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Author Topic: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?  (Read 5427 times)

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Offline Cliff

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My therapist says I have internalized negative attitudes about being gay and HIV positive and that I have to start using positive reinforcements to overcome it.  For starters I should no longer say, even if joking, that I am a dirty gay whore for getting HIV.  But I can't help it sometimes.  I do feel dirty, (not to mention a big failure), for getting it.

How do you become positive about being HIV positive?

Offline Longislander

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2006, 07:12:05 PM »
Something about acceptance Cliff. When you say these things, or think them, you are basically reinforcing the negativity you have associated with it. When you hear yourself about to say stuff like that, or think it, switch it over and say something nice to yourself!

(I'm no doctor, nor have I played one on TV. I have played with one however, and that should count! ;) )
infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2006, 07:16:37 PM »
But I can't help it sometimes.  I do feel dirty, (not to mention a big failure), for getting it.

The above quote touches on what he's talking about imo Cliff. As in , do your best to reduce (eliminate would be the ideal) words like "can't" from your vocabulary. Hear hear to what Paul said above ..... Pretty sure I disagree w/ the therapist on the internalized negative attitudes about being gay and HIV positive (goodness gracious, whatever) but I do strongly agree w/ the positive reinforcements stuff. As for the joking and what-not, ask yourself, does it help?? If the answer is YES IT DOES, then that's one thing. If deep down you know all that is definitely NOT helpful, well then, listen to the therapist ... My 2 coins!

Offline blondbeauty

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2006, 07:23:43 PM »
Cliff,
What is the difference between the HIV virus and other viruses? The fact that is has no cure does not make you a failure for contracting it.
It is something it can happen if you don´t live your life in a plastic bubble. You might think I am crazy, but I sometimes feel superior to other people for being able to deal with being HIV+ successfully.
A few years ago I didn't have to do anything to remain alive. Now I have to take meds that are close to science-fiction, and fight for my survival. This makes me stronger (makes us stronger) than the rest of the people.
Feeling transgenic is also an interesting way of life!  ;)
The only member in these forums approved by WINBA: World International Nail and Beauty Association.
Epstein Barr +; CMV +; Toxoplasmosis +; HIV-1 +.
Counts when starting treatment:
V.L.:80.200 copies. CD4: 25%=503
Started Sustiva-Truvada 14/August/2006
Last V.L.count (Oct 2013): Undetectable
Last CD4 count (OCT 2013): 52%= 933

Offline manchesteruk

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2006, 07:23:52 PM »
Cliff you most definately are not a failure for a start!  As for becoming positive about being hiv+ thats a tough question and one I think you have to answer for yourself in the end.  No one could tell me one positive about actually carrying this virus but I do think that i've become a better person because of having to live with it.
Diagnosed 11/05

"Life is too important to be taken seriously" Oscar Wilde

Offline thunter34

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  • His name is Carl.
Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2006, 07:29:29 PM »
Cliff,
What is the difference between the HIV virus and other viruses? The fact that is has no cure does not make you a failure for contracting it.
It is something it can happen if you don´t live your life in a plastic bubble. You might think I am crazy, but I sometimes feel superior to other people for being able to deal with being HIV+ successfully.
A few years ago I didn't have to do anything to remain alive. Now I have to take meds that are close to science-fiction, and fight for my survival. This makes me stronger (makes us stronger) than the rest of the people.
Feeling transgenic is also an interesting way of life!  ;)

Nothing to add.  That just bears repeating, in my opinion.  Right on, bb !! 
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline RAB

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2006, 07:32:24 PM »
Cliff

I don't know if anyone is ever  "positive about being positive".

For me it came down to the realization that I could either acknowledge it and let go, forgive myself, resist the urge to use it as a weapon to beat myself up  (I'm really good at that last part BTW.), or I could allow it to take even a bigger toll on my life then it was.

I've never become positive about my status, but I am able to feel positive about my future and who I'm trying to be.  I'm a good person, I'm not dirty, I'm not a failure, I'm worthy.  (You are too my friend, and the sooner you allow yourself to accept that, the sooner you'll be free of some of the baggage you are carrying.)

I'm also a control freak. Lord am I ever a control freak! (Sound familiar?)  I have orchestrated so much of my life driven by my ability to analyze and compartmentalize, cram things into neat little packages that I can deal with.  HIV wasn't something I could realistically do that with.

 I'm also someone who without the benefit of professional help to guide me along the road, I would have never made it this far.

I think your therapist has made a really good observation.  I think the fact you are  allowing yourself to make this trek with his/her help is a sign that your subconscious is saying that the baggage isn't worth the weight it's putting upon you.  

