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Reged: 06/03/13
Posts: 48
Putting a face just for the world
      #272369 - 06/04/13 09:39 PM

"Fake it 'till you make it" as they say...? Well, in the process to find out if this is really true, I've been dealing with our common issue in two different ways. One of them, the one that my friends, family and loved ones see, is that of the brave, professional guy who decided to take control succesfully. Smiling, healthy, undetectable, swimmer, social butterfly and so on and so forth. Then, there's the inner reality...which is an extreme sense of loss and sadness that has been ever present. I cry and lot, and nobody sees it, specially my mother, whom being a cancer fighter and survivor, puts my own battle to shame. No...I don't want anybody to see my real insides, and in the process I keep getting greetings and congratulations...and I keep smiling. I have retreated into solitude and into a state of perpetual mourning.

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Reged: 10/25/10
Posts: 1131
Loc: GA, USA
Re: Putting a face just for the world new
      #272370 - 06/04/13 10:31 PM

Maybe just maybe your success with your undetectable status is also your downfall. Many HIV meds can cause depression, whether its the medication or the idea of the medication and what it means has yet to be completely studied. If you are finding it so difficult and lonely you do have options.

First you can talk to your doctor to see if the medication you are taking is known to have a worsening effect on your mental health. They would be the best resource to evaluate this. They may suggest changing meds this would be different than treatment failure and you will still have the option to switch back if the need arises.

The other option is to talk to a therapist. There may be underlying things that may be coming to the forefront now that you are stable in your life. Stuff left over that wasn't properly dealt with.

It sounds like you have come so far no reason to stop and retreat not when you are overwhelmingly winning. Sometimes even the stress of success can turn to fear and loathing. Since you feel like you are wearing two faces you recognize that this second face isn't the one you want to wear.

Also talk to your mom, who better to talk to about dealing with a life altering illness than someone who has won her own battles. Don't diminish the effects it's having on you by comparing it to her experience. Everyone experiences things differently, so just because your problem is different doesn't mean she didn't have the same fears and aspirations. It's asinine to compare you to someone else you will never find a perfect match.

Just a quick example my room mate told me today he feels stupid when he tries to compare himself to me as far as intelligence. I asked him why, because I honestly couldn't understand the concept. In short he feels my knowledge and understanding of the world around me is far superior to his own. I told him I often envy him because he is more "normal" than I will ever be but I don't try to compare each person has their strengths and weaknesses and each one is unique. As long as we can meet on common ground more often than not what does it matter who is smarter.

Just change the smarter to illness and I'm sure you will get the point.

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Reged: 06/03/13
Posts: 48
Re: Putting a face just for the world new
      #272373 - 06/04/13 11:48 PM

Kicker, I really appreciate your prompt and honest reply. Confession. Right after posting my thoughts I almost regretted it, as I always have felt rejection for anything resembling a sense of self pity. Now I'm glad I did it. This is the first time in 5 years that I reach out to any kind of public support, and even if permeated with anonymity, it feels nice. As per my mother, what can I tell you, kicker... She's my hero, such a brave woman, a real winner. Shiner days must come upon, pal. They just ought to be out there.

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Reged: 07/30/09
Posts: 28
Loc: Alabama
Re: Putting a face just for the world new
      #272376 - 06/05/13 02:56 AM

Honey it's time to come out of hiding and let the world see the sunshine you have inside I know about dealing with cancer since I was my " little sister's " caregiver in her latter stages of brain cancer and now since you mentioned your mother being a cancer survivor do you not want her to know of the demons inside you are dealing with ?
Now i know that letting other's know who one feel's inside is not for every one but as the old saying goes " misery loves company " so by simply letting other's know your inner feelings you are letting some of those inner deamon's haunting you be set free and maybe in the process get a little help along the way as well

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Reged: 06/03/13
Posts: 48
Re: Putting a face just for the world new
      #272383 - 06/05/13 07:14 AM

Daddy-Bearby...It will take mountains to accept's one's vulnerability at times, and somehow I have come to accept that there was never-(and probably never will be)-a full sense of closure. You know very well, I'm sure, about the countless times asking onself that perpetual question of "why?", and about feeling trapped in a net of negative thoughts, even though trying-(and succeding)-in going the opposite way on the surface. I lost my father also not to long ago from the same cause of your little sister. At one point it was the three of us: my mother, my father and mself going through hell. My father did not make mother did, bless her, and me, well, here I am...head messed up and all trying to find some sense out of it all. I'm glad also you bring up the subject of loosing a loved one, because in full honesty mode...there was a before and an after my beloved father's passing, another issue that I know has never been put to rest. Thank you all for your kind words.

