Sharing

Today I decided to share a part of my life and my story with the person who has become special to me. This woman has become like my sister and there was always this thing between us called to HIV. 

 earlier this year I did a public service announcement that has been posted to YouTube. I wanted to show her but I didn’t know how this would affect our friendship. I am happy that I have become somewhat of a spokesperson for women with HIV yet I’m still affected by the shame and stigma that comes along with this disease.
Things actually went much better than I had anticipated. But the initial fear was quite overwhelming. It was so freeing to be able to get this weight lifted off my shoulders.
Since my last post, I have experienced some unusual medical, I want to say issues or problems, but I don’t really know if that’s the word. Something is going on that’s making my heart rate drop really low and I am passing out. I have suffered a couple of injuries as a result and not quite sure at this point what to do. I have seen my healthcare provider who is referring me to a Cardiologist. Hoping all goes well and that is nothing major.
I’ve come to the conclusion that even when we think we may be over a particular person or situation that we may have actually stuffed our feelings and move those things to the back burner. Although my ex-husband is the source of my HIV, we also had a great life together prior to. I have varying emotions when it comes to him. Some days I feel like I hate him while others I simply feel pity for him. He has to live a life where he will face double ostracizing due to the fact that he has AIDS and comes from a religious background and he’s gay. He doesn’t get the opportunity like I have in order to express how he feels and to be himself.
Anything I say beyond this point I would consider rambling so I’m just going in here.
Until next time… Take care of your health

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Holiday


Fourth of July 2017… And I am home alone as usual for the holidays since my divorce. I was not invited to any barbecues or cookouts or gatherings by any of my so-called friends. This actually takes me back to a time in my childhood when I was constantly reminded that no one wanted me. Yes I have other issues besides HIV.

 My stepfather made it known throughout my entire childhood that my biological father never wanted me. I guess it was true because he never tried to establish any type of relationship with me. Even though I had absolutely nothing to do with that I was constantly reminded that my father didn’t want me. As an adult, I have entered into… Should I say unhealthy relationships with men because of this. 

I have never really felt a part of anything. On Christmas holidays I buy gifts for people but no one ever buys me one. I give excellent birthday gifts but never get one in return. At this point I’m simply trying to figure out what’s wrong with me and why no one wants me.

At one time I used to call myself “The Throw Away.” I was the child that my father threw away and after my mother died the kid that my family threw away and I have become the friend that’s been cast aside and thrown away. And it hurts. Most holidays when people are celebrating and spending time with friends and family I’m at home by myself crying because I don’t feel wanted. People only seek me out when it’s convenient for them or if they need me. But no one seems to think that the throwaway needs somebody to.

I am currently on medication for depression so this is not the issue today I just feel this way every holiday. It’s fine for my friends to want to socialize with me when it’s beneficial for them but I never get invited to social outings or even asked if I want to do anything. The stigma behind this disease makes me feel like a social outcast most times. So I sit home with my radio and my pets comfort me.
Just what I’m feeling today… Be safe and take care of your health

Just Talking

This is getting harder to do…although it may seem that I may have things together in my life…all is not well in my life. I have been suffering from depression. I am seeing a new therapist and I have made an appointment to see a psychiatrist for possible medication. 
For a while, I was missing appointments with my HIV doctor and had stopped taking my medicine. I had even made arrangements in the event of my death. I guess in some respects that’s a good thing because if anything should happen my family won’t have to worry about my final preparations, it’s already taken care of. 

Along with not wanting to get tested…African Americans have a hard time with therapy and psychiatry. Especially those who are in my generation and older. We were taught that you keep your problems to yourself and just deal with it. For many years I believed that “what happens at home stays at home.” It has caused me countless years of pain and hurt…everyone needs someone to talk to and what better person than one who legally can’t reveal what you say unless you are a danger to yourself or someone else. Therapy also saves friendships lol. 

I recently did a public service announcement for HIV. It’s a little scary because I will now be exposed to everyone. Not only will I be exposed but it will expose my ex husband as well… I’m a little concerned about what people will say but for those that really love me and have accepted my illness they will stay. If not, they weren’t meant to be in my life in the first place. 
Sometimes I feel like although I love me…I don’t like the condition that I have found myself in. I am a triple minority at this point. I’m African American, a female, and I’m HIV positive. Despite all of that, I am grateful for having a voice and the ability to stand up for those that may not be able to. 
Until next time….take care of your health

THE DOWN SIDE


I know that I haven’t posted in awhile, but a lot has gone on with me since my last blog. 