BTW, if in the chance you find the answer to your question, I'd sure as hell love to hear it, cause I could benefit a whole lot!

With love,

RAB




Offline newt

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2006, 07:34:30 PM »
So, HIV is your punishment for being a gay bloke ... are you batting for Bush of just your mother's mother' pastor? Maybe your therapist has a point, sometimes, like in the Wizard of Oz, if you say things 3 times they come true (how fucking faggy is that eh?  ;D) It's alright to be gay, hitched n shagging on the side as long's you don't get caught out? Do you really think that? Do you feel it? I know a lot of people who do, HIV-positive and HIV-negative.  Like it's viable/acceptable to be gay BUT NOT gay and HIV-positive. Insidious.

Negative fay gay pity, I had it, n there's only one route to giving it up, don't need it, but it can linger.

Maybe your therapist has a point, deffo ... and maybe what you say about yourself will change how you think about yourself.  It's not an easy thing to get over though, even me "don't give a shit what you think" .. I have my days and weeks when I feel like non-person (er, about being into/having sex with blokes no, but valuable as a partner/person yes). There is, sometime, a front of the bus moment.  For me, it was starting treatment n feeling shit loads better.  This was a real moment of self-acceptance.  Not that I was too cut up, an inner honesty all the same. But still have my days.

- matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline J.R.E.

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2006, 07:35:58 PM »
Hello Cliff,

It depends I guess on how one defines positive.I define positive as being rational, and realistic. I also define positive as being hopeful and optimistic.It means to me, to be able to communicate any and all thoughts.( which I openly do very well to my family and friends. It's my safety valve. I know, that without a doubt, without thinking or believing this way, the past 21 years of living with HIV would have been totally differant. But I got to tell you, it wasn't always that way. There were plenty of difficult times for me in the early days of this virus, and I certainly understand the feeling of "dirtyness", and being a failure. Those feelings are long behind me.There were difficult times 17 plus years into this infection, when things were very tough for me.Once again, communication pulled me through. And several times throughout all my years of living with HIV, there are times when denial hits pretty hard. But I most certainly believe as Longislander stated. Thats it's about acceptance also, and knowing that we have to do, whatever is neccessary to keep our health maintained. Which means by the way, getting started on meds, when the time is right !! Hint !



Ray
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 12.5mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Metoprolol tartrate 25mg



http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=40802.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=45159.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39722.msg495621;topicseen#msg495621

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=46806.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39414.msg491701#msg491701


 In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started my first  HAART regimen  on October 24th,03.

 As of 6/4/14,  t-cells are at 423, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 13% 

  
 62 years young.

Offline Razorbill

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2006, 07:37:40 PM »
I have the same feelings sometimes Cliff.  They're hard to bear - although I call myself a loser for getting HIV.  But on balance it's been going in my favor.  Think of all you do everyday and what you accomplish and that you do it while carrying the burden of HIV.  We're strong and special folks.

Offline SoSadTooBad

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2006, 07:39:19 PM »
Cliff, I agree that feeling positive about it is a stretch - but, consider the sense of urgency it imparts on everyday life.  

I have heard so many times on this forum how motivated people are, how passionate they are about life and love and success - that inspires me a lot.  

We are no different than people who are negative in one respect - we have a finite amount of time on this earth to accomplish what we set out to do.  We are very different in another respect - we are forced to appreciate every second, and to live more passionately than others, for we fear that our time may be cut short.

Don't let the past rob you of the chance to accomplish what you set out to do in life - keep moving forward and keep living with the passion that makes every day worth living!!!  


Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2006, 07:41:17 PM »
Consider all the poz-poz couples who would've never met had they never contracted HIV

Would it surprise you to hear many of them say they have a unique "fate-centric" perspective  (ughhhh, mind isn't sharp right now sorry  ;D) re: HIV??   8) Think about it!!! Seriously!

Ever see Sliding Doors ?!? (a Gwyneth Paltrow movie from awhile back)

Offline marco23

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2006, 07:49:53 PM »
Oh come on,
Every now and then you need to NOT take yourself so seriously....everyone needs that laughter from real life, otherwise we'd always have a stick up our ass (which isn't a bad thing - if it's lubricated)..so if you want to say you're a dirty gay whore, say it so what if it is jokingly. You're expressing yourself. Don't let someone restrict your feelings.  Then tell your therapist, "You know what, you need to get that stick out of your ass and put a dick in there pronto!".  ;D
Just my words of wisdom.
Don't hide your hurt, pain and feelings inside..for they will harden your heart.

