You know, I love the holidays, I really do. But a part of me dreads them as well. I love spending time with my family, both immediate and extended. But a part of me can’t help but feel so alone when I’m sitting amidst the family gathering. I can’t help but want to share my deepest secret…that I’m HIV positive. How is it possible to be in a crowd, yet feel so lonely. Wondering if they would still love me? Would they judge me? Would they accept me? While my immediate family is aware of my status, my extended family is clueless. I was diagnosed nearly three years ago and yet I still can’t share my experience. When I was first diagnosed, my doctor advised against telling anyone I didn’t have to. In fact, he said that I should even consider whether or not I want to tell my immediate family. My doctor had explained that unless I was having sex with someone or sharing a needle – they didn’t need to know. So I have, for the most part, heeded his advice. I told my closest family members (Mom, Dad, Siblings and Grandparents). My coworkers found out because I was diagnosed over the phone while I was at work – yes you read that correctly. But that’s a different blog entry all together. Anyhow, I often feel the desire to share my HIV status with my family, as we sit around talking, laughing and sharing. But I can’t. I can’t find the courage or the strength or even the words. The reason I can’t seem to do this..….my family. I feel the need to protect the people I love so much. I don’t want them to be embarrassed or ashamed. I want and sometimes need their love and acceptance. While this logic may not make sense to some, it is my feelings at this moment in time. Not to say that I won’t eventually share my status, but right now, I’m just going to sit amongst my happy, naïve family and enjoy myself this wonderful holiday season.
I read that Merry Christmas message and it screams out to me that's you Kate is talking about the difference though is i havent told my folks just my cousin who knows its been a year now since i walked into a testing centre and got the diagnosis it was shocking cause to me it was just routine to have a test done then bang you are positive. I am glad am here now and enjoying life living positively, the Lord has been faithful to me and my son(he is negative) thus far but i always dread telling my parents.
I got diagnosed 3 mos ago and it had been really bothering me because I come from a very large family and was afraid that if they knew they would be scared of me. I don't have my mom to confide in anymore and being the oldest I never really could trust my sisters to keep a big secret. I finally told one of them only to have them break my confidence already. I don't think she realizes that it's not just me but my children and husband as well and I don't want to put them through any unnecessary meanness from others over what is going on with me. My children don't know and I am not going to tell them right now at least. As far as my husband he was upset that I told my sister. I feel that he is ashamed of me even though he says he's not. Going to get my medicine really sucks too because I just don't want anyone to place the face with the prescription. I feel that I have no one to talk to. I don't know who I can trust. My husband says he doesn't need anyone to talk to because he has me. So why couldn't I just keep my mouth shut?
I completely understand your worry concerning your sister. In fact, my husband and I decided to tell our parents, siblings and very best friends. Unfortunately, his mother decided to call everyone in the family (and I mean everyone) to tell them we were positive. I was furious. But luckily, even after that embarrassment and breach of trust, we survived and everyone on his side of the family still accepts us.
The only time I worry now, is during our son's birthday parties. His side knows, my side has no idea. So I always worry that something will be said.
My suggestion is to be prepared to educate. I've had to educate those I've told. HIV is simply not something most people have knowledge about, so its important to use the opportunity to teach. I still answer questions for people who have known since the day I was diagnosed nearly three years age. But I'd rather them ask and be educated than speculate and be wrong.