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Author Topic: No burden is too great...let'em help carry the load  (Read 1681 times)

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Offline Amosboy

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No burden is too great...let'em help carry the load
« on: December 05, 2006, 10:06:03 PM »
Hey Guys (and Gals),

I'm no expert on this subject of disclosure, given the fact that I didn't reach out to friends, family, or even a doctor until ten years after my initial diagnosis.  That's been twenty years now and I think the only real regret that I have is not allowing anyone around me to help carry the load.  I guess I was afraid of rejection and not being accepted.  I needed human contact (and not just sexual) and was fearful that people would be afraid to touch me, hold me, kiss me, drink after me, eat after me...you get the picture.  I sort of suffered in silence and didn't even reach out to my best friends or family.  I was a slave to this deep, dark secret.  I managed to keep a smile on my face most of the time and struggled to have meaningful relationships, both emotionally and physically.  Believe me, there is nothing worse than having a hot guy in the bed with you and being embarassed by a limp dick. 

It wasn't all bad though.  I found strength inside of myself that I didn't know that I had, but I regret not reaching out to friends or even my family.  I am one of those people that still has problems letting people see me when I am down.  It's ironic.  That's when I need people the most.  That's when most of us do.  I didn't (still don't) want to be looked at as a joy-sucker or downer.  I think I often over compensate by turning into some witty pseudo-comic in hopes of hiding behind the angst.

I was pushed to many extremes of self-destruction by wallowing in the denial of the painful truth.  It was a twisted, vicious circle.  I know that everyone must come to their own terms of disclosure with the world, but I hope that anyone reading this, that it holding on to their dark secret, to let it fly out into the light.  At 19, I didn't have the self-assurance to withstand what I thought would be an avalanche of rejection and heartache. 

My heart becomes heavy all over again when I read through these personal worries of the newly diagnosed.  I am proud and inspired by all of you who are taking the time to write out your feelingx here and who have taken the first steps toward freedom.  I was always petrified of being held captive by someone else's knowledge of my HIV status.  Once you start acknowledging the skeletons in your closet, no one can really hurt you anymore.

Sure, people may not respond the way that you have in your head, but let's face it, who really does. Furthermore, you can't ever really know what another person is thinking anyway, right?  I say, "Don't wait". "Let people around you help carry the load". "Don't be afraid to let others see you cry". (I'm still working on this one). 

And as a 20 year survivor of this disease, I say, "Let'em love you completely...or let'em walk away."  At least you'll have the security of knowing that your relationships are built around something that is real and true. 

Need a friend?  Not quite ready to let it all hang out?  Take a few steps more...you are already here reading this.

No burden is too great for those who care about you.  Let'em help carry the load.  I wish I would have ten years earlier.

Respectfully yours (and a friend to all of those here), 

"Love isn't love unless it's not painfully absurb."

-Charlotte Martin

Offline Boo Radley

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Re: No burden is too great...let'em help carry the load
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2006, 12:23:50 AM »

I expected there would be some responses to your post before I got around to it but there you go...

It took me a year or so before I became comfortable enough to disclose to friends and some family but after making those leaps I forged ahead and now I tell anyone if the subject arises (or seems to be an opportunity to broach the topic).  I have to say that virtually all of my former coworkers, current and former friends, extant relatives, and even neighbors I meet while walking my dogs have been universally supportive and positive in responding. 

I have a small, close-knit set of real friends (those who would help me hide a body, or whatever that cliche is) who know me well enough not to press me to go out to dinner or a movie if I say I'm not feeling well but will offer to bring me a meal or a DVD or something to help get through trying times.  Geez, in 1997 my best friend Charlotte and her husband Ed took me to dinner and then dropped me off at the psychiatric hospital I willingly entered because I couldn't deal with depression by myself (and they cared for my 4 dogs and 6 cats during the time I was there).

I've lived with HIV for much of my adult life and it's taught me that one needs to be as frank and open as much as is possible given the circumstances (e.g., I grew up in new orleans, not shreveport, which I'm sure would have made me commit suicide before I reached 20).  Each one of us varies in that regard and my family isn't comparable to yours so each of us has to make decisions based on personal experience, but your real friends and those who love you will take HIV/AIDS as another of life's intricacies and support you as the person you are.

If I sound a little loopy it's because I had a couple of glasses of Black Jack earlier and I haven't touched alcohol since last September after Katrina blew everyone's lives away (well, down here she did).

Inebriatedly yours,

String up every aristocrat!
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat!

Everything I do, say, think, excrete, secrete, exude, ooze, or write 2007 Sweet Old Boo, Inc.

Offline poet

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Re: No burden is too great...let'em help carry the load
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2006, 06:17:30 AM »
Brooks.  Thanks for all the thoughts in your post and for putting a face on it.  When I plugged the forums to the social worker who handles mental health issues for my A.S.O. his assumption is that a 'forum' would be easy for people because it's anonymous.  I immediately shot back- and your post with your picture is proof- that we are ANYTHING but anonymous here.  (Ok, my pic is ancient history, so if anyone is passing through the Cape, please help me update it. :)  Here we look out at you as though around a table.  We get to know each other as each of us feels comfortable doing so.  We can lurk for as long as we wish, too.  We can even disagree with each other, but, again, it is face to face and not done anonymously.  So let's hope that your words of experience are heard.  Best, 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 jack

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  • fomerly the loser known as Jake
Re: No burden is too great...let'em help carry the load
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2006, 07:56:49 AM »
I have chose not to disclose to anyone but my wife, but I admire your courage. I loved your post,it was beautiful.

Offline Iggy

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Re: No burden is too great...let'em help carry the load
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2006, 08:51:28 AM »
« Last Edit: January 10, 2007, 08:52:00 PM by Iggy »

Offline Biggums

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Re: No burden is too great...let'em help carry the load
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2006, 10:46:19 AM »

Wonderful post from a remarkable man.  Thanks for sharing.
44 year old gay man .......just broke up with the only man I've ever really loved.

You can love completely without complete understanding.


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