I chose to title this post forward, because it’s time for me to move forward. With life, with managing my HIV and with doing what’s best for me.
One of the things that has been frustrating about this ordeal is some people telling me what I need to do, how I need to do it and when I need to do it. Obviously, my doctor’s advice plays a prominent role in things; but unless you have M.D. after your name, you’re not an expert in my health.
So, the first step forward today was meeting with a therapist to help me deal with all the intense change I now deal with. For the first time since this all began, I was able to look someone in the eyes – someone I don’t know – and say the words that I still struggle with: "I have HIV". We talked about how this happened, how I’m feeling about it, how I feel towards my ex-partner (who is no longer welcome in my life – a story for another post) and to be honest, for the first time, I truly felt comfortable in my own skin again.
The therapist I spoke to insisted that I should meet with a few different therapists, but just talking to her and listening to her approach to dealing with her patients and the fact that she focuses on the way emotions impact thoughts, I felt… safe. And so I’ve decided she will be who I work with moving forward. My gut tells me that she’s the right person for me.
It’s the first step in moving forward. I have a doctor, and I now have a therapist to help me. These are seemingly little steps that actually make a big difference. Slowly, but surely, I feel like I’m starting to become “me” again
Good days and bad days
As I’ve alluded to on more than one occasion, coping with a new HIV diagnosis brings a lot of good days and bad days. For me, even the good days contain a lot of time where the thought of the virus in my body consumes my thoughts. But the bad days are worse.
The bad days are the days I get hung up on things I’ve lost; on missing my former partner, on losing my healthy status, and on losing my sense of security.
Today was a bad day. In fact, the only reason I’m writing this blog post today is because it helps manage the bad days. It helps me focus my energy on something that maybe somebody else going through the same things will stumble upon and realize they aren’t alone.
It’s funny though, because as I reach out to tell others that they aren’t alone, I feel an incredible sense of loneliness. It’s the hours of quiet when I’m home alone that are the hardest on the bad days. My mind wanders. I wonder if fighting is worth it. I wonder if forgoing treatment, if retreating in to a shell and just letting this disease run its course and take me out is the best solution. And rationally, I know it isn’t. I know that things are manageable with treatment. And I know eventually I’ll find my strength again.
But today, it’s gone.
I’d love to hear from you. Commenting on posts is welcome, but you can also reach me on Twitter; I’m @PlusSideOfLife. I'm also on Facebook here.
These articles previously appeared in Josh’s own blog The Plus Side of Life in November 2104 here. Watch for more.