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I remember the day I found out I was HIV positive. The world suddenly closed in on me. For a while, nothing else mattered. I didn’t tell many people, just my best friend at that time and my sister. When my friend immediately planned a flight across the country for the following month, I nodded my head with tears running down my face and most likely thanked her, but at the same time was probably thinking to myself that she was doing the right thing by coming to see me.
From day one I developed a selfish attitude regarding my diagnosis. It was all about me and how I was going to live for the rest of my life knowing that I had HIV. Not for a moment did I think about how those with whom I shared the news were feeling or how it would affect them. Instead, I expected them to fall in line and be available to me for my every need, especially when I wanted to unleash my "woe is me" conversations by phone. Now, when I think about it, those calls probably traumatized anyone on the receiving end.
I spent the first year of my life after my HIV diagnosis in a dark place. I continued my selfishness by not taking into consideration how my diagnosis affected those who loved me. My actions in coping with my diagnosis were also hurting them, stressing them out and most likely leaving them in tears once they hung up the phone with me after listening to me sob. From what I can remember, I spent that year drinking heavily and falling into a deep depression. I didn’t care much about anyone or anything and just expected everyone to console me and accept that I needed this time to deal with my diagnosis, in whatever way I deemed necessary.
Was that fair to them? Most definitely not, but that was my personal struggle, and luckily I was surrounded by friends and family who loved me enough to put up with my actions. After I lost my job due to a lack of motivation and depression, I expected everyone to just accept that and help me out financially. I mean, I was HIV positive. It wasn’t my fault I was broke and sad.
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