Offline AtomicA

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2006, 07:54:10 PM »
alright, so everyone else has great sage and serious advice. Since I normally do to I think it's time to mix it up

Every morning when you wake up take a great big stretch and say to yourself:

"Well, at least I don't have syphillis!"

unless of course you do have syphillis. Which would be a real bummer and you should probably seek treatment before your nose falls off and you start beheading your wives. Then you should find some other unpleasant and insidious disease to be thankful you don't have. such as the bubonic plague, leprosy or small pox.

In fact, why just leave it at syphillis! you could use them all. pick a different disease for every day of the week to be thankful you don't have!

Mondays could be "Thank god I don't have scabies"
Tuesdays could be "Aren't you glad it's not rabies?"
Wednesdays could be "Isn't it great to not have tape worms?"
Perhaps thursday you could say "everyday and in every way I'm thankful I don't have malaria"
and since we don't want to leave out the genetic diseases...
On friday you could say "Aren't I thrilled I don't have downsyndrome?"
and saturday perhaps "Let's throw a party, I'm not a conjoined twin!"

then of course (barring previous infection of course) sunday could be reserved for the best of the best to thankfull you don't have: Syphillis.

smile, there are worse things!
« Last Edit: December 21, 2006, 08:18:36 PM by AtomicA »

Offline David_CA

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2006, 08:18:15 PM »
Fortunately, I really don't have negative feelings about the being gay part.  It's just part of who I am.  I have fun being gay.  I have both gay and straight friends, so it obviously doesn't effect my social life.  My family accepts it and treats my husband like they did my ex-wife... actually better than my ex.  Straight people get HIV too, so that's not really a knock against being gay.  I don't know... I just think it's pretty cool to be gay, but I guess we all have our own experiences that influence how we feel about it.  For me, having so many of my straight friends treat me the same as they did before I came out to them and include me in their lives makes me realize that, just  because I prefer sex with men, I'm really just the same person.

As to the HIV, I did the blame thing at first.  I blamed the ONLY one who was responsible for my infection - me.  There really wasn't anything to do about it except for taking care of myself both physically and emotionally.  I kinda messed up on both parts, but the end results were very positive.  Like I mentioned earlier, there's nothing like a week in the hospital with PCP trying to figure out to tell ones family that ones HIV+.  THAT is what made me accept it.  Somehow, telling my mom while she sat in the hospital room with me, while very difficult, was good for me.  I was finally honest with my mom and myself.  I thought I'd accepted being poz, but until I had medical issues and was on meds, it's kind of like I was only poz on paper, not in reality.  PCP changed that, and I'm glad.  The dread and stress that I had about telling my mom and sister was horrible.  Then, I had to tell my dad, a doctor, who I had not intended on telling.  How could I hide it from him?  So I came clean there too. 

So do I feel positive about being positive (and gay)? Yes, I do.  I'm certainly not glad I'm poz and at some time will likely not feel the same way about it.  But for now, while I'm doing what I can to stay healthy (Atripla, Bactrim, exercise, and trying to eat well), I feel good about myself.  Cliff, you need to like (and even love) yourself for who you are, and not let any one aspect overshadow the whole package.  Hell, I'm a dirty gay ho, and it's not all that bad!   ;)

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2006, 08:29:00 PM »
Dear Cliff,

You have posted a very interesting question.  One which I have been asking myself since 1994.  That was my Xmas gift from me!  At my first clinic appt., the Nurse asked, "Do you know how you got HIV?"  My response was, "I got my HIV the old fashioned way, I earned it (with apologies to Smith Barney)."  He said I had a good attitude.  I went to a psych support and on the first meeting, my "advisor" began talking about getting me signed up for disability benefits.  I left that meeting knowing I would not return for a second visit, and worked another two years until my AIDS diagnosis.

When I left Los Angeles for the great Northwest, I really thought I had lost my edge.  Within 2 years after my AIDS diagnosis, I had begun designing a new workers safety program, my last presentation was with the largest employer in California, the County of Los Angeles.  They said my work had merit and was based on brilliant concepts and theories, however, there is no way a one-man shop could manage such a program for such a large employer (85,000 employees).

Over the past year on the Sonoma County Commission on AIDS and all of the subcommittees, and here on the forums, I got back the me that was me and have developed still another plan to reinvent myself and become self-sufficient.

I still have to ask myself the question, "How in the hell are you supposed to be positive about being positiver?"  Have the best day
Michael  

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2006, 08:29:23 PM »
Your therapist sounds like a 1970s self-help book.

"Internalized negative feelings?"  Good God, I wonder what cue card that was read off of.  He's probably doing a crossword puzzle while you talk to him and just reading off some sort of prepared script.

Positive reinforcements?  So, joking about something... making yourself laugh... is not a positive reinforcement?  Hmm.  I wonder what is.

