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A Visit to the Acupuncturist
A Video Blog

By Justin B. Terry-Smith

April 13, 2010

There are a lot of things we as HIV positive people have to look out for. But one of our main enemies is stress. You can take all the medication you want, eat all the good food that nourishes your body, and have all the protected sex anyone can have, but when you're stressed out all of it goes out the window.

I was so stressed this year that my body started to feel it. Sciatica was one way my body was showing stress. But after the Acupuncturist I feel great. I've seen her twice now and my body and my mind are feeling a lot better.


As you can see, my first visit was a long one. It was my initial visit, so she needed to take things down like my family history, what I was doing in my life, assessing what kind of person I was and my background. It was fun. But then ...


So in this first visit you see I was getting the needle in my back -- and there were a lot of them. I didn't feel any pain though so it was well worth it. The second visit she tried something new. This time I was on my back. She asked if I was comfortable with her putting needles in my hands and feet.

I was very apprehensive. If you know me, I am very sensitive about my hands and feet. I don't like needles going into or anywhere near my hands and/or feet. When I had my appendix taken out when I was a sophomore in high school, I had a really bad experience with it, and since then I find that I'm very protective of my hands and feet when it comes to needles. But this time I let her "stick me". I've decided to conquer my fear because with fear builds stress.

People deal with stress different ways. Some of us have a nice glass of wine, others might exercise. I deal with stress by keeping myself busy with duties and projects that work to better our community, whether it's leather, gay, straight, black or white; it doesn't matter to me.

But sometimes my husband says I do too much and I stretch myself too much. This is true and that, my friend, can be stressful as well.

In November 2009 I was awarded the Mr. Maryland Leather 2010 title, so now I will go on to compete in May for the International Mr. Leather (IML) title in Chicago on Memorial Day Weekend. I have to learn about my judges, leather history and traditions, and I have to be on point with my answers. Being Mr. Maryland Leather 2010 comes with responsibilities as well. I have to make appearances and have been asked to judge contests too.

In my spare time I write for Baltimore's Gay Life newspaper,,, The Black AIDS Institute, and "Justin's HIV Journal". I will also start writing for another publication soon.

I'm married, as most of you know, so taking care of my husband means a lot to me. We are trying to settle on a piece of land in Laurel, and build our single family home from the ground up. That is stressful too.

I just got a promotion at work too, which means more responsibility there as well. Since my employer is the IRS there is something we like to call "TAX SEASON". Need I say more?

I also got a call from Hollywood to work on a special project but I cannot say anything at the moment! All I can say is that there will be an announcement about the project next month.

All these things that are going on in my life are time consuming and can be stressful. If you lead a busy life like mine, my advice to you is take it one step at a time. Relax and don't sweat the small stuff. If you do, it will not be good for your body or anyone else around you.

Acupuncture is a great way to go as well; or find an activity that relaxes your mind, body, and spirit.

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