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post traumatic symptoms from old lifestyle

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thepostergirl:
I was diagnosed in October 12 - one of my first reactions was "Well I can never have sex again, nobody would want to be with me now" and while being celibate since diagnosis I've told a handful of men about my hiv status and none of them shot me down. I wasn't sure how to handle NOT being rejected.

After that I started having intense feelings of not wanting to be touched or flirted with and judging every man I meet which isn't their fault.

For about 2 years I treated my mind, body, spirit, and soul very poorly. I was heavily addicted to a hard street drug and I became submersed into that lifestyle and put myself in dangerous situations to make money or that hard street drug.

Since then I've gotten myself clean and then found out about my hiv status and was able to handle it with ease. I knew I had put myself in danger and I knew it was time I got checked out because of it and well, now I'm here. My problem is is that I've got great friends, some women and some men. There's a handful of men that want to be with me sexually but all I can think of is covering all of my skin as to not be appealing. In my head I tell myself that all men are the same and that all they want is sex and they want this sex regardless of my hiv status. At this moment I can't fathom someone touching me.

I know eventually I'll have to trust myself and partner and bring my wall down. I'm 33 and have shot down chance after chance to be with someone and I don't know if it's fear of transmission even though I'm UD, or if it's post trauma for letting me use my body and my soul for so long. I feel disgusted with myself over feeling raped and sometimes truly being raped. I don't want to live the rest of my life alone because I keep pushing people away or fear of transmitting the virus to them.

I want to believe that all men are different and that there will be a match for me that will not judge me from my past or my present - a man that won't just want to use me up again and throw me away when done. I have lost almost all trust in men because most of the men I entertained were married men. I'm lost and I'm jaded. I desperately need to trust men and eventually I do want a serious relationship but I have to get my head straight first and I don't know how long that will be - when I can allow someone to touch me in a true loving way and me not freak out and think they just want to f$#^. Im in therapy and I do research on my issues but I'm stubborn and am keeping myself away from growing and pressure.

I wonder when I can shut my judgement off and let something beautiful happen naturally. (thanks for reading) - any words, ideas, or advice is most welcome.

BT65:
Hi Poster Girl,

I read you were only diagnosed in October of last year.  The first year after being diagnosed is extremely difficult.  We're learning to accept our diagnosis ourselves, and sharing it with someone else when we're not really "used to it yet," if you will, can be nonexistent, but only for a time.  You need to give yourself a break, not be hard on yourself, and continue in therapy.  I'm assuming you're being honest with your therapist about all your issues, past and present. 

I used to be hooked on heroin, a $2000/week habit, and was a stripper and hooker.  Did I feel guilty for that once I got off the drugs?  Well, I was pretty young, only 17, so the only thing I feel guilty about is putting my family through the wringer.  I do feel extremely guilty about my last go-round with addiction, which was pills.  I've been off for almost 7 & 1/2 years, but am almost 50 years old.  So, I put my daughter and rest of the family through holy hell.  I was so messed up I have long periods of chunks of time I don't remember.  The things I did then I feel guilty about.

I got married after my diagnosis, but it wasn't in the first year.  Unfortunately it didn't work out but the point is, there will still be many many times you will be able to venture into relationship territory.  But you have to be o.k. with yourself first.  It's the old saying-if you're not alright with yourself, you never will be with someone else.  I've found that to be true, and since being alright with myself, I can also keep my head and not get into lousy relationships just to say I'm in one or just to be alone.

I'm alright being alone today.  I have a couple very close friends that I trust my life with (and my cat's life lol).  I also have several more acquaintances I'm in touch with from time to time, and a family who's supportive.  There are many more things to life, but I do understand you're wanting a partner.  Please get alright with yourself first.  Then try going out with someone and seeing what happens.  Good luck and nice to meet you, even if on the forums.

Betty

thepostergirl:
Betty,
       Thanks for sharing your intimate story with me. I appreciate your words and advice. Sorry I'm not around that often. Hope all is well with you.

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