We all can't help but feel like crap (and I don't mean physically) sometimes for being HIV+ (I mean, if it was all sunshine and rainbows there wouldn't be a need for this site).  And as for being gay, well yeah... I'm not going to pretend like that's easy either.

As to being a failure... let me tell you the story of Johnny the Heroin Addict.  Johnny the Heroin Addict has been doing heroin since 1998, and he's 28.  Johnny the Heroin Addict has been married twice.  Johnny the Heroin Addict is a male stripper.  Johnny the Heroin Addict is HIV-. 

Yeah.  It's biology.  Beautiful, amoral, nonsensical biology.

If I were you, I'd get a new therapist.  One who does that thing... oh God... what's that word?  Oh... listening.
Your tastebuds can't repel flavor of this magnitude!

Offline Cliff

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2006, 08:46:19 PM »
It's been 3.5 years and you think I would have moved on by now.  Actually I thought I had moved on.  Maybe I just swept it under the rug.  I'm not even seeing the guy about my HIV status (and it rarely comes up).  It came up this last session cause I told him about my last 2 weeks (fairly quiet, save for the labs, doctor visits, going on meds dilemma and reinfection talk).  While talking about it, I made an offhanded remark about being a D.G.W. and he picked it up.  Truth is, I'm always thinking, (sometimes saying), negative crap about being gay or positive.  Mainly connecting it with sex (or too much of it).  Funny thing is, I got it while in a relationship, but that still doesn't change the D.G.W. feelings in the background.

I'm not sad or upset about it, just frustrated cause I just don't seem to get passed it.  Maybe being from Texas isn't so hot after all.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2006, 08:48:06 PM by Cliff »

Offline Eldon

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2006, 09:12:38 PM »
Supporting You

Hi Cliff...

With this question, it is one of the ones that ties into what is going to be presented further down the road. This is proof that we are on the same page. In any case, when becoming affected by HIV/AIDS, it is a tough pill to swallow. It happened for one reason or another.

It is truly an external anxiety which triggers our internal anxiety because we can only do what we can to to take the appopiate steps towards being treated medically for it.

I HEAR where you are coming from with this topic, However, Acceptance has a lot to do with these internal anxieties that are inside of us. I mean...understand me, why dwell on something that cannot be changed? Will dwelling on this change this? Unfortunately, NO, it will not. Don't get me wrong because this is a sensitive issue to cope with.

When I look back on when I was infected or found out that I was HIV positive, I was in the state-of-shock. I could not believe it at first due to my "selectiveness" in my sexual partners that I chose to be with. Even through this "selectiveness" I still turned out HIV positive.

After the state-of-shock had settled within me, I took a good look at for what is was and I took the position to ASK myself if it would be worth me going into a tizzy about it. Afterall, after the tizzy, the straight up Vodka on the rocks, and partying like there was no tomorrow.

I woke up with a hangover the next day and realized that nothing had changed about my status of being HIV positive. That is when I accepted it for what it was and I moved on in my life to continue to live it with a healthier living aspect in mind. That's my story in a nutshell.

So what I am saying is...It is an unfortunate circumstance that has happened in this life. We cannot turn back the hands of time to change this. If we could, you better believe that I would change it.

However, the reality is that we cannot change it. I feel for you just as well Cliff as I have to live with HIV/AIDS for the rest of my life just as well. I accepted it and I am doing what I CAN do as I live and walk on my journey in this life.

IT IS TOUGH. I agree 100% with you and there is NO disagreement with this. However, Accept the things that we cannot change and change the things that we can."If life gives you lemons, the make lemonade out of it."

Pamper yourself, nurture yourself, buy a gift for yourself, do whatever it is that you need to do to help with the Acceptance part of this with your life.

You will overcome this Cliff. This too shall pass. You made the first step by Communicating this. By doing so this will help you to Accept and understand just as well. They all interact with each other with every situation in our lives.

Take care of YOU and ENJOY your Holiday Vacation.

"Don't Give Up, Don't Give In... Cause it is ALL within you to WIN!"
« Last Edit: December 21, 2006, 09:16:41 PM by Eldon »

Offline David_CA

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2006, 09:14:04 PM »
Actually I thought I had moved on.  Maybe I just swept it under the rug. 

Cliff, that's EXACTLY what I did.

D
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline Life

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2006, 09:16:24 PM »
Ah Cliff, the point is, your looking at things...  One thing about "feelings," they is always a changin... Best to you and your quest...

Love 

Offline StrongGuy

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2006, 10:12:03 PM »
There was a point that I thought I had accepted my HIV status until I realized I wasn't even comfortable telling my therapist about it. Talk about a waste of her time and mine, but I was never good at showing weakness to anyone. I finally did and it and I gradually grew from that point on.

