HIV and depression

katie06's picture

I’ve fought depression for nearly 15 years and HIV for only 3.  Over the past 15 years, I have consistently taken my prescription anti-depressant medications.  But after being diagnosed with HIV 3 years ago, something stopped me. I’m not exactly sure what.

I suppose I fell into a depression after being diagnosed with HIV, which should have been all the more reason to take my anti-depression medications.  But it seemed to be more of an excuse.  I sporadically took my anti-depressants over the past 3 years and completely stopped 6 months ago when my doctor advised me that my CD4 count had began to decrease and I would need to begin taking HIV meds soon.  

This seemed to spiral my depression even further.  I felt I needed a “break” from medication.  I was about to begin a life-long regimen of medication, required to keep me healthy, not just happy, but healthy.  This was truly going to be a life-long commitment.  

Now, 6 months later, I’m miserable.  Miserable to the point of being angry.  Angry at the world and angry at myself. I’ve realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors by taking a “break.”  I only hurt myself and my family.  It’s easy to forget how my actions affect those I love so much.

This morning, I took my first dose of anti-depressants in 6 months.  I need to be happy again.  I need to feel whole again.  I need to do this for myself, but also my family.  I have begun to accept the fact that I will be on medication for the rest of my life.  But it is because of these medications that I will be able to live a long, healthy and even happy life!

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dealingwithHIVgirl's picture

you are truely an inspiration. i am going through many of the same things and it is helpful to know others are out there.

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jae001's picture

Have Prozac will travel! LOL I am right there with you girl. If my famly wants to live with a sane woman I take my Prozac! I have been taking medications since 1994. Some of them easier than others, changed meds 4 times. I have accepted that I must take my HIV medications for me and my Prozac for everyone else... & found a good tharapist
Jae

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kmartel's picture

Thanks for your post on such an important topic! Depression is very common in women living with HIV. If anyone needs more information, we encourage you to check out The Well Project's info sheet on this topic: http://bit.ly/kAlj8

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Judith Auerbach, Ph.D., is a public sociologist, independent science and policy consultant, and adjunct professor in the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to helping women with HIV.

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