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Author Topic: 3 Years In - Not Sure I'm Fine  (Read 2094 times)

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Offline cajun74

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  • Posts: 4
3 Years In - Not Sure I'm Fine
« on: May 29, 2012, 08:08:08 PM »
Hi all,
Wading in. Long story short, I think I'm entering a new phase of acceptance or lack of acceptance. I seroconverted in Aug 2009, pretty much during the worst month of my life - economy in freefall, job loss, feeling like my life was coming apart. It was either a lying boyfriend I should have had the balls to dump a lot earlier or more likely a dumb mistake on my part on a lost, screw-it-all, wayward night. Either way, I'm realizing how angry at myself I am. I gave the future the finger, and here I am, in the future. Can't change it, right?

Got into treatment immediately, detected it within months. Yay for that. I'm in excellent health and on a certain level, everything is fine. Undetectable, yada yada. But it's not fine.

I've spent the last couple years coping. On the surface, things are good. I found a great new job. Good (if imperfect) new relationship. But I spend a lot of time worrying about my new, "compromised" self. I feel isolated. I feel pretty ok with it myself in a lot of ways, sh*t happens right, but I still feel marked somehow. I'm self-conscious about it when I go out. I have only disclosed to a few close friends, and not my family or colleagues. It would probably be ok, but I'm not honestly 100% sure it would be. Not loving that feeling.

I feel guilt. A lot of guilt. How could I do this to myself? What kind of crap role model am I? I am no longer one of those people who "takes care of themselves."

Yeah, I made a dumb mistake, or I trusted the wrong person. Should've known better in either case.

Just when I started to feel ok in mid-2010, rid of the sh*tty ex, I started to date, or at least live, again. I met a guy, we hooked up while drunk, he was the first person I had to disclose to in that way. I told him, probably not loudly or repeatedly enough, and we hooked up anyways because he didn't react at all. Bareback. When he didn't say anything, I thought he meant it was fine. I should have been clearer, or just backed off. He was mildly annoyed with me the next morning when I reiterated and a little scared. I walked him through the relatively low risk. I gave him a month's worth of Atripla as PrEP. Hell, he liked me, and wanted to date, so we did for a few months, and he even wanted (more) (probably low risk) sex, but I let it taper off. I met my new guy.

I'm sure he's fine. He's still friendly to me and I don't think he's upset with me. He's never said anything. I wonder what he thinks of me. He's a good guy, flawed and sweet. Younger than me.

Anyways, I think about that a lot. How irresponsible of me it was. A shrink told me it was fine, I was still a good person, I was learning how to handle the situation. But the poor guy was my test case. How awful.

So, now I try to disclose to other gay guys upfront even when we are flirting. Of course, I'm in a relationship, so the flirting isn't meant to get very far. But man, the looks of pity and dismay. Not fear or disgust so much, but it's still hard. I don't even want to do nominally safe things (receive a bj here or there without cumming) without telling. And sometimes I do anyways. Bad.

And of course, I did it myself once - reacted defensively. Why wouldn't I? I was in their shoes, not wanting to be an a*shole, but wanting to protect myself. I dated a poz guy for 5 years. After we broke up, I made a new policy of not dating poz guys, because I didn't want to ever worry about it again. What a jerk I was! Maybe I still am. Argh.

And here I am. I feel like I deserve the uncertain treatment, the nervousness, the skittishness. It hurts. Life is sure showing me.

So, I go about my job and my life, holding everything together, while underneath I know that I am changed, thought I'm not sure how. That I am healthy and harmless - except I'm not, not quite, even if close. What am I? Am I fooling myself with the everything is ok self-talk?

Any advice?

Offline mecch

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  • Posts: 11,263
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: 3 Years In - Not Sure I'm Fine
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 08:44:49 PM »
I am not saying it easy not to judge yourself but maybe you should be rather stern and intellectual about this self judgement and guilt.  If that one night of recklessness had given you the clap, and it was cured a few weeks later, you wouldn't be beating yourself up for years and years about some imagined lack of self respect. 

Maybe many in the rest of the world that is HIV- has a lot of bias and prejudice and fear and ignorance about HIV (including your previous mentality and behavior when you were HIV-), but you can't really afford indulging in this emotionalism over reason.