Everyone has their own timetable. I'm pretty good at being hopeful for the future and living a productive life, but I don't know if I'll ever feel "positive" about being "positive." It's a rough slog i guess.

One thing I've noticed about therapists - the best ones I've had are the ones that have the ability to make you see for yourself what your issues are - not that they observe and tell you what they think your issues are.

I have a great lady I've seen for years now and when we talk she has a way of posing questions conversationally that make me think and realize -- she doesn't come down and tell me what she thinks  I'm feeling. Maybe that approach doesn't work for everyone, but something you may want to look for on the therapist front.

Ciao...
Mikey
"Get your medical advice from Doctors or medical professionals who you trust and know your history."

"Beware of the fortune teller doom and gloomers who seek to bring you down and are only looking for company, purpose and validation - not your best physical/mental interests."

"You know you all are saying that this is incurable. When the real thing you should be saying is it's not curable at the present time' because as we know, the great strides we've made in medicine." - Elizabeth Edwards

Offline emeraldize

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2006, 11:00:40 PM »
*
« Last Edit: January 02, 2007, 11:23:42 PM by emeraldize »

Offline Eldon

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2006, 11:18:31 PM »
Supporting You

Hey EM...

You are SPOT ON with this! What you have shared with us is confirmation to the act of positive self-talk. It HELPS us in more ways than one!

Making positive dialogue, self-talk, thought talk, a natural part of our thinking process takes a lot of practice and patience. In some ways we are learning a new language. At first we will feel like you are translating everything. You may even feel awkward at times. Some of your positive thoughts may not even sound believable. Practice makes proficiency.

It HELPS to see that specific kinds of thoughts create specific kinds of feelings. You are well on your way to overcoming this Cliff!

EM thanks again, you are right on the same word in the book!


Take care of YOU!



"Don't Give Up, Don't Give In... Cause it is ALL within you to WIN!"

Offline Robert

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2006, 01:23:52 AM »
Quote
How do you become positive about being HIV positive?

It's easy.  Just keep logging on here at AM.  You notice we don't talk much about how any of us got positive?  We just assume we all got it the same way and we don't want to judge ourselves or each other about our behavior.  Nothing wrong with that.  God knows, I beat myself up over this enough that I don't need others to remind me.  That's why I keep coming back here.  To get some positive reinforcements from some remarkable people that I'm OK.  AM started out being an incidental part of my life.  Now I find is somewhat indispensable.  Even more so as being positive looms even larger in the picture.

As long as you hang around with us, I think you'll be OK.

robert
..........

Offline joemutt

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2006, 02:55:38 AM »
One shouldn't be particularly being positive or negative; it just is, it should'nt define you.
I have similar feelings not about hiv or being gay but just about being.
I see a hypnotherapist since three weeks, I think it's good it talks directly to the subconscious,
I just add it on to my regular therapy. Be well Cliff, you're a good person.

Offline red_Dragon888

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2006, 06:16:27 AM »
Baby, do not dwell on it.  Think on all the good things that life has offered you.  Then work on yourself for the better.  Yes you got HIV thru sex, and yes you play at sex more than the majority would call normal, but that does not make you a bad person or dirty.  You are you and must always live with yourself.  So live to be happy and productive.  The alternative is to be sad, living in pain, hating yourself and all the negatives that your imagination can bring up.  Use that power you have for the good.  Use it to make yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually stronger.  We all are a life force.  And we all can choose to use that power for good or evil.  Good as to make our lives better, happier, wonderfuler.  Evil as in sad, mad, bitter.  You choose Baby.  I hope you use the force for good cause we need more good people in this world, and we especially want you on our side.   :D  Take care and may the force be with you...  always.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I3ba3lnFHik

“Neither look forward where there is doubt nor backward where there is regret. Look inward and ask not if there is anything o

Offline poet

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2006, 06:22:18 AM »
Cliff, remember how we turned 'fag' from a negative to a postive?  We co-oped the word as other groups have co-opted their negative words, such as the infamous 'n' word?  

The same is true for 'dirty gay whore.'  I can use it because I hung out with actual whores, men and women, in NYC who had co-opted the term enough to be proud and out about being whores, prostitutes, rent boys (remember that website, rentboy.com?).  I even tried it myself, putting myself out as an escort so that I could get what Matt Berstein Sycamore a/k/a Matilda meant.  Ditto 'dirty' sex, not as in the dirt but as in 'down and dirty and hot and steamy and over the top' sex.  

So if it is difficult for you to turn dirty into clean, whore into something else, try simply co-opting the terms into a postive, being proud that you did have a lot of sex (if you did).  Being proud of being a fag.  

