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Help me to understand why this happened!!
Nov 6, 2002

Hi, thanks for having such a wonderful and inciteful place people can read about how destructive this disease can be. Whether its mental or physical. I am just writing here to "vent". I have no where else to turn. I made the hugest mistake of my life almost 4 years ago. I can't believe I was so stupid. I knew better, this person was always a manipulator. I truly believed there had been a wonderful change. Little did I know that there had been a change, but not good. I was always one of those people that really didn't think it could happen to me, most of the people I had been with was safe and I had known them for a long time(exception of two). This person was actually one of the ones that I had known for a while. I shouldn't have trust them, but I needed to feel that something from my past with that person had been real, not just manipulation. So again, I had fallen for it. Unbeknownst to me, this person was infected. I just didn't want to hear their comments. Thinking back now, everything they said to me, was a little hint that there was something wrong. Why do people have to be so cruel with this disease. I knew that I had hurt that persons life in a previous time, but at least it was something to be able to rebound from and continue with life. I don't think I can rebound from this one. If I hadn't already been looking at my future with the one person that I finally found to spend the rest of my life with and start a family and grow old with, MAYBE it could have been easier to handle. But now that I have seen the future that I could have had with this wonderful person, I just don't want to live anymore. Why did that person of my past have so much hate for me? Why couldn't they have left the past in the past? Why couldn't I? All I do lately is think about that situation and try and change it. I know it can't be changed, but the memory is so very clear in my head I can't move beyond it. I just don't think I can make it through all of this. My life wasn't supposed to be this way. It was supposed to be happy and fulfilling. Now I will never have that chance. How will I tell my family and friends about this.

I feel so ashamed for what I did. I even remember hiding it and lying to friends just so they wouldn't know that I had done this. The thing that really "gets" me is that there were times that people had told me hints about this person, before it happened. I just didnt question them. I didn't want to know. I wanted my feelings to be real,even knowing there was no chance of being in public together. I so wanted to know that what I had previously done, was not wrong in my heart, even if I knew it had been morally wrong. How could I have let this happen ?? I knew back then that I probably should heve been in therapy for my issues from that person. But my friends kept saying that I didn't need it. I was just trying to voice to them thatI needed help but i couldn't find the words to tell them about everything and didn't want to hear thier negative comments. Why? Why? Couldn't I have told them I was going to meet that person? And return home to tell them what I was feeling after wards? Why did I have to fall for those manipulative words? That person always knew the right buttons to push and I knew that. They played on all of my thoughts and feelings. Why????

I'm so sorry, I know that I shouldn't have rambled on here, but I just needed to write this all out, in hopes of lightened my heavy burden. If you have any suggestions, I'd be ever so appreciative. If you would be so kind and post this, maybe you or others can help me with these emotions I can't seem to handle. Again, I'm sorry for my rambling...

Response from Mr. Shernoff

It does not matter at all why the person infected you acted in the way he did, just as it no longer really matters why you participated in behavior that resulted in your becoming infected. What mattters now is how you adapt to living with HIV in a way that allows you achieve emotional balance, and the best quality of life possible.

It sounds like you could really use a support group for people living with the disease. I urge you to call the nearest AIDS service organization to enroll in a support group. There you will meet other people living with HIV who can help you learn how to live with this in dignity. Joining a group will also help lessen the isolation you feel, and hopefully help you learn how to reduce any shame you feel about being infected with HIV. There is not any reason for you to have shame, either about having gotten infected or now having HIV.

From your e mail it sounds as if you could really benefit from professional mental health counseling as well. I urge you to seek out a therapist who has experience in working with people living with HIV. You do not have to go through this alone.

Please take both of these actions at once.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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