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Reged: 03/21/13
Posts: 2
Re: Putting a face just for the world new
      #272525 - 06/13/13 11:39 PM

Welcome to the club. I've had to keep my status secret out of fear of malpractice lawsuits and it has taken it's toll. Even worse is our fellow gay folks asking if we are "clean' or "dirty" re: HIV. I know of no other disease where patients are referred to as "dirty." Our own community is our worst enemy. Adding to this is the constant fear of rejection and a limited, if any, sex life and we have good reason to be depressed. The criminalization of HIV in many states makes the situation even worse and I have only seen things get worse over the past 30 years. The only thing you can do is try to live as normal a life as possible and try to minimize the things we are prevented from doing due to others view of us.

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Reged: 01/26/11
Posts: 51
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Re: Putting a face just for the world new
      #272532 - 06/14/13 11:29 AM

I know how you feel....My situation is bad....I am healthy but I feel very unhappy, misplaced, lonely and rejected. Not really much reason to carry on........I hate it when I see someone smile or laugh...I haven't smiled or laughed in a very long time. I fake an existence to get through, throw myself into work.....depressed and down.........HIV sucks and being gay isn't any better...

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Reged: 05/15/13
Posts: 488
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Re: Putting a face just for the world new
      #272544 - 06/15/13 03:09 AM

I would have to agree with you regarding the gay community and how it is our worst enemy. So judgemental and superficial it's really difficult at times to just be gay. We march in PRIDE day celebrations trying to be equal with the heterosexual world, yet are we equals as gay? No! It is so nice at times to see a loving monogamous gay or lesbian
couple happily going through their lives, doing things as a couple and family. Then you get tossed into the single dating world of gay and your judged from body hair to penis size to of course "clean or dirty" ... the thing I hate most is when your meeting someone on an online friendship/dating site thing and they always toss out "stats" as the first comment, not a "Hi" or "Goodday" ... just "stats". Judgemental and rude, almost makes a gay man not want to be gay, to be judged like that!
To live a normal life I like to think our normal comes from who we are not the "society normal" so many set the standard to. My normal is totally different to your normal, but it is that normal that keeps me grounded ... my interests, my way of handling things, my way of seeing the world. It's that unique individuality that should govern each persons normal, and that is what makes life worth living. I can't measure to what society sets as a "normal" but I can measure to what I need in my normal!
I don't want other people in my normal unless of course I feel comfortable with them, yeah I know sounds judgemental, but honestly if someone is going to bring a negitive vibe into my normal, no thanks!
I will admit I am lucky to be living in Canada, we have no disclosure laws or criminalization laws, someone can still charge you if you don't tell them during an intimate encounter, but you don't have to have it tattooed to your forehead!!!
I call it just following the "laws of HIV", we all know what they are, follow those and there's no problems, tell only those people you feel need to know, otherwise, none of their business!
"Putting on a face just for the world", hell no, look in the mirror and put that face on for yourself, start with you. Kinda like that old saying, smile and the whole world smiles with you! (unless your a clown then they might just smile at you)

anotherday ... in paradise!
daily ponder ... be the reason someone smiles today!

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Reged: 06/01/06
Posts: 256
Loc: Gauteng, South Africa
Re: Putting a face just for the world new
      #274384 - 11/15/13 04:44 AM

Just something I wrote just after my DX in 2006.

My mirror has two faces.

Come morning the sun shine bright
Have to put on my happy face
Once again to hide my pain
The grove cut deep the wound still fresh
But for now I have to hide my pain

Smiles, so wide like the river Nile
The eyes as narrow as a tear in a rock
From the night before when cried asleep
But for now I have to hide my pain

People have been deceived
By the mask I wear to hide my pain
Ripped from a life once known
Come night again no more hiding the pain

As the darkness descend so does my happy face
And reality faces me once again
I sing myself a happy song
But that does not last for long
For I know there is something wrong

Counting the minutes before I sleep
For the night is too long
And no more happy songs
Leaving my mind in thought

Thus is my life now that of a mirror
With two faces.

"Live for today, because what you do today is what you use to make your future"

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