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Next stop: unknown

Tuesday, 22 March 2016 Written by // Josh Categories // Gay Men, Newly Diagnosed, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Josh, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific

Our Toronto guy Josh is changing jobs and his concerns about HIV drug coverage and security and he’s anxious and angry that his HIV status is intruding again

Next stop: unknown

This post is coming at a point where I’m feeling a lot of anxiety, so it might not be concise or even sensible. I needed to get my thoughts off my chest and out somewhere to try and calm down. 

I’ve been considering changing jobs for some time now. I value the place I work; it does good things for vulnerable people, and the team that I am on is incredibly supportive and smart. I also have a manager who I value and respect. She’s the only one at work who knows about my status, and she’s had my back every step of the way since I told her. 

Well, last week my “considering” changing jobs became action. I was made an offer with another organization that also does good work for vulnerable people, and I’ll be working with a manager I’ve had in the past who I also greatly value and respect. But I’m leaving a permanent job for a one-year contract, with the potential for unemployment in a year. It’s likely that won’t happen, but there’s always a small chance. I was comfortable taking that risk (or so I thought). 

Everything hit me today: I’ve walked away from a good job, and a boss I like, and a benefits plan that covers 100 per cent of my high drug costs. Yes, I’ve taken another good job and have another good boss, but I’m going to be two-months without benefits coverage from an employer for my drugs (scary, but there are solutions). I’m also walking away from the “known” into the “unknown”, and it’s stirring up all the feelings I had around the time of my HIV diagnosis. What’s next? What’s happening? Who is going to help me? I can’t help but have a tiny, small nagging feeling that I’ve done something crazy, and have pushed the rock too far down the hill to stop its momentum. 

I guess the point of this post is that I’m scared. I’m scared about what’s next, I’m scared about making sure I can still pay for my drugs, and I’m scared that when all of this is done, I’ll have walked away from a job that could be frustrating at times, but covered my drugs and was flexible when I went to have bloodwork or to see my doctor. 

I’m also angry. I’m angry that my HIV is a factor I have to consider when making these already big decisions. I’m angry at Alex for doing this to me, and I’m angry that all these old feelings are coming up; feelings I thought were settled. 

I don’t like the unknown. I don’t like giving up control. All of those things are happening again, and it’s an uncomfortable, panicky feeling that I just wish would go away. 

This article originally appeared in Josh’s own blog The Plus Side of Life here.