Life Lessons From Living With HIV
When I discovered that I was living with HIV, I thought my life was over. Little did I know that it would become something that I accepted and learned from.
Things can be overwhelming: It is okay
All things considered, life itself can get overwhelming. But living with HIV can be overwhelming too.
Managing emotions and side effects or acquiring our medications can sometimes take a toll. It is important to know that being overwhelmed or stressed out is okay.
We are allowed to have these feelings, and they are valid feelings.
When we feel overwhelmed, we should take the time to enjoy some self-care.
I enjoy taking a hot bath or having a cup of hot tea the most. But there are so many options for self-care. Some of these other options include exercise, getting a pedicure or a massage, swinging on a swing set, or having a healthy meal.
Status weeds out the unworthy
When I was newly diagnosed, I allowed the people who did not want to associate with me to rule my emotions. It was hard to know that some people found me beneath them because I am HIV positive. I spent years being afraid to disclose to other people for fear of their reactions.
Eventually, I learned that my status would weed out the unworthy people. If somebody does not want to be in my life due to my status, then they are not the quality of individuals that I want in my life. Some people can be amazing, while others can be less than average. This can help prevent me from getting attached to an unworthy individual.
A good pharmacist is a life changer
It may seem like a strange life lesson, but when you have a chronic illness, or a few, having a good pharmacist can change everything.
My pharmacist has helped me with my medication management in several ways. The first way is by automatically refilling my prescriptions by automatically contacting my doctors when a prescription needs a refill.
Additionally, my pharmacist works hard to ensure my prescriptions are coded correctly and covered by my insurance and prescription assistance program. This helps keep my out-of-pocket cost as low as possible.
Community is key
I have learned that participating in the HIV community is key to a positive mental health outlook. While I do not have a local HIV community to participate in, I have found a community at H-I-V.net.
The benefits of being able to connect with other people who are living with HIV have been amazing. This online community removed the feelings of isolation that I was facing. It also provided me a place to acquire answers to my random questions without waiting to see my infectious disease doctor.
Sometimes just knowing that somebody else is there, even though it is in a virtual form, helps provide a sense of belonging and comfort.
What are some life lessons you have learned from living with HIV?
Do you wear a red ribbon on World AIDS Day?