How do you become positive about being HIV positive?

You follow the lead of a cancer patient who never has to defend how he or she 'got' cancer, even if it was from smoking cigarettes.  You accept being postive as you accept being a cancer patient and move on from there.  There are two things here: how you think of yourself APART from being hiv positive (i.e. the dirty gay whore) and how you think of yourself as being hiv positive.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Iggy

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2006, 08:37:57 AM »
.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2007, 11:55:31 PM by Iggy »

Offline woodshere

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2006, 08:48:27 AM »
Hey Cliff,
I accept that I am gay, HIV+ and not only a dirty gay whore, but a cheap dirty gay whore..... :)

Seriously, everyone makes mistakes in life.  I assume based on your original post that you and I made  similar mistakes.  It doesn't make either of us any less of a person, it just shows that we are human like everyone else. It is difficult not to beat ourselves up, and when I start to do that I try to remember the good things I do in life and how fortunate I am.

As far as being positive about being HIV+, I try just to have a positive outlook on all my life, of which being HIV+ is part of who I am.

Wishing you the best,
Woods
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2006, 09:06:13 AM »
I don't have a big problem with being positive because I see it as just another disease, like herpes or diabetes, and not a judgment or a curse. It doesn't make me a bad person and it doesn't make me special. I would be more bummed out about it if I were sick, but I'm not sick, so why worry about it.

Offline Alain

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2006, 12:05:47 PM »
I never asked to be born, never asked to be gay and certainly never wanted to be positive.

This life has landed all this on my lap, and I have made the most of it, and in many times against all odds.

I have learned to become a positive person, but because I am only human, I am not always so.

The bottom line is, no matter what, I have tried my best to give meaning to it all.

Therefore I am and always will be, only getting on with it.

Offline Christine

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #32 on: December 22, 2006, 03:19:14 PM »
Hi Cliff,
This is an interesting questions, and the responses from everyone are amazing. I have been poz since '93, and I have/had the same feelings as you. I feel ashamed, tarnished, a let down to my friends and family, a let down to myself. From day one, I blamed myself...how could I have had unprotected sex? How? I knew better. I knew about hiv, I knew about birth control.

About three years ago, I started seeing a therapist who works with chronic illnesses. One of the most thought provoking things she told me, is that I was not alone in my feelings of shame. She said she had cancer patients who could not even say the word "cancer",  they had to spell it. Their shame in having cancer, and their perception of how they burdened their family was overwhelming.

My first thought about their shame was "how silly" they did not do anything to be ashamed about...they did not do anything to get cancer...why would they be ashamed or feel bad, they did not do anything to deserve a disease.

The therapist looked at me, and said Exactly...a disease is not a judgement on a person, no one deserves to have a disease...now why can't you see that for your HIV?

I guess that was my light-bulb moment. I realized that hiv is a just a disease. It is horrible, it is life-changing, but it does not define me, nor should it be allowed to judge me.

Getting to that light-bulb moment takes time, introspection, and working with a therapist to uncover the reasons why you feel bad or dirty. It isn't easy, but you will get there, and you will find peace and acceptance. That is not to say you won't have your crappy days every know and then, but over all you will get to a place where you have that peace.

As far as the self-talk, I do think the loop that we run in our heads can effect our self-perception. I think ridding yourself of those negative loops takes more than just changing your self-talk. You need to get to the root of why that negative self-talk is there in the first place. But, speaking the positive affirmations is one step in the right direction.

Christine
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline Eldon

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2006, 08:38:51 PM »
Yes, I AM Supporting You

Hey Cliff...

So ASK yourself this question...What can WE do here to HELP you get over this intermittent situation?

Enjoy your Holiday Season.

"Don't You Dare Give Up, Don't You Dare Give In... Cause it is ALL within you to WIN!"

Offline AlanBama

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2006, 09:09:19 PM »
Cliff,

I wish that you could 'step outside your skin' for a bit, and see yourself the way some of us see you....a handsome, highly intelligent, articulate, funny, loving and decent man.   You are way too hard on yourself, my friend.   I think your therapist has you on the right track, and I wish you the best of luck in working through these issues.

Get on with the living, kiddo.   Your whole life is ahead of you, and you have SO MANY checks in the "plus" column.

