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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Keeping Perspective!

By Rae Lewis-Thornton

August 12, 2013

This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.

Enough is enough already! I mean really enough! That first week going into the BlogHer conference I was on a roll with this blogging thing, at least I think I was. Then I tried to get right back in the groove after BlogHer and my health took yet another dive. I had only been off that last round of IV medication for a week.

One freaking week and then my health took a freaking dive. Well, actually it never really got better. Yes, the herpes from hell healed, but I was still having other heath problems, even during BlogHer. I looked Fab and I was tweeting all day, but I was struggling throughout the day. I was even taking pain medicine and laying down for an hour in between events. I'll get into those details on my health later this week.

So, I was sitting in bed last night thinking that my health has been all consuming. All-fucking-consuming! To the point that it has interfered with my life in it's entirety, from sending out bracelet orders to writing my blog.

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I was thinking that I'm not liking how this is feeling, not one bit. I'm not liking the fact that it feels like I have lost control over my freaking life. This feeling can lead to depression, so when I become this overwhelmed I have to step away from that one thing that is causing the most chaos. Right now, that thing is my health. In reality I can't really walk away from my health, but I can sit it at the bottom of that list floating through my head. It's like this, if you put that one thing at the bottom, then you can see the rest of your life. The other stuff moves up.

When I become this desperate, I get out of myself and start to tally up, the truth that is! In reality, I haven't lost control, it just feels that way because Super Woman had to take a back seat! Yes, some bracelet orders were sent out far later than they should have been, but I did eventually get them all out last week. That was a major accomplishment for real, for real. Then, my intern, Tiara, and I organized my beads.

When I tell you I had beads from one end of my living room to the next, I am not lying. It took us a few days, but we managed to get it done just in time for the cleaning service to come and get my house clean. I've been so sick I haven't been able to clean and my BFF paid for a service to get my house together. Now, Sophie and I can sit in the living room and people watch from our big picture window and not be embarrassed to have the curtains all the way open.

No, I haven't answered one e-mail. No, I haven't followed up on anything to do with BlogHer. Yes, there are some product reviews, all around good information and a few giveaways that are coming. I have at least three books that I have finished reading that need to be reviewed, as well as some great new teas to tell you about.

No, I haven't finished my fall bracelet collection. Now that's the one that makes me real nervous. When people come to a store they want to see new product. That is a bottom line. No new product, no sales, no sales, well that cuts into Sophie's Dingo treats and my overall livelihood. BUT keeping perspective, all is not lost. Today, I was able to get closer to the finish line and I'm about 80% done with the fall bracelets and I competed all the new bracelet orders and they are going out in the mail tomorrow. Finally, tonight, I am getting this blog completed that I started earlier.

This is my list, the true tally. I had to go down the list to keep it all in perspective. The overachiever started to feel like she had failed at everything. That feeling of failure can paralyze you and truth be told, I don't need another thing to slow down my progress. Perspective is everything!

I must also remind myself that I am sick. I know, I know, I don't look sick to most people and for the most part, people typically see me on Social Media and "assume" I'm good. The fact is, Social Media is work for me. It's where I minster and educate so when you see me there I'm doing what I am supposed to be doing. Yep, I'm actually keeping it moving in spite of how I feel. In reality, I've only missed a few days from Social Media and that was when I came home from ER last week. I needed to wrap my head around the new health information that I was getting. That's one more thing I can put in my plus side, I've been keeping up with my Social Media.

Yep, perspective is always good!! Once I started to list in my head, what I had accomplished in the last two weeks, after BlogHer, I didn't feel so hopeless and overwhelmed.

I try to always measure my life based on the totality of my life. The fact of the matter, I do have AIDS. It does affect my life. It is one unpredictable illness that is for sure. It cannot be denied and I promise you it will not be ignore. If you ignored AIDS, it will take your tail right out of here and I'm trying to live as long as I can. I mean, I still have that Hermes Birkin bag to get!

The bottom line is this: when we are faced with challenges we must measure our life with honestly. No matter how consuming one thing may be, you cannot allow it total control.

That serenity prayer is a powerful, on point prayer... It is a prayer that should give you the strength to keep perspective! With perspective, the monster is not as big and bad as it may seem. With perspective, you create room to celebrate the goodness and the good things in your journey. With perspective, you can tackle the chaos one issue and one step at a time. Perspective allows you to get from A to B while headed for C. Perspective is God's' wisdom to keep you on the journey one day at a time.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

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See Also
Ten Things You Can Do to Enhance Your Emotional Well-Being
Depression and HIV
Feeling Good Again: Mental Healthcare Works!
More Personal Viewpoints on Coping With HIV

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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks


Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.

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