Living with HIV is not an easy task, especially if you have other chronic diseases to go along with it. I believe that I told you that have been suffering from chronic meningitis with unknown Origins. It is really taking a toll on my body… I guess you could say  that I have been in  a sort of depression. I recently found out and there are some things going on with my heart. Too add to a host of other things…

The brain is the center of the body. It controls all of the functions of every organ in our bodies. Mine is affecting those organs. At one time I never thought about the internal consequences of having HIV and a brain disease. I often worried about losing my intellect, one day not remembering who I was, being lost in this huge City… But not once did I think that my other organs would be affected. My meningitis is uncontrolled do to my HIV and the fact that they don’t know where it’s coming from. At one time I was undetected but now viral load has increased and I am real close to having AIDS….
So what does one do? I’ll tell you what I’ve done. I have attempted to get some things in order in my life. The first thing I had to do was forgive my ex-husband,… not because he regrets what he did but because I realize I cannot have any piece or peace of mind in my life until I do. I am no longer trying to befriend him because nothing good comes out of that situation except pain for me. 
I am also attempting to close the other chapters of hurt in my life. I have a brother that was not very nice to me as a child , and at this point I believe that he is dying. My plan is to go and visit him where he lives in order to get some peace and some closure. I wish that I could say that I am at peace with my current situation but honestly that is not the case. Some days I feel like giving up…. some days it’s too hard to keep up persona, some days it’s a struggle just to get out of bed. I have started to hate doctor visits because every time I go there’s a negative report. 

This blog may seem completely pessimistic but I feel that it’s important that people know the honest serovital true about what people living with this disease really go through. The shame,…the depression, the feelings of helplessness, the STIGMA!!! The overall ups and downs of being HIV positive. 


Although I have no medical credentials, I would suggest that any person who is living with this disease seek some type of counseling or therapy. It has helped me tremendously for all the counseling and therapy in the world does not mean that we’re not going to have emotions and feel things. This is just where I’m at today…
Until next time take care of your health

Emotional Baggage

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It is the day after Christmas and I’m sitting alone in my apartment feeling lonely, hurt and unloved. I thought this year would be different for me because I thought I had someone special in my life.

I have come to find that sometimes people will use our status to hold over our heads to make us become an emotional cripple. Sometimes we search so desperately to find someone that will truly accept us for who we are that we lose ourselves in that person. I think I lost myself. I was so busy trying to make someone else happy that I neglected to take care of my own happiness.

I do not believe that we were created to be alone. I believe that God made someone for everyone, I just don’t think that I have found my someone yet.

I have allowed a man to manipulate me emotionally in order to not be alone. I have stayed in this relationship for months simply because he accepted my disease. Just because a person accepts your status does not mean that they truly accept you.

Nevertheless I attempt to put on a happy face and pretend to the public that all is well with me. It is not! Until I fully accept responsibility for my own happiness, I should not expect happiness from another.

Until next time… take care of your health.

World AIDS Day

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Remember that Tuesday December 1st is World AIDS Day. HBO is airing a special called Countdown to Zero. It will chronicle the history of the disease and the medical breakthroughs of modern science and the quest for the Cure.

Also please take the time to remember those who have lost the battle from AIDS in those living with this disease.

Until next time, take care of your health…

The Truth

Up until this point, I have shared with you my story of how I contracted this disease. There are so many things that still have not been said. Although my health is a constant struggle for me, I am starting to feel like my struggles are not in vain. I have come to believe that everything we go through is for a purpose. We can either choose to use the situations in a positive or negative way.

So often in my life, I have chosen the wrong paths. I have always let my circumstances and situations control my actions. This time around, I have chosen to let my actions dictate what circumstances and situations I create.

With that being said, I have decided to use my status to help others that may be suffering and feel alone. I have been working with several different agencies in my town to change the way that our community view women with HIV and AIDS. Often when services are offered, they target gay, transgender, and bisexual men. But what about us? Those women like me who were the victim of someone else’s selfishness, carelessness and shame. Those women that don’t have a voice. Those women whose only crime was to love and trust someone.

It is starting to be recognized that AIDS an HIV is not just a cultural problem but a societal one. The statistics state that the African American population has the highest diagnosis rating. It is not an issue that is talked about within our culture. It is a lot like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Although some of us feel the need to protect we have yet to get to the point where we feel comfortable enough to inform. A lot of this centers around the stigma associated with being HIV positive or having Aids.

I must admit that until I contracted this disease, I was properly armed with the facts, but I still lived in fear. I mentioned in one of my posts about the friend of my ex husband that had AIDS. Although I knew the ways that you contracted AIDS, I still had a fear of getting it through casual contact. It had become my mission to educate and inform the public that HIV and AIDS is nothing to fear. it is a manageable disease like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure or any other chronic disease that requires daily maintenance.

I hope to be able through this blog and other avenues to dispel the stigma, the shame and the fear associated with HIV and AIDS. When you bring your own dishes and silverware to our house not only is it insulting, it is very hurtful. HIV is not transmitted through saliva, therefore stop doing that. If we decide to kiss you on your cheek, you do not have to wipe it away. We simply want to show and be shown love and affection.

Until next time… Take care of your health