By Steven Schwartzberg
For homosexual males, the calls for of the AIDS epidemic are huge, immense and unrelenting. despite HIV prestige, all are known as directly to preserve vigilant protection with intercourse, to stand down a cultural stigma higher even than homophobia, and to in some way have the option to move ahead in an international heavy with loss. As exhaustion and grief threaten to crush the activism and optimism of prior years, and with new infections at the upward push between younger homosexual males, the problem of discovering that means in a global grew to become the other way up is greater than an idle philosophical workout. it's a subject of mental and even perhaps actual survival.
during this poignant and uncompromising new booklet, Dr. Steven Schwartzberg deals a ground-breaking point of view on how homosexual males (and rather HIV-positive homosexual males) locate how you can rebuild a global of which means amid the trauma and uncertainty of the AIDS drawback. Eschewing either glib prescriptions for turning tragedy into triumph, and theoretical abstractions, Schwartzberg grounds his insights in his personal reviews as a homosexual guy and as a working towards psychotherapist, and in in-depth interviews with nineteen males residing with HIV. Ranging in age from twenty-seven to fifty, the lads contain a building foreman, a doctor, an artwork historian, a waiter, a librarian, and a certified therapeutic massage therapist. With candor, perception, eagerness, and a amazing skill to percentage of themselves, they communicate eloquently approximately how HIV has affected their perspectives of the realm, their senses of themselves, and the way they stay their lives. Interweaving the men's tales with observations from his learn and scientific perform, Schwartzberg bears witness to the awesome alterations a few males have comprehensive, and the discomfort of meaninglessness that weighs others down. He strives to discover why a few view HIV as a catalyst for swap or development, whereas others see it in basic terms as punishment. And even though he passes no judgment at the coping innovations he describes, Schwartzberg does insist at the very important necessity of balancing somber truth with therapeutic, life-sustaining desire. He argues that males who pick out an excessive amount of phantasm and too little truth hazard shoddy self-care and insufficient guidance for the longer term, whereas those that locate no break out from fact may perhaps teeter into rage or suicidal despair.
fantastically written, with piercing information of the enormity of the demanding situations confronting people with HIV, this publication celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. it really is either a willing mental advisor and an elegiac chronicle of what existence for lots of has turn into. lightly pointing tips on how to an oasis of development, power, and love that exists amid the epidemic's bleak terrain of loss, it's crucial analyzing for individuals dwelling with HIV, for his or her acquaintances, households, and the psychological future health execs who deal with them, and for all homosexual males grappling with the large alterations AIDS has delivered to a neighborhood below siege.
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Extra resources for A Crisis of Meaning: How Gay Men Are Making Sense of AIDS
5 These differences are of course important. Yet much remains similar: All people with HIV need to make sense of a potentially overwhelming trauma and to face the challenge of recreating meaning in life. I also write for psychotherapists who work with people affected by HIV and AIDS. To such individuals on the "front lines" of the epidemic,6 I offer these ideas as an alternative template for understanding the 16 Introduction psychological impact of life amid an ongoing crisis. And I ask that psychotherapists temporarily hold in abeyance much of what is, in less extreme circumstances, of great value in our current understanding of psychological functioning.
Whatever the particular source, we tend to believe that we live in a world governed by ultimate justice. We also extend this belief in justice to how we view people. We see, or Meaning: The Perennial Quest 21 look for, justice in a person's life—a connection between a person's character and what happens to him or her. The universe is not only just, we assume, but this justice is based on morality, and individual lives should reflect this basic abstract law of moral justice. In other words, good and bad life events are not distributed randomly or by chance: People get what they deserve.
What particular qualities or traits do gay men attribute to AIDS and HIV? What metaphors and images are conjured to paint the experience? What associations or connotations offer a glimmer of understanding? I call these specific meanings "representations" of AIDS and HIV Put simply, these representations are the ways gay men (and particularly seropositive gay men) see AIDS and HIV They are how people have come to understand, make sense of, or mentally depict AIDS and HIV in their own life or the world around them.
A Crisis of Meaning: How Gay Men Are Making Sense of AIDS by Steven Schwartzberg