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When does it get better?

Feb 8, 2012

When I first tested positive, I felt like I wanted to die. I felt like my whole life was ruined. I dropped out of college before finding out, but then I felt like I didn't deserve to finish because I was sick. A year later I still feel disgusted with myself. I feel like I was robbed of my life, like I didn't even prepare myself for a time like this. I trusted the person and decided not to use protection and in the blink of an eye my life was ruined. I try to keep myself busy but every time I take my medicine I feel like I want to die. Every time that I see my friends break up with their boyfriends I feel even worse that I'm stuck to a person I hate. I married him to get insurance because I have a lousy job. I feel forced to him and he loves me but I hate him every day. I hate him as much as I hate life. Now, I'm sitting here praying everyday that a cure is near because I don't know how to live this way. I go to the doctors every three months and regularly get my check ups, but I dread every moment I have to sit and have needles pinch me to keep me healthy. I lie to my family every day and tell them I'm fine. My medicine makes me sick but not more sick than knowing I have to die alone. I picked myself up enough to go to work and I began school again. I wish there was another way to look at things, but I'd much rather sleep and never wake up again. So my question to you is: what do I do? I don't know what else to do.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

I'm sorry to hear about the emotional pain you are in. I want you to know that many people living with this virus have felt trapped, angry and hopeless and found their way through those feelings to a much more positive and satisfying situation. I believe you can too. You should feel good about going to work and beginning school again - that reflects real inner strength. The process of integrating news that we are HIV positive into our lives is one of the most difficult things we will ever do, and each individual does it differently. You mention several feelings - shame, anger, betrayal, hopelessness. These are all strong emotions that need to be identified, verbalized, and released. Keeping them bottled up will only negatively impact your physical health. I strongly encourage you to get into psychotherapy as well as a support group where you can discuss how you feel and get support for any action you decide you need to take. You don't have to be trapped in this present situation. Once you begin to express these feelings and build a support system, I believe your path toward more emotional comfort and physical health will become clear.

Good luck,

- David

Is depression a physiological or social phenomenon?
Is it illegal to lie about being HIV positive?

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