The darkness within me first visited me as a child. I was sexually assaulted and kept this shame to myself for seven years. This brought about a low self esteem, depression and isolation.
Today that darkness still exists within me. Sometimes it is just a small nuisance and other times it grows to an enormous size. This is complicated with the issue of disclosure of my HIV status at work and in personal relationships.
A former supervisor was working in human resources and somehow learned that I am HIV positive and decided to share this information with co-workers. Now while searching for work I can't help but wonder if this is a factor in getting no responses to my job searches. Additionally, when it comes to dating I never meet someone and get comfortable with them without the fear of disclosure.
I constantly struggle with loneliness and isolation. Picking up the phone to call someone is like picking up a heavy weight, but I have to force myself to do it. Going out to social events, especially alone, can feel like jumping off a ledge, but I must push through this anxiety. Once I get there I ususally enjoy myself. Finally, picking up a pen and writing when the darkness is strong is ever so difficult. Although writing breaks down the darkness so I must write anyways.
To fight this darkness I have learned that support groups and 12 step groups are very helpful. I have a long history of substance abuse in my family and former partners, so I attend National Alliance for Mental Illness group for individuals diagnosed with mental illness. I also meet with a therapist and psychiatrist regularly and take my medications as prescribed. Fighting the darkness within is a daily challenge, but to stop fighting is death.
It is a good fight. Never easy, but worth it. The odd thing about darkness inside us is sometimes its comfortable right? Its familiar, and stepping outside of it is a bit scary. I'm proud of you for doing so!!
Love and Light!
No, this fight isn't easy,
No, this fight isn't easy, but it is defiantly worth it. Yes, part of that fight is fighting the comfort of the darkness. That fight begins with acknowledging and shining a light on the darkness so that it isn't comfortable. Thank you for your support in this fight.
Fighting the Social stigma of HIV
Hi, My name is Michelle I am currently a high school student working on a project about HIV. I am focusing on the personal experience and the anatomy behind HIV. I found your story inspiring and how you have continued persevered through difficult obstacles. I would really appreciate it if you could answer a few questions. Do you think that support groups have helped you change your perspective on life? In the workplace, what do you think can be done to fight against HIV discrimination and social stigmas.
Michelle, I think that it is great that your working on this project. Awareness can equal prevention and save lives. I find support groups very beneficial. I attend several groups for different issues. These groups have given me a better perspective on life's challenges. I feel that education in the workplace about not just prevention but PrEP and how effective the treatments are today and U=U. I hope that helps but feel free to ask questions anytime.