a dear friend Edward Holle, who helped me.

It was Christmas just after my HIV and Bipolar diagnoses when things went gray, the story on my home page makes no reference of Kate , she arrived towards the end of but those those 54 days I withdrew from the outside World.

It was Christmas 1996, Rockport-Massachusetts, David his partner at that time had invited me to come up for Christmas and arranged to pick Kate and I up for the drive up, Kate still David's daddy.
The weekend was cold, no snow, we arrived and I took Kate for a walk along the beach, long walks is something we did together as it's during these walks that I was my calmest.  Long walks is why she took to me so well and I to her.

Later that evening, I was sitting by the tree and in walked Kate with a big red bow, a new leash and a gift card that said from me to you, Merry Christmas, it was then...that I was rescued by a rescue dog named Kate.

The weekend ended with our drive back to Boston, Kate on my lap, we arrived back to our home, unlocked the door, unpacked, settled in before I made way to the kitchen to find a new dog bed, dog food, dog toys, it was the gift that keeps on giving and even today although Kate who lived to be 17 years old did played a big role in my recovery from the trauma of both my serious illnesses.

Pets' make wonderful companions, for information on adopting pets please resources below.  Also, if you can't afford to own, consider becoming a dog walker and or house sitter, the part-time income is also welcome.


Pet Finder for Rescue Dogs


Become a dog walker


Monday, December 12, 2016

Ask the Doctor: Holiday Stress Strategies


EPRINT: Permission BP Hope Magazine

Enjoy the gift of peace and health through careful planning ahead, avoiding triggers, and monitoring your mood before, during, and after this year’s holiday season.

By Melvin G. McInnis, MD

With the holidays approaching, there is a childlike anticipation of good times: the parties, the jingle in the malls, the shopping, the food, and—my favorite—snow. But challenges abound. Routines are out the window. Sleep is disturbed. Alcohol flows. The treats brought into the office are just so tempting … Living with bipolar during the holidays is often not easy.

What is it about the holidays that makes this such a difficult time?

There are two main challenges I see my patients struggling with around this time of year: One is impulsivity—the tendency to do things on the spur of the moment, often with limited regard for consequences; even when manic or depressive syndrome is not present, sometimes sub-syndromal or mild symptoms persist and drive actions. The second is reactivity—the tendency to respond with extreme intensity to external stimuli; good things take one “over the top” and bad things do the polar opposite.

What can I do to stay well yet still have some fun?

First and foremost: prioritize your health. Avoid changing your medications without talking to your health-care provider, and contact him or her right away if you feel a change in mood coming on.
Plan, prioritize, and avoid impulsive activity (this includes spending!). If there are things that can be done in advance, do them. Gifts? Create a shopping list and a budget and stick to it—don’t procrastinate and then panic and overspend at the last minute. A whole new outfit? Fine if you can afford it—but even an inexpensive new scarf, tie, or earrings may be enough of a treat to satisfy that “something new” urge.

Can you recommend some survival strategies?

Plan for minimizing a reactive response by using the following tips:
Plan for fun events. Look your best—it feels good! Think carefully about what you actually prefer to do, and whose company you truly desire. Identify the “required” duties and plan to seek common ground in the conversations, avoiding controversial topics that invariably lead to arguments. Compliment your host and family. Ask about the kids. Smile.
Don’t overdo it. Carve out personal time for yourself. If you need a break, say so: “I really need an hour or so on my own to recharge.” Have a rational reason handy for declining or leaving an event early; discuss your strategy for extricating yourself, if needed, with a trusted family member.
Have a “Go To” list of activities that relax you, such as movies, music, or a book. Find a new coffee shop in another neighborhood. It is often restful to sit and relax in a calm, neutral environment after a stimulating activity.
Tell your family and friends how much they mean to you. Find a new board game to play with a willing child, and play it over and over (and again) with him or her. You are making memories!

Once the holidays are over, now what?

After the holidays, many feel a sense of letdown. Credit card statements start appearing, the grim reality of winter sets in, life feels flat and stale, somehow a few extra pounds have found their way to your bathroom scale … It can be hard to know if one is headed for a full-blown depressive episode or just a few difficult days.
Develop a post-holiday strategy, and talk it through with a close friend or family member. Do they think you are getting depressed? Invite them to go with you to your health-care provider.
It is a good idea to have an appointment scheduled for soon after the holidays, simply to review how you are doing, identify needs for the current month and year, and set some new goals. If you did overdo it, forgive yourself and take the appropriate steps to move forward.

Printed as “Ask the doctor: Holiday strategies,” Fall 2016

Has 12 Articles

Melvin G McInnisMelvin G. McInnis, MD, FRCPsych, is Thomas B. and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression and professor of psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan School of Medicine. He is also principal investigator of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund and associate director of the University of Michigan Depression Center.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I love Hillary, But I would have Voted for a Stick Figure

By: Stephen Puibello  Award-winning Writer, Educator and Presenter
      on Mental Health, HIV and Recovery

Who doesn't have the election on their mind today, if you are HIV+, if you are a women, if you are Bipolar (Mental Illness), Can't afford health care, and scared that decades of civil unrest in our Nation can be reversed by who's appointed to the Supreme Court."

I love Hillary, voted Hillary, but would have voted for a stick figure as I voted issues, as I'm an activist on mental health and HIV+ and Recovery.  I also am dual diagnosed Bipolar and HIV+ now twenty years... And I've said to my Therapist, and many of my friends jokingly:

"I feel like the Six Million Dollar Man."

The costs of my therapies, my labs, my follow-ups, my psychiatrist, the medications alone, well over a million dollars.
In a way I'm fortunate that I'm bipolar, I wish I wasn't, but I'm disabled and it qualifies me for Medicare,  public housing, assistance with buses and subways and 80% of all the costs of keeping 1/6 of the Six Million Dollar Man working.   

Imagine the greed to charge $50 - $54 thousand dollars per year just for HIV medications, so yes I'm very afraid the outcome of this election.

I'm having to make choices as some medications aren't covered by Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage.  The thought of a hospitalization frightens me.  You see I don't have Health Care for the other 20%.  I'm 58 years old and too young to purchase it.  I also require specialist.  

I agree our health care needs fixing, it needs to encompass all HIV/AIDS consumers, you see we are susceptible to cancers, strokes, dementia, all the co-morbities and for myself and others whom are dual diagnosed HIV+ and with major depression, chronic mental illness.

Recovery as a Mental Health consumer,  using the eight dimensions of Wellness, I've picked myself off the ground to where I am today.  To lose the ability to pay for med's,  the anxiety of a hospitalization, the loss of my part-time job as the debt collectors will place a lean on my wages...all of that eradicates my work and could cause:

                                    "This Humpty Dumpty to have another great fall."


The 8 Dimensions of Wellness

Bipolar, watch the video
For a comprehensive list of Resources for both HIV/AIDS and Mental Health Services.