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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, September 18, 2013

6th Annual HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day
September 18th, 2013

I want to start with a blog within a blog, as only yesterday at age 54, 55 in February dually diagnosed both HIV+ and with bipolar disorder, for me over all wellness is crucial.  But depression is only one of the many health concerns, others are dementia, insulin resistance, high cholesterol and triglycerides, infections,, medication interactions to name a few. 

There's so much that can be said, I was reading all afternoon and I ended up on  (Services & Advocacy For Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders) Founded in New York City in 1978, please visit the SAGE website and make a donation.  SAGE serves the entire aging population, HIV/AIDS is just one of the many services provided.  To me, SAGE is about socialization.  One friend R... invited me to see Broadway shows as SAGE provided two tickets everyday.  Being HIV+ and living with Bipolar Disorder I'm in what I call a, "different awellness bility," and with that my income is fair, so I was one of several friends he's calls.

Socialization is part of over all wellness.  Social is developing healthy relationships with those around you. It is contributing to your community.  

Why I went to the SAGE website, who knows more about HIV /AIDS and aging then an advocacy group that services elders, from their category on HIV/AIDS I found this, just one of the facts listed:

"The demographic face of HIV/AIDS is a graying one. Research shows that by 2015, one in two people with HIV/AIDS will be age 50 and older. Overall, the rates of HIV/AIDS among older adults 50+ have increased more than 61 percent from 2001 to 2007. This population of older adults with HIV/AIDS includes long-time survivors, newly diagnosed people (often late) and newly infected people. The advent of HIV medications in the 1990s has allowed many people to survive and age with HIV—a first for this generation." 

I have another aging buddy, he's 67 and is living with a gay couple, they are friends and together they own a home as my aging buddy doesn't want to live alone, so this works well.  I suggest this to others as there aren't that many 55+ GLBT communities, they exist, but not enough for everyone, plus not everyone can afford them, so sharing ownership works very well.

Pick up the phone, call your friends who are diagnosed  with HIV/AIDS. and aging. Don't text, don't email, catch up, mention why you are calling, if you haven't seen them in awhile make plans, don't assume all is well even though they may say so.

Happy HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day.

For additional resources please view these:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Back to Basics, One Step at a Time

Too few calories, depression a symptom of bipolar disorder, HIV+ sixteen years, age 54  I sometimes just don't know what's causing the drain.  Add to that insomnia, low testosterone, fatigue, anxiety, panic attacks, body fat redistribution, mania, mood swings, I can't remember the others, ah! memory loss, ha!, seriously I call it dead zones borrowed from when your cell phone loses it's signal. Is it that or is it HIV related dementia?

Cycling and not the kind you do on a bike, the kind that's in your head., neuropathy,  sciatica, am I seeing things, migraines, Are you dizzy yet?  

I make a lot of jokes, a lot of excuses, I'm relying on my doctors to much, I'm popping pills more and more, I joke about it, often saying, "I have a pill for that." and I do.  I have pills to fall asleep, pills to bind me, pills to help me manage my mood swings, pills for depression, and then the mother of all pills, those for anxiety and the panic attacks, I've had six, since being diagnosed in 1996.

The first one was after I came out of almost two months in my house, I had just diagnosed and when I finally ventured out, it hit me, I was in a park not far from my house and I swear I was having a heart attack.

"Experiencing a panic attack has been said to be one of the most intensely frightening, upsetting, and uncomfortable experiences of a person's life and may take days to initially recover from.," 1. 

The next one was in 2007, then 2010, then 2011, the last two within three weeks of one another--end of August and this past Wednesday.  I have to thank an angle in my life, M, when you read this and I know you do, please know it's why I'm writing today's post on back to basics, one step at a time.

Clearly I'm a survivor, to get this far and achieve so much I'm determined M to stop making jokes, stop making excuses and take care of myself.

First on my list, up and out.  No emails for breakfast, have you juice, your oatmeal, out on your sneakers and go for a walk and that I did today.  I took the bus to main street, Fort Lee, walked 1/2 a mile to the cemetery to visit my folks, fill them in and then I walked 3.6 miles home, for a total of just over 4 miles.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate, folks when walking take a water bottle, I did and want to make sure you do as well, for more information on walking click --> Here.

1. Panic Attack

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September is National Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month. This year's theme is "join the voices for recovery together on pathways to wellness.

Recovery month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover

Recovery has been viewed a process of (re)gaining physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional balance when one encounters illness, crisis, or trauma. As a process, the person living with a mental illness learns to accept the illness and its associated challenges while adjusting attitudes, beliefs, and sometimes both life roles and goals. For some people recovery is the ability to work, to live in housing of one’s own choice, to have friends and intimate relationships, and to become a contributing member of one’s community. Recovery is a process of healing and restoring health and wellness during episodes of illness and life stressor's. Recovery is not equated with cure but rather viewed as an on-going process in which a person may be vulnerable to relapse and exacerbation's of symptoms

A good path to recovery are the eight steps found below on the wellness wheel.  Look at all of them, see where you are on each and work on bringing each of these into your life on your road to recovery.

Additional Resources:

W.R.A.P.  Wellness Recovery Action Plan

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Depression Bipolar Support Alliance

Mood Disorder Support Group