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Krisso's Story

I am a 25y/o heterosexual man who tested HIV+ in Jan '00.......

When I was a child I was interested in the usual things boys are - soccer, athletics,school etc. I lived with my family,my father(a man who was aggressive and violent towards his children and also very much into control),my mother (an artistic lady very spiritually minded)and my older brother(who I followed like a shadow). We were a traditional Australian 80's family,dad pulled in the money by self-made hard working ventures(due to his lack of education)and managed to provide fairly. Mum attended to the domestic duties(and she had a uni. degree) and agreed through fear(like us children)that whatever dad said WENT!

I loved my father because he encouraged and praised me in most things I did, when my brother & I discovered surfing(now the love of my life)in our early teens he used to drive us to the beach at 4a.m.!On the days my father was happy he was an absolute HOOT!But my father had a huge problem,he couldn't keep his anger under control. When he used to "EXPLODE" it was an ugly and frightening experience!Little did I know at the time the horrific scenes I was witnessing were the behavioural patterns I was learning on how to deal with anger!

During my mid-teens my mother began a spiritual journey into eastern religion (which I didn't understand)I was too busy surfing & trying to lose my virginity. Eastern religion empowered my mother to lead her own life and divorce my father after 17yrs of marriage and continued physical abuse of her sons. My mother found a job to support herself and my brother soon followed to live with her. As it was ultimately our decision who we wanted to live with,my brother had decided to live with my mother as he had just begun a university degree(mum was obviously his preferred role model)and silly me stayed with dad for his protection and better income(My mother was doing it hard,my brother was supported financially on a government study scheme,and I was still a minor yet to get assistance)

Two years later I had a huge disagreement with my father over a woman he had been arranged to marry. He &I had never met this woman before and I found it to be absolute stupidity. When she came to Australia I could see that she was only marrying him for money as they hardly communicated due to their language difference. He had planned on selling up & moving overseas with her. I kept thinking something bad was going to happen to him & tried to convince him to change his mind. Finally I gave him an ultimatum , choose between this woman or your son... he chose her. This left me angry & dissapointed...off to mums I went.

One year passed with no contact with my father and I heard he had moved overseas. Time passed once more....I had become an angry,aggressive adult...dropping out of school(which I did so well at!)smoking marijuana daily(introduced to me by my father)bingeing on alcohol,losing focus of the things I wanted to achieve in life (an education,a career,a normal healthy lifestyle!).I had become all these things I blamed it on my father...that was my excuse. My mother(who has always stuck in there)was growing increasingly concerned about my episodes(also quite frightened, as I had brought things back into her life she was trying to put behind)and wanted me to seek professional help...I avoided it.

Further down the track I decided to out of my mothers and try to put everything behind me(left unresolved)giving her space,and try and finish my education........ so I bottled up my anger and put my head down(still smoking the dreaded weed on weekends).In no time I was back to topping most of my classes. At times I used to think how my father might be doing,I dreamt about him sometimes. One night I dreamt I visited him overseas,I went to his village and when I saw him he didn't speak, look happy or sad but just pointed to a hill. So I followed the grass worn track to the top of the hill where I saw all the possessions he had bought for me...my first pushbike,surfboard etc.

A week or two later my mother arrived at my door with a look of devastation on her face. I knew right away my father was dead. It turned out he was murdered by his new wife's' brothers who were later tried but found innocent with lack of evidence. My anger erupted once again and I ceased my studies,returned to heavy marijuana use,heavy drinking,& became extremely aggressive & violent towards people. I used marijuana as a medication to suppress my anger and it wasn',t long before I fell into depression.

Six or so months later(still having no professional help)I decided to try and find happiness by getting a girlfriend. I previously had experienced a half a dozen or more sexual encounters only with girls I had met at bars or parties, so I thought getting serious with a girl might turn my life around. A huge effort was put in to win a girl who showed interest in me and so first (& only) relationship began. I maintained this swallowing my anger once again and had a couple of o.k years doing different jobs,taking trips overseas in pursuit of surf(a childhood dream)& enjoying time with my girlfriend.(Meanwhile my marijuana use continued,but I thought it kept me in control).My girlfriend had become my shield ...

Three years into our relationship my girlfriend & I had problems starting to arise as most relationships do. These problems eventually got the better of me and my anger & aggression consumed me once again,becoming a control freak & copying the way my father dealt with situations,aggressive,abusive,but not violent(NOT that the former are excused)towards my girlfriend. She tried to hang in there(she really loved me I have a lot of good qualities)but like my mother decided life would be happier without me.(Definitely better for the both of us in the long run)

I began to take my frustrations out by taking on as much work as possible, working 10+ hours a day,6 days per week ,in a seriously physical demanding job. I also hated this type of work with a passion,I thought I was capable of much better , but I charged on reguardless. My marijuana habit became out of control,morning noon & night I smoked(god knows how I kept on working)and my hard earned money was wasted. Faster & faster , harder & harder I worked, my boss loved it but my body & mind did not.

I obtained my energy at work through my anger,I thought about my setbacks in life constantly, the loss of my father,the loss of my girlfriend, my marijuana habit,my lack of education,achievement and direction. I had no self worth,confidence,control or awareness. Eventually I made the realisation that I was not the person I wanted to be. Burnt out,sleep deprived,depressed I became suicidal. Poor old mother(who I moved in with after my relationship breakdown)was watching her youngest son fading away,and hearing him wish for death.

I finished up at work and ran away from things overseas where I decided to stop smoking marijuana(which only lasted 1 week).I also partied a lot ,so I was drinking again,the feelings of suicide remained. I had sex with a few ladies...unprotected. I returned home a little better but soon after became extremely depressed,aggressive,violent & psycotic...I became angry at the world and felt I wanted to harm myself and others. I agreed with my mother to seek professional help.

I was shuffled around with different doctors,psycs etc. It seemed every time I went back they were transferred ,I was becoming angry I made the decision to go in the first place. I had though, found a great GP who seemed keen for me to get the help I needed. In the process of getting my referral's from my GP I took a blood test for a general check of cell counts,and thought I would go all the way with malaria,Heps and HIV since I had been overseas. A few days later I went back and yes all tests o.k except I tested HIV+(now 6 moths after my unprotected sex)I was stunned!

I was referred to an HIV specialists department for further testing..the people were very helpful in offering information,I informed them of my current depression and in no time I had an appointment to see a psychologist working out of the department. I felt very comfortable talking with her as she seems she really enjoys her work. She also opened other doors for me too ...a psychiatrist(to monitor antidepressant medication)...a nurse (who offers support and information to drug and alcohol patients)...support groups discussing various topics...a dietician(who I am yet to see)

I have now worked with my psychologist on issues such as relapse prevention (hints to kick my marijuana habit...I have not smoked or drank for 2 months) problem solving,stress management,self esteem and anger management(which has made me realise I am able to change the way I react when I get angry). Talks on healthy life style have educated me on healthy diet and exercise The best thing is I am getting continuation with my appointments with a team of people dedicated to and enjoying their work. My first test results came back good T-cells well above 900.

After testing HIV+ I decided it was time to change my ways (which I thought was impossible before)and am right into enjoying my life. I now, through my new view on life feel proud within myself for the steps I have taken towards becoming the person I want to be...kind,caring & HAPPY.

I live life to enjoy the moment,so many things I took for granted...the feeling of sunshine warming your body...the breeze on your face...the beauty of a rising sun & natures' many gifts.

Yes you sure could say HIV changed my life! Now I,m living.

Added to the site June, 2000.

Read other stories in this topic: Phil's story

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