Sometimes, I feel like I’m living a lie. I live my “picture-perfect” life with my house in the suburbs, husband, child and career. Meanwhile, I’m fighting an inner battle, an even bigger battle than most people will ever be a part of, I’m fighting HIV. I sometimes feel guilt. I guess the guilt derives from not doing more for HIV, like educating or advocating. I pretend it doesn’t exist. I pretend that it’s not real. I pretend that I have this “picture-perfect” life. But at the end of the day, all I can think about is the HIV attacking my body. It’s drilled into your head upon diagnosis not to disclose to anyone you don’t have to. But, why? Why should I feel such shame? I feel such humiliation and remorse, but I’m not exactly sure why. And furthermore, I’m not sure why I feel like I live two separate lives. My first step to combine my two lives….the AIDS Walk. I signed up to volunteer for the local AIDS Walk. Thankfully, my sister will be there for support, because that will be a very difficult day for me. But I think it’s a big step in an even bigger direction.
Hi Kate. This post has definitely touched a nerve. I have felt exactly the same since diagnosis..I have wondered over the last few months whether there will be a time when I will feel "comfortable" with everyone knowing. Even though I have somehow come to terms with my diagnosis as much as anyone can there is still a sense of sadness and shame that lies within my belly and hence the whole secrecy. My family, my partner and only one close friend knows of my status. The other good thing I have to say is I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl 11 days ago by emergency C-section as I went into early labour and also as my viral load rebounded late in pregnancy. Still waiting for her test results. I am a little anxious but there is also a part of me that says it shall be well. I have since come of medication till I need it for my own health. Strangely it has meant I haven't been constantly reminded of my HIV as I did when I was taking medication and also baby is a handful as it is. My prayer is for the day when I can stand and be boldly counted as a proud HIV positive woman not as a badge of honour but as a badge of courage. Thank you Kate for sharing something which is all so true for a lot of us infected.