Its just a damned nasty virus. HIV+ people HAVE TO accept that it has no morals.  (That's my opinion, at least.)

Also, if you are in a relationship, and you are not intending to hook up with other guys, why on earth are you flirting and disclosing. ??!!   Very odd behavior you should ask yourself, why??   If you don't like disclosing, then why be a masochist and disclose to some guys you aren't even going to have sex with?

I guess it wasn't evil to give that young man a month of atripla, but it sounds kind of strange, too.  And also a waste of pills if he never took them, since you don't even know if he did, since you said he's never said anything, and you haven't asked him either. The risk and need and prescription for pep should be handled by doctors, don't you think?

You asked if you are OK but your post seems to say you are just going through the motions of being ok.  My take is that there is some masochism there, so maybe you should talk to your shrink about that.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Hellraiser

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  • Posts: 4,136
  • Semi-misanthropic
Re: 3 Years In - Not Sure I'm Fine
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 08:54:05 PM »
No advice, but if you're still in cajun country I live in Lafayette.  If you wanna talk to another poz guy about some of this stuff PM me.  You won't be able to PM until you've made three posts however.

Offline cajun74

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  • Posts: 4
Re: 3 Years In - Not Sure I'm Fine
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2012, 08:59:13 PM »
Thanks Mecch.

1. Re stern and intellectual. You're absolutely right, and I usually am. But there are cracks in the armor...

2. Disclosure. I haven't really mastered this. I am in a slightly open relationship with another poz guy, and I still enjoy flirting and messing around with rare others. And in theory, I think they enjoy it with me. But after that horrible first foray, I just want to get it out before any physical contact. And also, I periodically hear remarks about "clean" people, and I am just working up the courage to say...hey, I am one of these "unclean" people you speak so uncharitably of...so it's partly trying to stick up for myself, partly trying to allow them informed contact with me, and hey, maybe some masochism too...

3. The Atripla thingy. What a mess! I agree, not optimal. But after our misunderstanding, it was a panicky thing I did to give him the choice of PeP without buying pills. Which are expensive. He went to the clinic and they said, sure, take the Atripla. He didn't finish the course, which is less than great and I explicitly told him (and I'm sure the clinic did too) that he needed to, but he didn't. He didn't want to buy pills from them. At any rate, I don't think he seroconverted, because I believe he would have told me. He doesn't seem to bear me any ill will at all.

Anyways, thanks for helping me to sort through the tangles...

Offline mecch

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  • Posts: 11,263
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: 3 Years In - Not Sure I'm Fine
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2012, 09:18:34 PM »
I hear you about testing the waters and learning through doing. Maybe you can look at that flirting and disclosing in another light, then, and enjoy being a bad ass sexual outlaw and get that out of your system. You might be kinda baiting these guys, however.  But I think I went through a bit of the same experiences and needs about 2 years after seroconverting.  It sinks deeply in that we aren't dirty and aren't sick and as you say, life goes on pretty normally (what with your good new job and lover). 
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline cajun74

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  • Posts: 4
Re: 3 Years In - Not Sure I'm Fine
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2012, 11:30:30 PM »
@hellraiser - I'm in California but may just take you up on that. Thanks for the offer.
@mecch - lol never thought of myself as a "bad ass sexual outlaw," more of a mild-mannered PBS fan, but maybe you are right.

Thanks  both.

Offline tednlou2

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  • Posts: 4,770
Re: 3 Years In - Not Sure I'm Fine
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 12:50:22 AM »
Cajun, sorry to hear things aren't going so well.  I wish I had some great words of wisdom, but I don't.  I deal with many of the things you mentioned, besides the dating and disclosure issue. 

I guess all I can say is that we're here to listen.  You can feel free to PM me as well, even just to vent. 

Btw, welcome to the forums and keep in touch.


Offline cajun74

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: 3 Years In - Not Sure I'm Fine
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 01:40:16 AM »
It's quite a relief to be here. I wish I had done this a long time ago....

Offline sshortguy1

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  • Posts: 118
Re: 3 Years In - Not Sure I'm Fine
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2012, 01:49:57 PM »
cajun i know how u feel but things will pass just b/c u know you're poz and i'm sure poz people out there than u think its the fact you don't know about it


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