Letting Go of Shame

Sophie’s post

Shame is that dark, powerful feeling that holds us back. Yes, shame can stop us from acting inappropriately. But many of us have learned to attach shame to healthy behaviors that are in our best interest.
In dysfunctional families, shame can be tagged to healthy behaviors such as talking about feelings, making choices, taking care of ourselves, having fun, being successful, or even feeling good about ourselves.
Shame may have been attached to asking for what we want and need, to communicating directly and honestly, and to giving and receiving love.
Sometimes shame disguises itself as fear, rage, indifference, or a need to run and hide, wrote Stephanie E. But if it feels dark and makes us feel bad about being who we are, it’s probably shame.
In recovery, we are learning to identify shame. When we can recognize it, we can begin to let go of it. We can love and accept ourselves—starting now.
We have a right to be, to be here, and to be who we are. And we don’t ever have to let shame tell us any differently.
Today, I will attack and conquer the shame in my life.

My experience after disclosing my positive status

Learning that you are HIV positive can be one of the most difficult experience you go through in life.  You may feel scared, sad or even angry, but this is OK and a completely natural part of coping with something that can be life changing.

Living with HIV changes the way I look and think about life.

My husband was the one who got the call for us both to visit the Comprehensive Health Centre located in Kingston for our blood results, after such disclosure that we both HIV positive, we couldn’t anything else but to console each other. My husband did take responsibly of contracting the virus and passing it on to me unintentionally.

Due to the distance of the treatment site we got diagnose to the distance of our home town, we asked for a referral to a much closer site where we can access treatment.

After disclosing to my family which includes my father and two sisters, my father banned me from his house. My sister then spoke to him about the ways of HIV transmission so he came around to some extent behaviour wise but still insisted that the family must not use the same fork, spoon, cups and plate that I use.

Currently, my mother and my brother became aware of my husband and I status and they are more supportive, they encourage me to stick to my treatment and to do research about HIV treatments and side effects. Also my two younger sisters have been quite supportive, as from time to time they would remind us to take our medication.

In Jamaica we say “when it rains it pours” and in this instance it’s true. My second trauma comes when the doctor inform me that I have cancer cells in my ovaries. Also I am diabetic, hypertensive and only have one kidney.

I am thankful of my good support system as there are days when I broke down real bad and If I didn’t have the support of my family, my church family and health care family, I wouldn’t be alive today.

 

Ms. Jovial – JCW+ Participant

Reflection and Appreciation

The AIDS pandemic was and some would argue still remains the greatest global health crisis of modern history. While other epidemics were just as widespread and deadly (among them tuberculosis and malaria), the mounting waves of death caused by AIDS was simply unprecedented.

The fact that we had never seen disease like this and couldn’t identify a way to stop it only added to the growing sense of panic among both the public and policy makers alike.

For all of the fear and anger the disease caused, HIV transformed the very landscape of science and politics as we know it. It moved the medical profession from its patriarchal roots to one which advocated for the rights and protections of patients. It forced the fast-tracking of the drug approvals process while spurring researchers to develop many of the genetic and biomedical tools we take for granted today.

The simple fact that HIV has gone from being an almost uniformly fatal disease to one for which people can now live healthy, normal lives is nothing short of astonishing. Still, we have a long way to go and many lessons to learn before we can consider the crisis over.

It is only by looking back that we can better understand the challenges yet to be faced as we move toward making HIV a thing of the past.

Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.

 

MZ Confident

Wale Justice

JUSTICE! Justice for one! Justice for all! Why do we make them slap we, kick we, abuse we.

Me sidung pan de corner a hold a meds; All of a sudden! me see a dread pull a dauta out of a corner, him kick her, him box her, him punch her, she drops and hit her lip with tears running down her cheek, I said,” oh my gosh! What a clash! The woman was defenseless, how could this be?”

Tears running from my eyes, my heart full with pain, just to see another woman in pain. What a lost; just to see a woman lose her dignity through violence and weakness. How can a man say he loves you, when he is killing you with his punches and grudges, as if you are a ball?

