September is Suicide Awareness/Prevention Month. It is the time where we come together to talk about and bring awareness to suicide and talk about ways that we are able to help prevent it. I thought that this would be a good time to talk about some of the struggles I faced when I was newly diagnosed with HIV and how I contemplated suicide and even attempted it on multiple occasions.
My past post "Yes, I Have HIV but I Am Not HIV Positive" has received a lot of mixed emotions and reactions.
Many people supported what I was writing about while others not so much.
While having a discussion with Kevin from Rise Up to HIV and a few other online advocates at the recent conference I attended, something was brought up to me that I think is a very valid point. The topic was brought up by someone who is not living with HIV and it is something I had never really thought about before but it struck a cord with me on a personal level.
There are many instances where Mental Health Providers will ask a patient to write a letter to someone who has passed on or someone who has wronged them. In many of these instances the letters never actually get sent to the person they were intended for, but it is used as a way of therapy to help someone over come something or be able to move on.
I never thought that if you had told me on February 23, 2010 that I would still be sitting here today, five years later, that I actually would be. So much has changed with in my life in these past five years and not all of it has been the best. I have had my share of ups and plenty of downs. Today is an example ...
Recently I have had a stupid idea stuck in my head that I was going to stop my medication. I was just tired of it and tired of being on all these pills that the VA likes to prescribe to all Vets. I had even made up my mind that I was just going to stop all of them, not just my HIV medication. Yeah, I know this sounds crazy, and the more I thought about it the crazier it sounded even to me.
There has been a lot of talk recently about how we can create an HIV/AIDS free generation. Many of us bloggers, activists, and health care providers would like to see this happen and I believe it can be achieved, but it is going to take a lot of hard work on everyone's part to make this dream a reality.
Often the battle with HIV is not only against the virus itself, but it is against the stigmas that surround those who are affected by the virus. We have all experienced negative stigmas surrounding our HIV status or stigmas related to any other chronic illness, and we each have stories that we could tell about how those experiences have affected us personally.
I may not be the best looking, have abs of steel, be 6 feet tall, an awesome haircut, or have a wonderful partner to hold me. In truth, you probably would not even notice me walking down the street. But I do have something in my life that so many are not as fortunate to have. I have peace. Peace with my diagnosis. Peace within my life. Peace about the choices I've made, be they bad or good. Yes, at times my life gets turned upside down and I can get pretty depressed, but with everything, that too passes.
As many of you may know my doctor did a series of tests and biopsies earlier this year to test for certain types of anal cancer and those test came back showing that I had advanced precancerous tissue and my doctor recommended that I get it treated sooner rather than later.