Monday, 27 October 2014

They Taught me to survive, Still!

They Taught Me to Survive

The journey to find the inspiration for this article has been a deep one.

Looking in to my past I’ve dug deep into my archives and came across an article I wrote discussing how much my family meant to me.

The story behind this piece was an interesting one, I was asked to write a piece about ‘Heroes, basically to tie-in with the commemoration of a group of people that did something wonderful over in the UKBut being the rude bitch that I am I responded that these people did nothing for me, and I cannot write about people that I don’t know about and couldn’t care less about and anyway did nothing to change my life back home in Barbados.
On that note I did say give me about 10 minutes and I’ll think of something else!

So I went into a corner and thought; who are my heroes?  Who do I look up to? And then it hit me, my mom and dad.

Now it’s a while since I wrote the article so I’m adding to my original thoughts, so make yourself comfortable while I start to dig into the farthest reaches of my memory bank.

I recently told you all that I’ve been recovering from just over a year of really bad events. However I’ve just received my own flat and my life looks like it’s on the up. I’ve started dating someone who is a good influence on me and all in all people would look and think fantastic, perfect! What more do you want?

Well, even I thought the same. But then why has it taken me two days to get out of bed, why was I showing signs of having another break down? Around this time last year I was recovering from a full physical breakdown, went to bed and woke up a different person. I couldn’t, talk, walk, or do anything. I was hunched up in a corner dribbling. To be honest, that’s when I needed round-the-clock care because to be honest with you I would have ended it allthen and there if I didn’t think I would get better. I was absolutely contortedEverything felt like it was being ripped from me. I had zero confidence, it was horrible and I don’t want to revisit those feelings or that time but I was recently worried that I might be going back there again. But why? Why with all these good thingsgoing on in my life, why was I showing massive cracks?

And this is why this article is so hard to write. Because if I go over it again I will start to breakdown. When I look out of the window of my apartment and see the world where I live, I see peopledriving by or walking with their families, planes in the sky, the train that passes on that beautiful bridge not too far from my apartment, I’m constantly reminded that everyone here has family, and I don’t.

I went home last year, after my break down, the last time Iactually hugged my mom and dad, the last time they saw their son,and well it was actually a shell of their baby boy broken, bruised and batteredTimes have moved on and yes I’m nearly back to being my former but better self. But that’s only through contact with my folks via Face time and Facebook.

I’ve had to hug myself and repair myself, without their company, their support or their comfort. When you come from such a close loving family like mine, all my aunts, uncles, cousins, and you have been fighting to survive on your own in a different country, you will understand how important it is that you don’t fall into the trap that I have. These are my top two tips:

Don’t Forget Who You Are

Or forget where you have come from. Events in your life can change you for the worst, but you try to hang on to the good memories of the past so tightly, that you scrape at the foot of the grave fighting to come out happy and positive in the end. The deep truth is, you will never be the same person again, and it’s just trying to find how the events that are happening to you now, nomatter how bad, can be used to help you in a good way, sometime in some way.

Don’t Go Without A Hug

To go so long without a hug from those who really understand you and love you is just awful. So let yourself be held but by someone close, your momdad, aunt or uncle, cousin or brother, niece of nephew. Or by anyone who has ever cared for you whatever family you have biological or otherwiseWhen you get that hug for that brief moment it reminds you that everything can be ok. You will be safe and brought back to that place where you were cared for. And you don’t just have to look at a picture of them on the wall constantly to remind yourself that you aren’t alone, you are by yourself, they are just an email or phone call away. But that lack of physical contact doesn’t let you get off so easily. Its justnot the same.

Back In the Room
So, that’s when I realised right now in this moment reading that article from the past about my family being my heroes and having to write about it that is what is affecting me and hard. Now yes this forum is about HIV and how all this ties into it instead of a really deep look into my own emotional state. But it all boils down to my family for me. My family where there for me when I became positive, the words from my parents echo through my head whenever someone tells me they aren’t going to tell their mom and dad : “ If you never told me you were positive Italo ( my other name which Im actually called by ) I would have been very upset, because no matter what happens in your life, we are your parents and we love you, you not telling us this would feel like you didn’t love us or thought that we didn’t love you “
This is why family is such an important part of all this. Whoever you consider to be your familyIf my HIV is detectable at the moment, it’s because I stopped taking my medication. One of the side effects of my meds was being depressed; I cannot even be bothered to pop a pill that keeps me alive sometimesIn my head so much is going on that I have to control it all as it becomes overwhelming at times.

So sharing my thoughts with you now is very personal to me.Whoever reads this please.  try to understand your own situation.Look around you and find the person that means the most to you, who is closest to you, and hug them. Do it as soon as you can because one day, when the shit hits the fan and they aren’t around, you’ll realise how important they are. My mom is the one that taught me what HIV was, as I had no idea what I had contracted, and she told me about my medication, she educated her son about a disease that has killed so many. She knew her baby boy will have a hard life and made sure I took my meds each day. When I was ill, they held me.
Now if I feel that I cannot be bothered to take my own meds, I have to look at their picture to get the strength. And yes I still Iwonder what my life would be like right now if  I didn’t have HIV but I cannot ponder too long on that one, as I just have to deal with the way it is played out right now. So what you are waiting for…go and hug your Hero today.

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