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How to move forward?

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Coffeechick88:
Hello, all I am new to this forum.  I am 25 and have been infected for 6 years.  I have had a hard time with this.  I was infected when I was raped by my boyfriend at the time.  That also was my first sexual experience.  I have come across lots of negativity because I am HIV+.  My own family was afraid of me--I couldn't eat the same dishes, they made me wash my clothes separately, etc.  It's better now because they were willing to get educated.  One of my jobs I was fired from because a friend of mine was afraid I could infect the populous.  I am in the health care profession now and even there is a huge stigma and much ignorance about it.  I think much of it has to do in the area of the US I live in.

I am rather outgoing on the outside, I have lots of friends, I date, but since then I've never been able to get close to anyone because of that fear of what they will do if they find out about my status.  I've only had sex with those I know to be HIV+ but there isn't any closeness--I end up breaking with them.  It's rather exhausting to be the one responsible for their reactions.  Even the HIV organizations I volunteer with I still have that fear of letting them see my vulnerability.  I have handled this mainly by not dealing with it.

I would love to move forward.  I would love to be able to not care what people think, to do my part to help end stigma, and to be close to people without fear.  The question is, how does one do that?

manchesteruk:
Hi Coffee,

Welcome to the forums I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to come to terms with the way you were infected.  I had the same fear as you at the start of people finding out.  The only way I could deal with that was to tackle it head on instead of putting it to the back of my mind and not dealing with it.  I told the people I wanted to know as soon as I could.  There were obviously some people I knew wouldnt take it well so didnt tell but on the whole the reactions of everyone were much better than I expected.  I would imagine the negativity you've have experience from other people will have made it very diffficult for you to be open about it and thats understandable.  There is still a shocking lack of understanding about HIV I was most definately guilty of that myself the only way that and the stigma are going to go away is with education.

I think most people here would agree that one of the largest parts of dealing with hiv is the stigma that comes attached to it.  I remember someone on here saying the truth sets you free that of course doesnt mean you should go round telling everyone.  Diclosure to the people I wanted to know for me was what helped me move on with this just not feeling like there was a ten ton weight on my shoulders all the time I was having to deal with it on my own.  Have you tried out support groups things like that?

Chris

Life:
Coffee Welcome to the forums...  I think you can find alot of support to all your questions here... Alot of sage wisdom oozes here..  I 2 am dealing with "what people think".  Sometimes I do not care what people think..  Other times like today, I will be talking to a co-worker who found out my status without me realizing it... So I plan on meeting this head on.  I think the worst thing we can do is tuck tail and run..  If we are not aggressive in our lives, I think I will be mowed down.   If we are always moving forward and not back on our agenda's whatever they may be related to living with hiv, we at least said we tried.   I wish I did not care so much what others think of me.  But thats only natural for us...  Just as you educated your family, I will educate a Co-worker and pray that it goes well.  I hope you can come to a place to approach it and not just avoid it..   Good Luck!!!  

Again, welcome to the family...  

Joe K:
Hello Coffee,

Welcome to the forum and we can all understand the frustrations with disclosure and adjusting to our status.  You ask how one moves on with life and all I can offer is that you will change when it becomes too difficult NOT to change.  You have many issues and I think you need some help to sort this all out.  I had a abusive relationship and even after six years, the damage done to me lingers.  But I have a choice and so do you.  I can decide to wallow in my own pity or decide that I will be the one to control my life and then work to make that happen.

Same for you my friend.  I suspect that because of how you became poz, you have a lot of unresolved issues and I would submit that you will never be truly free, until you face these issues directly.  Yes easier said than done, but you must start somewhere so maybe you could find a support group or a professional who you could discuss your issues with.

You have made a very courageous move in that you admit that you must change, because you do not like your present life.  We all understand that, but only you know what will make you happy.  Please don't let the demons from your past poison your present and future.  Yes our past shapes who and what we are, but it will never define us, unless we surrender our own free will.  Find some support, in whatever fashion works for you and you are always free to post here to discuss your feelings, express your anger or just bitch to feel better.

I encourage you to stick around and read some of the posts to see how others deal with similar challenges.

Alain:
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