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General Health


Rejuvenated mindset: an update on my battle

Thursday, 29 October 2015 Written by // Joshua Middleton Categories // General Health, Mental Health, Health, Living with HIV, Joshua Middleton

Our straight poz guy Joshua Middleton has had a lot of battles this past year – depression, health issues, a break-up, grief - but hope keeps him going, and he’s getting stronger.

Rejuvenated mindset: an update on my battle

Hope is a powerful tool that drives our bodies, minds, and souls to see past the fog into a world where our dreams truly can come true. Sometimes its light seems to dim; however we mustn’t ever allow it to completely fade away, for it is what keeps us going.

The results are in and once again I find myself waiting in the doctor’s office wondering how my medication has continued to function within my body. It is a nerve-racking experience that has become routine for me however I was comforted with the news that my medicine has continued to do its job by keeping HIV suppressed (Yay Complera). I am happy to report that my white blood cell count is in the 700’s and my viral load remains undetectable. It came as a surprise to me as I have been going through a very trying time mentally of my life. I’ve been battling depression through the last several months as previously mentioned in earlier blogs ever since the loss of our baby in February of 2015. To top that off I began a battle with relentless headaches due to occipital neuralgia and a break up with a girl I truly cared for.

Despite good adherence and minimal side effects to my medication, I was expecting it to affect my numbers in some way. Thank God that it has not up unto this point and I have begun to take the steps to ensure that it stays that way.

My life has been filled with challenges this last year but through it all I know that I have grown to be a stronger human being because of them. Breaking up with Maria was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. However in the end it was healthier for both of us in order to be able to move forward with our lives. Whether that relationship will rekindle in the future remains to be seen; however for right now the best thing is for us to follow our own journeys.

While I would rather keep the exact details of the breakup private, I will state that it had nothing to do with my HIV status.  She was always very understanding when it came to my condition and it caused no strife within the relationship besides the occasional stigma we had to deal with from the outside world. Our relationship truly was a testament not only to me but to others that HIV does not have to stop you from dating or pursuing a romantic relationship with someone you care about. It taught me not to stay in a relationship simply due to my status but to hold my values high above all in what I truly want in life.

What the future holds for me romantically remains to be seen however I wish her nothing but the best. I believe that all relationships happen for a reason and regardless of how long it lasts, that it serves a purpose in our journey of life. We will always hold a special bond because of the experience that we went through in losing the baby. However I know our daughter or son would want to see both his/her parents happy.

Helping others has been a passion of mine ever since I was a young child. I am someone who selflessly gives and sometimes I have forgotten myself in the process. Being the natural “peace maker” of our family throughout childhood and someone who always seeks to avoid conflict, this has been a natural instinct of mine. I am by far not a licensed therapist or psychologist/psychiatrist but I want to see others happy. Helping those that surround me serves a key purpose of my life. However it is also important for me to remember in the process that I must take care of myself in order to truly be effective. It is very easy in activism to get caught up in the issues that everyone else is going through in their lives, while forgetting the unique struggles that I myself go through.

This blog serves a major purpose to help me get my feelings out and put emotions on paper. Today I can say that things are not the best right now, aside from my physical health, however that is OK. I didn’t choose the test that I was given before my life began nor can I pretend that I have all the answers. I am simply human and getting through this life one day at a time enjoying every moment I can. I will continue to help others through their journey but lately I have decided to put an extra emphasis on my own to really take the steps to move forward.

These past couple of years have not been a walk in the park however they have served as building blocks that will continue to grow my foundation to better myself and make more of a difference in the lives of those that surround me. Depression, medical issues and grief will not have the power to keep me down. Hope will always keep me alive, pushing forward, and aiming for the stars.

This article previously appeared on Joshua’s own blog Pozitive Hope here.