Love & hugs,

Alan
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline Jody

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2006, 10:07:31 PM »
Dear Cliff...You post a most interesting question and have gotten some extraordinary feedback...Having had the pleasure of meeting you I can state you are a truly kind, generous and decent soul...But you are only being human by kicking yourself, after the fact if you will, and asking out loud an age old philosophical question - "WHAT IF?"  You wouldn't be human and indeed as humane as you are if you didn't look back on your life and question choices, decisions and results...Don't be too hard on yourself big guy, just get back up on that horse and ride proudly and bravely...You are a great guy and you DESERVE happiness, success and the best health you can have, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Keep on truckin' Cliff  8)

Jody 
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline Lou-ah-vull

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2006, 10:48:07 PM »
Cliff,

This has been an extraordinary thread.  Just your raising the question and sharing your feelings has caused many of us to do the same (this is much more productive than the bickering that sometimes goes on here.)  I read something wonderful about forgiveness and I thought it might be helpful to share it here.  Forgiveness does not mean "forgetting the wrong" as if somehow how any of us could forget we are hiv+.  Forgiveness does not mean pretending that our negligence may have contributed to the circumstances wherein we contracted the virus.  Quite simply, in forgiveness we surrender our hope for a better past. 

Not one of us can turn back time and undo our situation (I wouldn't even know where to go in the past to do it even if I could) nor should be expect that we can.  When we accept that past as past, then we can face the future with some confidence. 

I really enjoyed meeting you in Montreal this past summer and find so much to like and admire in you.  Ditto for so many of you that I was privileged to meet at AMG and others who I have conversed with on this site for more than a year now.  Having the mutual love and support of kindred spirits and friends gives me confidence about my future.  I hope it can do the same for you.

Thank you again for raising the question!

Gary   :D
Diagnosed Oct. 2005
10/05:  367 (26.2%), 24556 VL
01/06:  344 (24.6%), 86299 VL
04/06:  374 (22.0%), 87657 VL
05/06:  Began HAART 05/15/06, Combivir/Kaletra
07/06:  361 (27.8%), 1299 VL
10/06:  454 (32.4%), 55 VL
01/07:  499 (38.4%), UD
02/07:  Switched to Atripla 2/8/07
04/07:  566 (37.7%), UD
08/07:  761 (42.3%), UD
06/08:  659 (47.1%), UD
01/09:  613 (43.8%), UD
07/09:  616 (47.4%), UD
01/10:  530 (44.2%), UD
07/10:  636 (48.9%), UD
01/11:  627 (48.2%), UD
07/11:  840 (52.5%), UD
01/12:  920 (51.1%), UD
07/12:  857 (50.4%), 40
10/12:  UD
01/13:  710 (47.3%), UD
07/13:  886 (49.2%), UD
01/14:  985 (46.9%), UD
06/14:  823 (47.2%), UD

Offline Robert

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2006, 01:16:49 AM »
Gary's right.

Another positive thing about being positive is the Gatherings.  We've only had 2 of them but they certainly passed any expectations I had.

robert
..........

Offline otherplaces

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2006, 02:10:55 AM »

I know alot of people who have been waaay more "whorish" than me, and have had waaay more unprotected sex than me...and they're all HIV-.  Should they be the one's with HIV?  GOD NO.  Nobody deserves this disease for whatever the circumstances.  If you drive on the street you might get hit.  So you got hit.  You could've just as easily not gotten hit.  To me there is a degree of randomness to all this.  I don't care how much or little sex you're having.

As for painting a rosy picture about being positive.  It's a drag, that's for sure, but you don't have to be all rosy and cheery to hit back and put your life back in control. 

My two cents,
brian


Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2006, 09:01:06 AM »
Hi Cliff
I didnt read through any of the other replies, so I apologise if I repeat anything. I just wanted to give you my take on it without being clouded or swayed by any other thoughts/opinions.

I think what your therapist is saying links in with the whole concept of accepting who and what we are; not  just accepting it, but being comfortable with it too.

I'm not a great believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason but I do believe - when I'm not struggling too much depression-wise - in finding/creating reason from most things that happen, especially the hard horrible stuff. I think its a much healthier coping mechanism than wallowing in the sadness of a situation.

I guess what your therapist is suggesting is that it will help you cope better with this crappy thing that has happened to you and you are now stuck with, if you can find some good, positive meaning from it. I think its perfectly normal to feel bad about being hiv+, just as it would be if you'd been diagnosed with cancer or if you'd lost the use of a limb or something. But to wallow in the crappiness of that doesn't do you any good – mentally, emotionally or physically.

I've been affected by depression on and off most of my adult life, but I've been struggling more so since I was diagnosed 4 years ago. Several reasons: the fact that it happened, because of how it happened, plus personal hurdles I've come up against since it happened (not all related to the hiv). But when my physical health started taking a downward spiral 6 months or so ago, I realised if I didn't start addressing my depression and what was actually making me depressed, I would eventually get sicker and sicker physically. Which I don't want.

