I am devastatingly tired. Today it is a weight pressing on my spirit. It is almost as if it's the only emotion I have room for. In my tired I struggle for the energy to find the light. To be a light.
I call it tired, but it's not really what it is. Tired is my single word euphemism for too many things I don't want to admit and lay claim to. Overwhelmed. Underwhelmed by the things that should bring me joy. Exhaustion. Insomnia to the point that laying down in the evenings gives me anxiety on top of the anxiety I already feel. Depression. Anger. Fear. Loneliness. Sadness. Shame. Restlessness. Pain.
Damn. Just reading all that makes me feel, well-- TIRED. It also nearly takes an act of God for me to admit all that all at once, let alone in a public way. The crazy thing is it only minimally has to do with HIV. Which is WHY I'm admitting here in this way. I know that talking (or writing) about things sometimes helps. If not me, maybe someone else.
To say I don't think about my HIV daily would be a lie. I take my meds routinely, so it gets some part of my time and attention every single day. Some days it's the couple of minutes between my pill reminders going off on my phone and popping it in my mouth, sometimes it is the stupid pill reminder every 8 minutes for a few hours while I drag my feet in resentment before finally doing the right thing and taking it. I am fully med adherent, but it annoys my entire existence most of the time. I think about it when it's time to disclose in a personal relationship or dating situation, but I don't let it discourage me from trying to build those connections. I think about it during the day as I nurse my patients, and all of the negative and positive (innuendo intended) emotion involved in that.
Yet while HIV is a big part of life, it doesn't CONSUME my life. I will not let it. I have NO doubt whatsoever that my HIV and my HIV medications contribute to my tired. They contribute to my general body aches and restlessness. It's a factor in my depression and feelings of being lonely. If I forget and take my meds too late, it is a factor in my insomnia. I swear sometimes I feel simultaneously caught in a whirlwind and standing still at the same time. The HIV did a number on my psyche for a time. Made me feel crazy and off balance. Less so now. Time has done its thing to make it easier and I've put in the work I needed for healing.
The HIV has a place in this emotional thing, but it's not "THE THING". It is not the root cause of what all I have going on. I have some of the same problems I had before I got HIV. Friendships and dating-ships. Work. Decent and affordable housing. Finances. Healthcare. Issues and things I had before that are multiplied by HIV. Oh my Lord, do those things still exist. Now though, there is new stuff. Doesn't there always seem to be in life? My child and my grandson are living with me. After years of solitude that is an adjustment like you wouldn't believe. I'm "aging" now too. Joints and bones and new body aches. *insert dramatic eye roll* I'm single and the pickings are slim (or more to the point, I'm picky). Politics affect me more now than in my youth. Depression and I are old friends but this battle with anxiety is new.
I actually believe we give HIV too much power over our lives sometimes. It changes us. It can shape us, make us different. But HOW it does those things is up to us. I either believe I am more than three letters, or I am not. I am more than HIV. Despite what other people think, and what we ourselves sometimes think in the beginning, HIV is not the worst thing that can happen in life. I am tired. Yet I am also strong. I am resilient. I have joy for the sadness, peace for the anger, connections for the lonely. When you cannot find the light, be the light. My light is flickering today, but it's not out.