HIV and a Healthy Outlook

Updated:Sep 14,2015

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What Can I Do When Living With HIV is Overwhelming? Image for Video Play Button (Arrow) for Video What Can I Do When Living with HIV is Overwhelming?
Length: 2:06

Dr. Paul DenOuden, clinical specialist in HIV, understands what it takes to manage life with chronic health problems. Sometimes life just feels too overwhelming. However, even during those times, there is hope. When moving forward is difficult, you don't have to give up. Instead, you can slow down, simplify the tasks, and move forward in manageable steps.

Living with HIV: A Personal Transformation, Image for Video Play Button (Arrow) for Video Living with HIV: A Personal Transformation
Length: 5:52

N. Mychael Patterson knows from experience that change is difficult, and he talks from the heart about what it took for him to realize the cost of his own risky behaviors. Mychael describes with honesty and candor how he went from victim-living with HIV to an empowered lifestyle, taking full ownership and responsibility for his choices and his health.

Care for your mind and emotions

Managing any chronic health issue may, at times, seem overwhelming and you may feel discouraged when progress is slow or other setbacks occur. Depression* is often reported by HIV-positive individuals, and thoughts of suicide** are much more common among people living with HIV than people who are HIV negative. However, depression is treatable, and your health is manageable! 

Let today be about today!

By focusing on small steps each day, you can begin to feel better over time. Discouragement often stems from one of these thoughts patterns:

  • Ruminating or focusing on regrets about the past
  • Viewing the present situation as too overwhelming to be helped
  • Worrying about the future or focusing on what you do not have

The past cannot be changed, and the future can only be shaped one day at a time.

Accept the present

It takes practice to train your mind to focus on what is good and possible in your life. Over time, as you dwell less on your worries and focus more on your joys and possibilities, you can enjoy all that life has to offer you.

Identify your smaller goals and tasks

Managing chronic conditions can be addressed like a large-scale project. You identify your goals and break them down into manageable smaller-sized tasks. By making small changes consistently, you will see and enjoy the new patterns that emerge over time.

*If you've been feeling hopeless for several days in a row, be sure to let your healthcare provider know. If you've considered suicide, depression is certainly affecting your perspective. Your life is valuable and you can feel better. Take a depression screening test from the National Mental Health Association.

**If you are currently suicidal, seek emergency help now.