Good to hear somebody referring to "All of those self-preservation tactics we tend to incorporate into our lifestyles", to all the little "bugs" "out there", and to dealing with social stigma.
I have always been able to perform a number of highly-intricate physical skills, like playing complex piano music, like touch-typing at a rapid rate, like reading difficult material very quickly. All of these things, because of either the HIV and/or the ARVs I'm taking, are now more difficult, they demand greater concentration and attention than before. Now, as they are all very important to me, to who I am and so forth, I have to prepare my mind for them. I find that the ARVs make me feel refrigerated until about 11.30am - it's not until then that I now feel like I used to feel at 8am after a good night's sleep. So I schedule activities which demand concentration for 11.30am and after. But more generally, I am refusing all debris and detritus entrance into my life. I used to let a lot in before, because I had the power to exclude it in a flash and turn my concentration to what I wanted when needed. Now I find moving my concentration from one thing to another quite a challenge. So all the unimportant stuff is being shut out. It's all about maximising quality time. I have been reasonably good with self-discipline in my life but now I need to be a master at it. I need to be much better at saying "No!" For example, a Christmas party one week ago with all the usual eating and drinking left me wrecked for two days. It robbed me of two days of my life really, "but, hey, it's Christmas"! However, I then resolved not to squander any more time in similar fashion this holiday season. I've had two boozy Christmas dinners in the past two weeks and I'm not having any more. The average person could, but I can't because they wipe me out.
The other thing is "depression". HIV specialists are quick to recommend anti-depressants to people with HIV. I don't believe that's the best way to go. I have found that by clearing space for myself, by exercising mental discipline, and by therefore making time for me to do creative things, I can generate enthusiasm and excitement in my life. Occasionally, it even produces moments of happiness and fulfilment. They don't last long, sometimes no more than five minutes, but I have to say that most of the time I am fairly content - and just being content is, I think, a blessing. I'm not dying of hunger and cholera like all those poor people in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe!
Festive Greetings to you!
Without a dream, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. Keep hold of your dreams.