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Monday, September 28, 2015

HIV and Mental Health in the News September 2015

September 2015 In the News
courtesy of Stephen Puibello

By Stephen Karpiak Ph.D., Meredith Greene, M.D., and Richard Havlik, M.D.
From AIDS Community Research Initiative of America

"Although we are seeing new HIV infections in people over 50, the main reason for the rising number of older adults with HIV is better HIV medications. In 1985, a 20-year-old with AIDS might expect to live only to age 22. Today, that 20-year-old can look forward to an almost normal lifespan. This year, half of those living with HIV in the U.S. will be over 50. By 2020, that number may rise to 70%."

source:  San Francisco Bay Times

“Strut is a revolutionary new model for San Francisco and one that addresses a clear need—I expect that we will get between a third and half of gay and bisexual men in San Francisco coming through the doors of Strut in the very first year,” said Tim Patriarca, executive director of Strut. “Co-locating our services in a beautiful, larger, central community space will help us serve even more people with the sexual health,  substance use,mental health and community programs we are known for. With the opening of Strut, we absolutely have the potential to make a positive impact on the lives of so many people in our community.”

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Talk Therapy, Reach Out and Touch Someone.......And LQQK Up

This image is that of a person in a choke hold. Although no one has hurt me in this fashion, there have been more days in bed from depression this year, then in all the years I'm living with substance(s) abuse and mental health and multiple traumas that stem back 50 years, age 6 to be exact, a young boy.

Could it have gotten worse, yes.

Has it gotten better, yes, but it took reliving some of that trauma. Why did I go there,?  Know it was out of desperation as I'm an aging gay man--dual diagnosed with both HIV and Bipolar disorder, experiencing real fears of life alone, as with age comes hospitalization, and tests that I have put off for the last two years, possible dementia, as I'm experiencing some of the symptoms of  HIV-AIDS Neurological Disorder.

The question, does depression and substance abuse still haunt me, well the depression does, the loneliness does, and today I'm clean, the secret, old fashion, pick up the phone and talk to each other, talk therapy OMG, can it be that simple, yes.

Thank you Noah who I just hung up the phone,  another friend, we call them chapters, when I call him, thank you Marc for each time you talk with me, for each time you don't judge me, for having you into your home, trusting me.  Thank you Virgil who I met on my first ALC ride in 2006, your texts, Skype calls, friendship.

I love my friends who get it, who do call, as talk therapy is what's missing today.  That and eye contact, no one looks at each other.  You wonder why massage therapy and chiropractors are booming, every one's necks are extended down.

I'm clean today, thanks to me, thanks to those mentioned above, and others. I'm alive today drawing on all that I have taught myself, read in self help books, trying all that is available to those seeking recovery.

Is all of this manageable?  The answer, yes, as I have staved off death multiple times now.

For all of you who know me, those of you a handful who are part of my story of drug use, and those who don't know me that well, those from ALC and Braking the Cycle AIDS rides who may live with what I got.  The choke hold is no more, you all know now .how deep the roots go.  Not even my family, my brother, cousins, nieces and nephews didn't know what I just revealed here today,, except two.  Thank You Jan and Peggy.

Many people have gotten me here, more then you can imagine, I've never judged, nor should you, as that's the root of stigma and multiple stigma's, words that didn't exist when I was a boy of 6, if they did I didn't know them, but I experience first hand, being alone, being alienated, being different, not fitting in.

Above where I say, "many people have gotten me here, more then you can imagine."and that I never judged, know that I'm talking about substance abuse.  Substance abuse is an illness, and like any illness, people are inflicted, I'm inflicted, we have family, friends, from all walks of life.  Don't judge us, show compassion.  Look up from our devices, look at those who don't have them and wonder why, what's their story. what's yours?

Do me a favor after reading this, reach out and touch someone, talk therapy is key, it helped me, continues to help me a consumer of HIV-AIDS, Bipolar and Substance Abuse,   Also, if you are like me, a consumer you to need to reach out, ask a friends to call you, especially if you are alone like me.

Thank you to:

NAMI, National Alliance on Illness and the LGBT Listening Session 

Mark L. Davis, Founder of Pink and Blues,  my mentor and friend.

Deanna Troust, my Mentor , I'm so happy I decided to go back be honest and not drop out.

Thanks to all of the 2012-2013 Voice Awards Fellows who support me and inspire me,.  Story Telling is the best therapy, I think you all would agree,

Thanks to Jeff Bell Co-Founder of the A2A Alliance, and all the Advocates, some I know personally, others I've had the pleasure to listen to, and many others I look forward to meeting at our first conference.