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Monday, January 13, 2014

Embracing Dual Diagnosis in 2014

Embracing Dual Diagnosis  in 2014  

I just woke up from a Seroquel-induced sleep with money on my mind. Money creates stress for many people, but especially for someone who is mentally challenged yet hasn't bounced a check or missed a payment in 9 years, 3 months. The challenge stems from way back in my youth, but is really rooted in the diagnoses of bipolar disorder and HIV+ that I received in 1996. These diagnoses forced me onto disability so that I could sustain myself while starting my recovery. Well, it's January 2014 and the struggle is still there, but so is my gift for raising awareness and helping others. I now struggle with giving back while still focusing on my recovery, and that struggle can cause some anger.

People get angry; it’s a normal human emotion. My anger isn't toward anyone else, it's toward myself. I also blame God to a degree. He gave me this beautiful gift that enables me to do what I call kindness projects, real tangible projects that help humanity, but there is always an undercurrent of financial stress. When I was a young man my dad would often say to me, "When are you going to make money from any of these projects?" My answer would always be, "Dad, it's not always about money."

Now I see that that was his way of trying to teach his son that even in the face of challenge, making money is important. To this day I struggle with money, but I use the gift to help others. Why would I not want to help raise funds for nonprofits struggling to keep its doors open? Why wouldn’t I send stock tips around the globe (a recent pick is up 54 percent since July 2013!)? And while I’m doing these things, I’m writing about my dual diagnoses and carrying a heavy cross as I fight compound stigma, from the world for my being HIV+ and from my community for being gay and bipolar. That’s a whole other story, but one with a happy ending, as my dad got to experience part of my life as the Bipolar Bear. My diagnoses bring me joy, pain, present barriers, educate me, and most important, help me raise awareness within the gay community, which tends to embrace the HIV+ but stand back from the mental health piece. As we begin 2014, I propose a toast to the people who, this year, will become a little more aware that HIV and mental illness can go hand in hand, and that the afflicted can and do recover.


Seroquel  for insomnia.

List of People With Bipolar Disorder

The Advantages of being Bipolar the gift.

Stock Tip referenced

Other Real Tangible Projects that help humanity:

raised $14,000

raised $17,000      Please make a donation, 2014  thank you.

raised $1500.00 towards a $10K matching gift

Think Tank 1996 - 2000

Stop The Hate, under Governor William Weld, Boston

Bipolar Bear project

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mentioning the word Mental Health in a recent interview

January 6, 2014

Hi Peter,

Re:  Mentioning the word Mental Health in a recent interview

I'm just catching up on what's going on and listened to your interview on POZ I AM thank you, always a pleasure to listen to you speak.

I got to the part in the segment where you were talking about taking time off, taking care of yourself and you mentioned both mental health and physical health, thus my post as I'm both HIV+ and living with bipolar disorder, it's so refreshing to hear the word mental health uttered in the GLBT community.

Another word stigma, anyone living with HIV/AIDS knows this word and has felt it and knows how it can prevent you from so much. Now think about compound stigma, imagine how hard it is for those of us who are living with HIV/AIDS and also diagnosed depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, mental health, think how it can prevent us from doing. 1 in 5 HIV+ individuals are living with compound stigma.

I was at the  community meeting  meeting in May, mental health was why I attended it was mentioned, but it was glossed over. During the open mic no one but me stood up and said, "I don't have questions, I have resources."

Like at the night at the meeting this past May when I stood up, I'm standing up again today to offer any assistance and ask that you add me to your resources within the community when mental health issues come up.

Again, thank you for the POZ I AM interview and all that you've done, continue to do. Happy New Years to you and yours.


Stephen Puibello,
Consumer Advocate, CPS
for HIV and Mental Health, since 2004
NAMI-GLBT Leadership Group
SAMHSA Voice Awards Fellow

Useful Links:

"Living On the Edge Gay Men, Depression And Risk-Taking Behaviors"
By Spencer Cox, Executive Director The Medius Institute For Gay Men’s Health

Wearing Red and Green
"An HIV-positive advocate reminds us about the need for mental health services."

"Bipolar disorder common in HIV patients," (source:

"HIV and psychiatric comorbidities: What do we know and what can we do?" (source: Psychology and AIDS Exchange Newsletter | January 2013)

"AIDS Stigma"  (source:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Peer to Peer, I recommend it. The Benefits are Endless


Peer to Peer, I recommend it.  The Benefits are Endless.  One of those benefits for me was meeting a new friend in my life, a keeper.  Juds and I met in Milwaukee this Summer we both took the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance Certified Peer to Peer Specialist Training, we both passed.  Since returning home we've kept in touch.  There's a reason we make good peers, please read about Juds in an article I fished off the net.   Juds and like so many of my readers are, Good People!!!!

"Juds began volunteering when her daughter was in kindergarten. A church-driven community meal program existed where a rotation of parishes provided hot meals to the hungry. Organizers distributed recipes and a grocery list; congregation members did the work. "I had found something really important. There was something about the process (of volunteering) that resonated with me in that place where there was need," she says."   (source:  The Journal Times)

For information on the next DBSA Peer to Peer Training click --> Here.

"Becoming a Peer Specialist turns what I've been through as a result of mental illness into something positive, powerful and useful.

–Michele, Certified Peer Specialist

Additional Resources on Peers: