Friday, December 27, 2019

🏳️‍🌈✝️🔻 HIV - Below the Surface



Below the surface, living with HIV can mean isolation, depression, social stigma, and side effects of medication. There's so much more to life with HIV than meets the eye. We know that HIV comes with symptoms, medication side effects, relationship challenges, and emotional turmoil, much of which appears invisible to outsiders. Most people don't see half of what we experience.

Blurred Vision
Cardiovascular Complications
Dermatological Complications
Family Stress
Internal Struggles
Joint Pain
Loss of Confidence
Loss of Mobility
Mouth Ulcers
Muscular/Skeletal Issues
Neurological pains
Night Sweats
Overall Weakness
Relationship Challenges
Sleepless Nights/Insomnia
Suicidal Thoughts
Swollen Lymph Glands
Weight Gain/Loss

These are just a handful of symptoms people living with HIV might have. Everyone who has HIV has a different story and different symptoms. Yes, these are a lot of the common symptoms people living with HIV could have with each other but there are so many more.

Because we don't look "ill" people forget that every day we are constantly at battle with the virus that shakes us to our very core and they all think that because we are on medication  that our life is suddenly back to where it was before we got HIV.

There are days when you just don't think you have the strength to go on with the simple tasks of the day... laundry, grocery shopping, meal prep and so on…

It is hard to deal with people who say they “understand” when they do not. People need to learn how to communicate with each other better. Unless you are going through the same thing as the other person you cannot understand what is going on in their life.  You can empathize with them but you will never understand.

Have you ever heard someone say, "That's just semantics?" Basically, they're saying you're picking apart the meaning of a word to draw a different conclusion but it all means the same thing. It's possible the person saying, "It's just semantics," is wrong, though.

I was told recently “That’s just semantics”, when I a person that they could not possibly understand what I go through on a daily basis living with HIV and all the side effects of the medications I was taking, because they said they understood what I was going through when really they were just trying to be empathetic.

Those words really felt like an attack on me because I was trying to get them to understand why I get offended when people say they understand what I am going through when they themselves have never dealt with a life changing illness of their own.

If you know someone who is living with HIV please learn to choose your words wisely because you do not know what they are going through at that very moment of your encounter with them and your words could be the catalysis that helps send that person over the edge.

If you are living with HIV and need emotional  support there are many organizations that are run by people who are living with HIV or who are sympathetic to people living with HIV who are there to help you.

National HIV/AIDS Hotline
Each service has its own telephone number--English-speaking, 1-800-342-2437; Spanish-speaking, 1-800-344-7432; TTY service for the deaf, 1-800-243-7889.

CDC Support

If you are friends with someone who becomes HIV Positive, please keep in contact with them. Those of us who have lived a long time with HIV have gone through the loss of friends because they stop calling or coming around because they do not understand all the changes that are taking place in our lives as HIV begins to destroy us from the inside out.

Thank you for reading and I pray you will now have a better understanding of how HIV affects a person well beyond what you can see on the surface.


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