Living Positively with HIV
I was fresh out of high school with top grades, enjoying a year off before starting at a top university, living life like any other middle-class 18 year old.
“Do you know why you’re here?“ the doctor asked.
“No,” I answered meekly, knowing it must be something bad, as I was called in especially.
“You have HIV.” Silence.
“How long do I have?”
“Five years, give or take, medications, reduced quality of life, life expectancy is not much higher.”’
I was alone, on the other side of the world without any friends or family. I was a healthy 18-year -old. I was not promiscuous. I was not wild. I was just “average.” I flew home and told my father that I was no longer going to university. I was going to travel the world for five years and he was going to pay for it. ”If you’re going to die, die intelligent,” was his reply — one that I am eternally grateful for. I was healthy, with my whole life in front of me. I was invincible just like every other 18-year-old.
Luckily for me, positive thinking and positive action turned what could have been a life sentence into a damn good excuse to start living, and to start living like I meant it! 17 years later, I am experiencing greater health, fulfillment and love than I ever imagined.
After years of struggling my way through an unhappy marriage with a man who was a drug addict and alcoholic while I studied full-time at university and worked five days a week to pay for our mortgage, a failing immune system, emotional eating issues, several attacks of shingles, kidney stones, further unhappy relationships, jobs that I didn’t like, insecurity and lack of confidence, the will for greater health and happiness crept in. Little by little it shone through the cracks to totally turn my life around and allow me to develop into who I am today. Today I am one of the happiest people I know.
No matter what life throws at us, we have a choice. We have a choice every day to turn our thoughts and actions around, step by step, by choosing foods, jobs, friends and thoughts that nourish and support us. It isn’t easy. But is it possible. Always.
For me, these choices led me to: eating a plant-based, fresh, clean diet that fills me with energy and health; practicing spiritual work daily that helps me to connect with the world around me and see deeper connections than just what is happening in my life; taking more responsibility to seek out a job I love and people who uplift me; and sharing my life with the most amazing man I have ever met.
My greatest wish is that I would be able to share my identity, who I am, so that I can reach more people and inspire them to create their own positive change. The future still holds that day, and I keep it close to my heart.
May you have strength to face challenges. May you find the people who can help you along the way. May you recognize your own shining light and share it with the world.
Special thanks to our guest blogger today who has chosen to share their story anonymously.
Photo credit: Tracy Rosen