Re: Professional in NY feeling alone
09/12/08 02:34 PM
I was diagnosed in January '07. I am a heterosexual mixed race female with a PhD in psychology who had been in a monogamous (?) relationship for the better part of eight years. I was in shock to say the least for an entire year---well I am probably still a wee bit in shock. I relate this to a PTSD-like traumatic experience and have PTSD like symptoms at times when I have to go to the doctor. I can so relate to what you wrote and what others have posted. I have not felt as though I "fit in" when I have gone to support agencies or social groups.
It's not HOW people have contracted the disease that I feel differentiates but the life experiences of many that I think makes it difficult to relate. I also fear sounding like a snob but I have little in common with many HIVers I have met. Perhaps, as a so-called "professional" I feel really stupid for doing this to myself but I am not the type to engage in self-pity. And I do not feel that being a "professional" makes me better than anyone or immune to life's challenges, I just wish I could find more people who are like me in life experience and interests. I would love to meet and speak with other poz folk who want to discuss political issues, go to the theater, or hell, form a book club! I want to connect with others who share my status but also more of who I am as a person. As I read this over I feel badly for what I have written but it is my truth.
Your reactions to being diagnosed are so normal in my opinion. As helpers we aspire to be a model for those we are trying to help. To "walk the walk" as it were. And when we mess up (as all humans can and do) it is almost worse for us. We question how is it we propose to help others when we cannot help ourselves. Yet, it is not the mistakes that people observe but how we recover from them. It is still so new for you and when people told me I would feel differently in a year I thought thy were full of it but it did turn out to be true. I no longer feel as though I have the "Scarlet Plus Sign" emblazoned on my chest. From what I wrote above, I hope it is clear that I am trying to find ways to connect to life beyond HIV. That's not to say I am ready to "out" myself, it is still a process. But I am learning to forgive and love myself in a way I have never. I truly feel for you professional in NY. If you want to chat further please feel free to PM me. Hang in there...it does get better.
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