“Everyone wants to have someones arms around them when they fall asleep at night”
I would like to welcome the newest member of our writing team, Stephen Puibello. In his first post with us, he talks about disclosing HIV, insomnia and bipolar status in romantic relationships. Thanks for sharing with us, Stephen!
Full disclosure; HIV, bipolar and insomnia, and why full disclosure is important, not just for the safety of transmission for the man you are with, but for your own anxieties around being a dual diagnosed HIV and bipolar, mental health consumer, as insomnia for me is extremely problematic. It has ruined two relationships as both partners didn’t understand the severity, all they noticed was I wasn’t in bed when they woke up, I know not the right men for me. Not easy, but necessary if you are to find Mr. right, he’s out there.
I met someone last summer- of course when traveling- who on the second night of day two asked me to spend the night. Knowing about the past problems, my anxiety kicked in, not so much on my HIV disclosure, although can be hard, it’s nowhere as needing to disclose you suffer from insomnia and bipolar, so I needed to make an excuse to leave when I wanted so much to stay.
The third night of ten wonderful days, he said out of the blue how’s your sleeping habits, my reply was problematic but that I have medications that will knock me out. Curious I asked why did you ask and he went on to share that he’s in open relationship and was reading me, as his partner lives with bipolar. Wow, talk about gaydar, he had bipolardar if there is such a word.
For the first time in a long time I was laying with a man, with no anxiety about my HIV, no anxiety about my bipolar, (which I do manage very well, with medication), and again no anxiety from the insomnia as we lay there talking, cuddling and him saying in a loving way, it’s time for you to take your medication, period! And in my double cocktail, both my HIV and psychotropic medications, I dosed off.
If any of you have shared this experience, after many attempts in finding the right medication I was prescribed Seroquel which put me to sleep in his arms in a deep medicated sleep. The lowest dosage is 25 mg and me being a bear, that pill will put me out withing one minute, and sleep as much as 10 – 14 hours. So with my psychiatrist on board I use a pill cutter and take half, 12.5 mg and sleep a good 7-9 hours and woke up everyday rolling over to find one another.
I was happy to meet him, as we had a good ten days, we are still friends and he showed me that there’s hope out there for me and although it hasn’t happened, I learned that full disclosure around not just my HIV for the safety of the other partner, but for my own anxieties, the very real insomnia that kept me away from dating is something that the partner needs to know if they are to wanting to get to know you on a deeper level.
I know, it’s very hard to do that, but I’m hoping to meet someone again, with the same level of understanding, if this is you, if you’ve been here, know you are not alone and that as we age with our HIV the stigma of not just that, but that of bipolar is slowing taking hold.
Reprint from my blog, parked on my website.
Original post: http://p2pyouarenotalone.blogspot.in/2015/01/full-disclosure-hiv-bipolar-and.html