Woman get up! Stand up from your fall!

JCW+ Participant

Dear Mr. Abuser

This is your victim speaking, listen and listen good! You took my voice, you took my peace of mind, you took my trust that I had for men away from me, you took my heart and tore it into pieces!

I cried for you to stop but you did not Listen to me! You ignored me! I hated myself, I blamed myself.  I thought that I made this happened to me, I thought I was responsible for all that had happened.

People blamed me and I felt ashamed but no more will I be broken! No more will I hold my head down in shame of what you did to me! No more will I take the blame for you! I am taking back my voice!

It’s time we stand for our rights and the rights of our children who are being abuse, they are blamed for the abuse and the perpetrators are left free and blameless to take away the voices of other young persons.

Let’s stand for what is right! we will no more be silent!

JCW+ Participant

 

 

Providing health care with dignity

The results are in undetectable = untransmissible; it had been for sometime.  Promotion seems necessary, we are still trying to sell PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis)  that is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected… And now we have even better outcomes to share; people with undetectable viral loads cannot pass on HIV to their sex partners.

Lots of people living with HIV have injected  “I’m undetectable“… in their peer conversations.  Imagine how relieve they are to add … “uninfectious which means I will not pass on HIV to  you when disclosing to sex partners.

For the  people who make it their business to inject fear into sexuality and sexual relationships for people living with HIV it will be difficult to embrace the results undetectable = untransmissible .    Many continue to harbor (believe) outdated information on HIV.  The ones who continue to spread unhealthy fear from their places of influence; such as health care workers at HIV treatment sites.  Some are so set in their judgmental behavior  which can breed shame in the clients they serve, and shame is a known enemy of health and recovery…defeating the purpose they are engaged to fill.

Undetectable = untransmissible …mmm.  What does this really mean for women living with HIV?   Will this be motivation to tolerate the side effects of ARVs?

Will access to treatment and care become more accessible?  Health care providers that respect clients/patients and provide dignified treatment and care.  Schedule blood test with the results available in a timely manner and discussed with clients.  Pharmacist that respect your privacy and confidentiality enough to resist making snide remarks to your love ones picking up your prescription.

JCW+ will be having Test , Start and Stay conversations for women living with HIV because it is important that we are in an informed position to take responsibility for our health….and demand a quality standard of care.

In January 2017, the Ministry of Health’s National HIV Programme adopted the 2015 (World Health Organization) WHO guidelines, which recommend that anyone who is diagnosed HIV positive be offered treatment (Test and Start).  Treatment as a method of prevention is another benefit of the WHO new guidelines as more PLHIV are virally suppressed and consequently the risk of transmission is decreased.

According to the announcement made last year at the National HIV Programme annual review and planning retreat, the ‘Test & Start’ initiative anticipates that an additional 1200 new patients will be eligible for treatment.

Current estimates are that over twenty nine thousand persons are living with HIV in Jamaica; but approximately 19% are unaware of their status.

HIV is very much on the priority agenda..it is the approaches to interventions that MUST be adjusted.

Letting Go of Fear

S. Strachen

Fear is at the core of codependency. It can motivate us to control situations or neglect ourselves.
Many of us have been afraid for so long that we don’t label our feelings fear. We’re used to feeling upset and anxious. It feels normal.
Peace and serenity may be uncomfortable.
At one time, fear may have been appropriate and useful. We may have relied on fear to protect ourselves, much the way soldiers in a war rely on fear to help them survive. But now, in recovery, we’re living life differently.
It’s time to thank our old fears for helping us survive, then wave good-bye to them. Welcome peace, trust, acceptance, and safety. We don’t need that much fear anymore. We can listen to our healthy fears, and let go of the rest.
We can create a feeling of safety for ourselves, now. We are safe, now. We’ve made a commitment to take care of ourselves. We can trust and love ourselves.
God, help me let go of my need to be afraid. Replace it with a need to be at peace. Help me listen to my healthy fears and relinquish the rest.