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HIV Life >> I Just Tested Positive

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TheGoodLife
Regular

Reged: 01/01/12
Posts: 25
ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying
      #259767 - 01/02/12 11:38 AM

I'm newly diagnosed. Two weeks in. I'm a strong-minded, stable professional who took a tailspin from this but I feel myself gaining strength. I want to tell my sister, but I don't know how... and I am so scared for a few reasons.

1. I'm the strong one. She is not. I fear her anxiety will take over.
2. She's the mother of my nephews, who mean everything to me. While she is very open minded I fear my diagnosis will affect this relationship.
3. I feel I already betrayed her family by exposing myself to this disease. They count on me and I've let them down in the biggest way by putting my like in danger.

But I must tell her, regardless of these fears. It feels wrong not to. Oh, one other issue is she lives out of state. This is news I should tell in person. I suppose that could buy me a little time. But the more time passes, the longer I'll feel I'm keeping a horrible secret.

ADVICE??

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kicker
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Reged: 10/25/10
Posts: 1016
Loc: GA, USA
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betra new
      #259768 - 01/02/12 11:59 AM

When I told my younger sisters I was out of state so it wasnt fce to face. My one sister has kids. They asked the normal questions who what when where why and how. Then the funny part is they both said the same exact thing, "who gives a flying fuck your still my big bro, but you better start taking care of yourself."

I saw both of them for my one sisters wedding and the one with the kids who is always a wreak couldnt be happier to let me take them off her hands for a while. She said she knows no matter what I would never let anything happen to them if it was in my power to stop it. I thought she would respond poorly like you do. People surprise you, that and you cant control how people react. If telling her is important like it was for me then do it for you and know no matter what you did the right thing for you. Allow her time to process. Remember youve had two weeks she will have only had a few seconds.

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TheGoodLife
Regular

Reged: 01/01/12
Posts: 25
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betra new
      #259770 - 01/02/12 01:09 PM

That's assuring. She worries so much already, and I am her "rock." I just can't believe I let myself get into this situation. I need her family's support more than anything. I know she won't turn her back on me., but I worry she'll pull back the kids out of fear for all sorts of reasons. They were the first thing I thought of after my diagnosis. I love them like my own.

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Pos_in_Thailand
Guardian

Reged: 02/01/11
Posts: 464
Loc: Thailand
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying new
      #259782 - 01/02/12 11:24 PM

I know many will disagree, but I have not disclosed to my parents and siblings. The only family member that knows is my aunt, who is very cool and level-headed. My parents and siblings are not - they are very anxious people and very emotional and let their emotions run their lives. My aunt has been very good and supportive, but there are times I even regret telling her - I can see that the relationship has changed a little, and that she does worry for me.

When I was first diagnosed, a friend of mine who has lived with this virus as long as I am old told me, "if there is nothing clearly positive that you can see in telling the friend or family member, don't." He said to be honest with yourself and ask why you think you need to tell this person? What benefit will it potentially get you? If there is no clear answers to these questions, then you may not want to disclose - once the genie is out of the bottle, it doesn't go back in.

A potential lover should be told, but other than that, the decision is yours. When I was first diagnosed, I felt I had to tell everyone, but following my friend's advice, I didn't, and am glad that I have not, at least at this point. You can always tell them later if it seems like a clear thing to do. You are still in shock yourself, and may want to give yourself some time before you tell anyone so that you can decide with a clear head. If she can help support you emotionally and you need her to and to know, then do it, but you may want to give yourself some time.

I know many will disagree with me - this is just my opinion and story. But, I think it's a good idea to be cautious and to really be mindful of what you plan to gain from disclosing before you do it. It's a very personal matter.

Best of luck! Please feel free to talk to me any time!

~PIT

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riverprincessModerator
Moderator

Reged: 12/25/11
Posts: 1653
Loc: Jersey Shore
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betra new
      #259793 - 01/03/12 09:11 AM

It's not about betrayal. It is a personal choice. Ask yourself what will it benifit for you or whomever you want to disclose to. It's not mandatory to tell all that your in contact with , unless your planing on having sex or sharing needles with all of them. Then I'd say you got more issues than just being HIV. But it doesn't make you any less of a person. And as for family, you know each member and whether or not you think they can handle it , and even then how they handle is will partly depend on how your handling it. And it's also an opportunity to educate them as well as yourself. It's your choice my friend .