So I came back to the UK a couple of weeks ago to do just that: I realised I had to do something to break the pattern. I've started taking baby steps towards addressing my physical health – had my blood counts done, climbed back onto the healthy eating wagon, started a vit/min supplement programme. My next step will be to ease myself back into regular exercise. But like I said, baby steps...For my mental/emotional health - I talked to my consultant about my ongoing depression and what I believe it stems from – after establishing that I would never agree to taking antidepressants and talking with a counsellor friend, I have made an appointment to see a cognitive behaviour therapist late Jan. I am also spending time reconnecting with family and friends while I'm here in the UK, which is also good for my emotional health. I have come back on a one-way ticket, with the aim of not going back to Greece until I feel physically, mentally and emotionally better and ready to go back.

For 4 years I have struggled to find meaning in what happened to me. I finally realised there actually wasn't any. It just happened. And it was up to me to create the meaning, the sense, the positive swing on what happened. So far I've come up with the following:

1. I'm more health conscious than I have ever been my whole life; maintaining good health is more important to me than anything else in my life.
2. My entire health is now monitored frequently by top consultants.
3. At least I know what's wrong with me – I can't imagine how many thousands of folk float through life without a clue that they may be sick or even dying (until they do!)
4. I've met some amazing people and made some great new friends, who I wouldn't have met had it not been for my diagnosis; I do wish I could have met them under different circumstances, but chances are, I probably wouldn't have.
5. Having hiv is teaching me how to appreciate life more.
6. Having hiv has made me readdress my priorities in life.
7. Having hiv has forced me to take a really long hard look at myself and take steps towards getting to know myself and, more importantly, liking and accepting who and what I am – something I've never done before – I just used to change my personality like a chameleon to blend in with or hide behind others.

I know it's a cliche - and even I'm hard pushed to see and accept this when I'm really in the pits of despair - but, your situation could be a lot worse! I recently got back from visiting an old neighbour/friend. Her 7 year old nephew collapsed about 8 weeks ago and was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer right next to his heart. He has been in hospital since. Chemo hasn't worked, so they have to try radiotherapy next. Life is not fair and it certainly doesn't make any sense. I think it's upto us to try to make what sense we can out of it whenever and wherever we can. 

One thing I've heard several friends and my consultant say to me over the past few years is: Stop being so hard on yourself. I'm beginning to realise what they all meant now...And after reading your post at the start of this thread, I wanted to repeat the same to you:

Cliff, stop being so hard on yourself.

None of us are perfect; we all make mistakes. The key to living comfortably with our mistakes I guess is to recognise those mistakes, learn from them, move on and try not to repeat them over and over again.

I believe positive things can be found from most situations if we're in a position to look and if we choose to see them.

Yeia kai hara! (health and happiness)

Melia :) 
« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 09:09:29 AM by sweetasmeli »
/\___/\       /\__/\
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(,,,_ ,,,)/   (,,,_ ,,,)/ Cats rule!

The difference between cats and dogs is that dogs come when called, whereas cats take a message and get back to you.

Yeia kai hara (health and happiness) to everyone!

Offline alisenjafi

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2006, 09:13:56 AM »
Unlike Hiv- cancer doesn't carry any stigma. When you say you have cancer people don't assume you are having multiple unprotected sex and doing tina as well all night every night. Between the gov't bigoted attitude towards gays and the  ignorance of the media- not to mention other gays, how can anyone but feel this shit.
There is no rehab to go to,  NYTimes just had a piece about how docs are inhibited about talking about sexual practices with their clients. Politicians justify gay bashing ( not letting us marry/adopt) to further their careers.
How many positive gay role models do we have? Rosie keeps putting her foot in her mouth. There is a question of mental anguish that America ( if not all societies) need to address. Attitudes towards HIV are equivocal to those of t.b. in the 19th century if not worse.
What is also hypocritical is when a str8 person gets it they are a "victim" you don't get that with being gay. When ABC did that show on HIV in the African American community- it made the men look like sleaze balls for infecting women. How many articles have we seen where the media paints us as oversexed with no remorse- look at the bug chasing artilcles.
It is a bit smug to put it all on your plate , then again the onus is on us to get over it.
johnny
« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 09:23:10 AM by alisenjafi »
"You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does"
The Smiths

Online RapidRod

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Re: How in the hell are you suppose to be positive about being positive?
« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2006, 10:46:54 AM »
Cliff for me to positive and have a positive outlook is real easy. I contracted HIV in the early years and watched all of my friends pass away. There was only one medication at the time AZT, which really done more harm than good. Finially a name was given to the disease and throughout my 22 years positive, treatment has come a long way. People aren't dropping like flies as in earlier years and the thought that I, and everyone else that are positive, may now have a long productive life, keeps me on a positive track.

 


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