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 continue vigilant protection with intercourse, to stand down a cultural stigma better even than homophobia, and to one way or the other be able to move ahead in a global heavy with loss. As exhaustion and grief threaten to crush the activism and optimism of past years, and with new infections at the upward thrust between younger homosexual males, the problem of discovering that means in an international became the other way up is greater than an idle philosophical workout. it's a subject of mental and maybe even actual survival.
during this poignant and uncompromising new booklet, Dr. Steven Schwartzberg bargains a ground-breaking point of view on how homosexual males (and fairly HIV-positive homosexual males) locate how one can rebuild an international of that means amid the trauma and uncertainty of the AIDS problem. Eschewing either glib prescriptions for turning tragedy into triumph, and theoretical abstractions, Schwartzberg grounds his insights in his personal reports as a homosexual guy and as a practising psychotherapist, and in in-depth interviews with nineteen males residing with HIV. Ranging in age from twenty-seven to fifty, the boys comprise a building foreman, a doctor, an paintings historian, a waiter, a librarian, and a certified therapeutic massage therapist. With candor, perception, eagerness, and a extraordinary skill to percentage of themselves, they converse eloquently approximately how HIV has affected their perspectives of the area, their senses of themselves, and the way they stay their lives. Interweaving the men's tales with observations from his study and medical perform, Schwartzberg bears witness to the impressive variations a few males have finished, and the ache 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 basically as punishment. And notwithstanding he passes no judgment at the coping options he describes, Schwartzberg does insist at the very important necessity of balancing somber fact with therapeutic, life-sustaining desire. He argues that males who decide on an excessive amount of phantasm and too little fact possibility shoddy self-care and insufficient instruction for the long run, whereas those that locate no break out from fact might teeter into rage or suicidal despair.
fantastically written, with piercing know-how of the enormity of the demanding situations confronting people with HIV, this e-book celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. it really is either a prepared mental advisor and an elegiac chronicle of what lifestyles for plenty of has develop into. lightly pointing how you can an oasis of progress, power, and love that exists amid the epidemic's bleak terrain of loss, it truly is crucial interpreting for individuals dwelling with HIV, for his or her acquaintances, households, and the psychological overall healthiness pros who deal with them, and for all homosexual males grappling with the large adjustments AIDS has delivered to a neighborhood less than siege.
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Extra resources for A Crisis of Meaning: How Gay Men Are Making Sense of AIDS
Some of what we do know is promising, and some of what we are now uncertain of may soon be taken for granted. Yet there is an important flip side to discussing these issues, and a (loud) note of caution is warranted. More is at work here than the synthesis of mind and body. Equally relevant is our deep, illusory notion of personal control. Most people embrace a mind-body connection in terms of maintaining intact their belief in the supremacy of control. We tend to see the meanings or course of an illness as generating from within ourselves, as if we can (and should) have the power to control it.
When an immense challenge does descend, however, we inescapably face the need to reestablish a new framework of meaning to fit the changed reality. People meet this challenge in various ways, with varying degrees of success. Some lose their grounding and plunge into despair. Others reinterpret the potential trauma as minor or nontraumatic. Others refuse to abandon their beliefs, even though they no longer fit, for fear of losing all threads of meaning. And still others transform the trauma into growth, through an arduous process of maintaining intact some old beliefs, discarding those that no longer apply, and modifying yet others to match their new circumstances.
26 She does not completely criticize the tendency to metaphorize or ascribe meaning to illness; to some extent, she sees the need to attach meaning to life events—including illness and death — as unavoidable. But the danger comes when illness-related metaphors are taken too literally, as fact rather than symbol. When metaphor is applied rigidly, a person's unique characteristics are replaced by a one-size-fits-all fantasy about what he or she must be like as 34 Introduction the carrier of a specific disease.
A Crisis of Meaning: How Gay Men Are Making Sense of AIDS by Steven Schwartzberg