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Living with HIV


I got me... for now!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017 Written by // Wayne Bristow - Positive Life Categories // Social Media, Aging, Activism, Gay Men, Mental Health, Photography, Health, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Wayne Bristow

Wayne Bristow: I have a list of things that I need to do and no determination to attempt any of them."

I got me... for now!

I’ve realized, I’m not burning out, I’m having days when I wake up and say, “I just don’t want to do anything today”.

August 15th, 2017, I received an email from the editor of PositiveLite asking if I had something for publication, that it’s been a while since my last submission. I haven’t responded to the email yet, deciding I would write something to explain why instead. I sat here most of the day and tried to think of a place to start, and it honestly became a struggle.

I wrote my first post for PositiveLite back in March of 2011 after writing for a local AIDS Service Organization (ASO) for a few months. I have told my story from so many perspectives on everything I’ve been through. I don’t know if there is anything I haven’t written about. I’ve ventured off from talking about HIV to share my hobby of photography and a few roadtrips up to our publisher Bob Leahy’s place for more photo opportunities.

I wrote about getting involved in advocacy work, starting in my local area. Then, after some training programs and the job opportunities in the HIV community I was privileged to be selected to attend some conferences on the Provincial and National level. It was a goal of mine to see and be a small part of what is being done by so many of my peers. It’s been a wonderful ride with so many dedicated advocates and peers, its been amazing.

Now I wonder - what I will write about next? I don’t have anything serious going on medically. I have accepted my diagnosis, and if I take care of myself, I’ll be around a while longer. I’m grateful to be as healthy as I am, especially when I see so many others struggling with other secondary illnesses. Sometimes there is some guilt but I’ve realized this virus affects us all differently and I should share my experience with others, all of our stories are important.

"I just want to stop trying to educate people, I’m too tired to keep doing it. There is still too much stupidity and ignorance out there and my patience has been drained."

A while back I wrote about slowing down when my 65th birthday rolls around in 2019 and feel I am making an early exit. But, I got into this at a late age, I’ve only been doing this since 2010, when I was finally introduced to the medications. I was 54 when I began, still young but many of my peers were around the same age age and had been at this for twenty-five to thirty years. Some are even in or approaching their seventies and still very involved. Me, I just feel like I’m slowing down – quickly, too quickly. My body and mind are telling me to slow down.

Then I wrote about depression, it’s still something very real. It’s not stopping me, it just makes me aware that I need to take care of myself. I may not always get the right help at the right time but I have a support team out there if I need them. And if they are reading this, I will be in touch. I just want to be alone sometime.

I have a list of things that I need to do and no determination to attempt any of them. Writing this was one of them but it was the easiest of the items to do right now. There are places to go and things to do but I make excuses to stay at home alone or go off with the camera alone. I just feel - why show up when I’m just going to mope around, some people might fuss over me or maybe others will wish I’d stayed home. I don’t even feel like apologizing or think I need to. Maybe the lying is wrong though.

I don’t know if this makes any sense to anybody, it came from somewhere but I can’t name where. It felt good to say it though. I’ll surface when the time is right.

That statement actually comes from social media conversations. All this debate over U=U lately. It’s the best thing to happen for us in years and there are people who won’t accept it. I just want to stop trying to educate people, I’m too tired to keep doing it. There is still too much stupidity and ignorance out there and my patience has been drained. I’m not ready to close the door and turn off the light, this is where I need to do less but stay involved.

Tomorrow I will probably wake up and say, “today, I don’t want to do anything”. I will probably not leave the house but I’ll be alright. I might check in with someone and I might not. But I’m alright, I’ll be alright. I’ll be here on social media, everyone knows they can find me here.

I’ll be here restraining myself from kicking in the tv when I hear Trump’s voice or his surrogates trying to defend him. Things just got really ugly.

Photos by: Wayne Bristow

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