WELCOME TO MY WORLD
As a gay man living with HIV, mental illness and addiction who is navigating the rocky road of recovery, my mission is to help others who struggle with these issues. My message: You are not alone. Speaking out about your challenges raises awareness and gives you a sense of purpose. If I can talk about it, so can you!
My story began in 1996 when I lost my 66-year-old mother to breast cancer. Two months later I was diagnosed HIV positive and my life went gray. I was extremely depressed. What’s more, soon after that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder—formerly known as manic depression—which is a form of mental illness. I went for a walk on the Charles River in Boston, then went home and for close to two months didn't leave. I can remember early on needing someone to accompany me to my doctors’ appointments as I wasn't hearing what was being explained to me. I became detached from my community, stopped working, and really just wanted to let go, but I didn't and went on to create this Web site in 2004. It is a work in progress, and is the core of my recovery from both substance addiction and mental illness.
On this site I feature a blog with my thoughts on these issues as well as research on HIV, mental illness, and addiction – all for the benefit of my peers. After I was diagnosed, I was searching for answers. The more I read the more I realized I was not alone. I learned about the stigma associated with HIV and the compound stigma associated with HIV and mental illness. I hope this site helps you do the same. Please look around, read and comment on my blog, or send me an email to connect. I welcome your feedback.
NOTE: I'm not a doctor. I'm not a health professional. I write articles about health topics. Talk to a real, live professional before changing any health treatments or for any mental health questions or concerns.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Click here for my blog
"One population identified as under-served relative to its need is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Nearly 1 in 4 LGBT New Yorkers—report having any kind of mental health disorder, this trend is consistent with the national research. The research also suggests that people who are LGBT, particularly youth, are more likely to attempt suicide, and more likely to suffer from co-occurring disorders, particularly substance abuse." (New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2008)
"Dr. Glenn J. Treisman, MD, Ph.D., who is Director of the AIDS Psychiatry services at John Hopkins Hospital estimates that at any given time 1 in 5 HIVers is suffering from a major depression and require psychiatric treatment." (HIV Plus Magazine March/April 2009)
18 million people have a serious mental illness. A reasonable estimate suggests that about 720,000 are LGBT (Reducing Stigma and Discrimination among People who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, March 12, 2008 SAMSHA).