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AIDS2HIV
Legend

Reged: 12/19/05
Posts: 2200
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betra new
      #259814 - 01/03/12 08:43 PM

i agree with riverprincess... i can tell you that HIV is one of those things, that has the capability of severing the strongest of ties, whether it does it or not is a dice roll....choose wisely, and as with anything else timing is everything*

--------------------
Thinking about meeting someone from this site? Read my profile before you do.

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wanttolive
Member

Reged: 12/30/11
Posts: 15
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying new
      #259893 - 01/05/12 07:26 PM

Hi, TheGoodLife! I apologize for being MIA. This emotional rollercoaster is something else, isn't it?

TheGoodLife, I feel just like you do. I am still waiting on the diagnosis but everyday I wait I get more and more reluctant to tell my sister with the kids. But then there is the guilt. If I had kids, would I want my sister to tell me about her condition? Yes. But honestly, what will my sister do with that info besides worry or treat me differently? Everyday I am leaning towards telling her only if I start to get sick....



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Pos_in_Thailand
Guardian

Reged: 02/01/11
Posts: 464
Loc: Thailand
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying new
      #259896 - 01/05/12 07:57 PM

Hmmm...

May I ask, how does your sibling having kids change anything? You are not a threat to them. I would not really take that into consideration when deciding whether to disclose or not. In fact, for me, if the kids are very young, it might even make me lean more to the side of not disclosing, since they may not be old enough to really understand everything accurately.

It's absolutely up to you and your feelings, but do realize that you are not a threat to others, and you are not obligated to tell anyone, other than your spouse. This is a huge shock to you right now, and you are trying to cope with many emotions. If telling someone now is what you need to get through this, and you know they will support and understand you, then great. But, if you are not sure, at this point, just be cautious. Let the dust settle, and when you feel a bit better, then maybe start making these decisions.

Everyone has to do what is best for them. I'm just sharing my feelings from my experience, and from what others have shared with me. I have told very few people, and the ones I did tell were ones I knew would understand, be supportive, and be there for me. The ones I even hesitate over, I have not told, and so-far, that has worked well.

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TheGoodLife
Regular

Reged: 01/01/12
Posts: 25
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying new
      #259899 - 01/05/12 08:10 PM

Yes... that makes a huge difference. She's educated and would know it's not a risk. But wouldn't ANY mother worry? It will always be in the back of her head, I'm sure. It will mine when I'm around them.

Regardless of me, she's very anxious and I know she'd react terribly to the news. It will be a major adjustment for her, and I don't know how to best help her handle the news. I need her support and to know she's there for me. But have other steps to take first.

As for me... I'm handling it by dealing with that I can each day. I'm still waiting on my confirmation Western Blot. However... I have already set up two doctor's appointments (one for blood work, another with the ID specialist) and have booked an appointment for mental health counseling.

I'm scared. And in a bit of denial. But trying to worry less and simply do what I can when I can... rather than worry about issues years down the line.

Disclosing to family must happen. But I realized thinking about that was making me a total nervous wreck. So I've decided to put it off until - at least - after I have my first round of appointments with the doctors. I want to have all the questions answered that I can.

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Pos_in_Thailand
Guardian

Reged: 02/01/11
Posts: 464
Loc: Thailand
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying new
      #259932 - 01/06/12 01:08 PM

I think it's very wise to put it off disclosing for now and get your questions answered and build a good relationship with your doc. That makes a HUGE difference in how you will feel about your situation.

I have three children that I raise by myself, while working more than full-time and finishing my master's degree. Trust me, you are not a threat to anyone or anyone's children - that is something you need to eliminate from your thinking. Over here, families eat together, taking food from the same plates with chopsticks, drinking from the same cups, etc. If anything, they are a threat to ME because they are always coming home with colds, fevers and flues (which I usually then get). There is no way, through any normal family contact, that you pose a risk to them. My mother is a complete germ-o-phobe, and full of anxiety about every tiny little thing. That is exactly why I will not tell her or anyone who would tell her. That is the last thing I need in my life. Anxiety and stress are our worst enemies. You want to limit them as much as possible.

If you think that your family will stress over this, that is the last thing you need, more stress - plus their emotions and a zillion questions when you are just trying to get yourself understood and sorted out. Do take your time, don't do anything you are not 100% ready for, and focus on your needs right now, and ultimately, your happiness and health. The rest will fall into place as it should.

I am sure you are scared - that is healthy and natural at this moment. Use the fear to tackle this head-on and take control of it - don't let it run you off. Take it a few moments at a time and focus on the now. Soon, your "vision" will become clear again, and the future will come into a bright focus. You have a wonderful future ahead of you, as long as you keep on top of your health. You will achieve your goals, and this may give you the focus and strength to really soar. This is your opportunity to really connect with your dreams and realize them, discovering how strong you really are.

I'm so glad you are here talking to everyone and that you are getting your appointments scheduled and keeping them. Seeing a counselor will be great too. They will give you lots of tools for defusing the stress and worry. It will get easier, and you are not alone in this. Take a deep breath and try to rest. It will be ok. Please talk to me any time. You have a lot of support and strength from this forum!

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vripley
Member

Reged: 01/22/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Maryland
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying new
      #260524 - 01/23/12 12:06 PM

Ultimately the decision to tell/or not lies with you. It is no one's business except your own. Remember that even though you think you are the rock in your family, you will now need them too. They are a support system.

I can tell you that the longer you wait to tell them, the tougher it will be to do. You might want to write down everyone in your life that you love deep enough to include them in your diagnosis. Once you have that list, it will be easier to handle. Then, write next to each name how they will react to the news. You can make notes about how to handle each conversation.

I have told hundreds now, and it NEVER gets easier. But, it does become more routine. These days I usually start it off something like this:

"I've got something really important that I want to discuss with you. This is really personal ... And, I am kind of dropping a bomb on you with this info ..."

Let us know what you decide, and how it goes.

-Vaughn

--------------------
hivlongevity.com
www.vaughnripley.com

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riverprincessModerator
Moderator

Reged: 12/25/11
Posts: 1653
Loc: Jersey Shore
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying new
      #260534 - 01/23/12 07:00 PM

Ripley , This is not a horrible secret. It's simply a condition that you may or may not chose to disclose. I read posted somewhere that one should ask themself 3 things.
1. What do I gain from telling
2 What does the other person gain from knowing
3 What difference does it make to either if told.

Now you say your sister lives out of state. So perhaps she'll end up feeling helpless by not being with you. And fearful if she isn't properly informed about the condition. The guilt is more on your part and you shouldn't feel guilty. It is what it is .Lets say give it 3 months, think about it . And if you still fell the need to tell , then do as you want. But when in doubt, don't. You'll know if and when the time is right.

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Pos_in_Thailand
Guardian

Reged: 02/01/11
Posts: 464
Loc: Thailand
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying new
      #260536 - 01/23/12 08:36 PM

I think this is a pretty good plan.

I think it's important for someone to take time and get adjusted and thinking clearly again before making any decisions that can't be undone. Making a list of what you hope to achieve by disclosing and looking at them is very sensible.

It's not about shame - it's a personal issue that only you can decide how to manage.

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ebbhyen
Newbie

Reged: 02/01/12
Posts: 3
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying new
      #260846 - 02/01/12 03:28 PM

Thank you for sharing some sound advise. Sometimes people fail to realize that those we tell may take the news as hard as we did, and actually feel more helpless than we did. Like you, I realize there may be others that disagree, although I feel there may be room for both points of view.

I was a pastor when diagnosed. The only two people I told were my parents, although I did tell the congregation I had been given a terminal diagnosis (this was in 94'). When the congregation was told, it was at a time I felt more equipped and had worked though most of my personal issues. Now, I am very open about my diagnosis. For myself, I now feel I have a responsibility to help others understand about HIV/AIDS, although, there are many of my relatives that I still have not told. I believe there will come a time I will share with them, but I believe it will be in God's timing, not mine.

I believe, unless it is necessary, we should wait till we are able to speak out of strength, rather than fear. Because of waiting, I know that when I now talk to people, my words bring comfort and hope.

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riverprincessModerator
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Reged: 12/25/11
Posts: 1653
Loc: Jersey Shore
Re: ADVICE!? Telling/Not Telling. I feel I'm betraying new
      #260847 - 02/01/12 07:35 PM

I remember when hubby and I finally told our pastor. We were relativly new to the church , not long after both of us getting out of prison. The church and congregation accepted us but first it was brought to the board members. We were the first Hiv.aids people to go to the altar. I like to think that God used us to touch many and open doors for others.

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