You are here

Ricardo - self-stigma made me feel depressed

Ricardo looking thoughtful

The 1st of December 2016 was the day I was diagnosed with HIV. l was so worried that I almost cried. I went in the examining room. The doctor came in, and asked me how my day was going and I told her it was okay. Then she told me that my sexual health tests all came back negative except one, HIV. My heart instantly dropped and didn't have anything to say, I felt completely depressed. She told me to take all the time I needed to take to cry or just stay in the room. Then she walked out. I was in the room by myself, wondering what to do next. I decided to get up and go to work. On the way there I was crying and shaking the steering wheel, I just didn’t know what I should do.

After that day, my depression was at all-time high, but slowly, I started to do my own research, looking at what I should do next. Although I blamed myself a lot at first, I slowly started to forgive myself, and my partner. It was after this that I decided to start treatment. This was the hardest decision for me to make, I was scared that I would be judged and felt embarrassed. I built up the courage to get over my fear, and start my treatment, even though at the time I thought it was going to be the end for me. I went to a specialist and after telling her my story they quickly decided to put me on a new type of treatment. At the time I was worried, I didn't know exactly what was in the drugs that I was taking, and because it was so new there were some risks involved, but I decided to go ahead anyway.

For a while I was taking life day by day, battling my depression and with my disease. Eventually I decided to get in touch with my spiritual side and it helped a little, showing me how to be more positive about my life. I got into Buddhism, and found that focusing on positive quotes helped me. It gave me a new way to cope with some of the challenges in my life, including my battle with HIV and depression.

I think life has given me another chance, I now do what I can to inspire myself and others through these battles. For anyone out there affected with such disease please love yourself and never give up.

What we say: Lots of people living with HIV experience self-stigma, where they might feel to blame for their diagnosis or bad about themselves for having HIV. Ricardo found that to get over this, he first had to forgive himself and his partner. After which it became easier for him to take.

*These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals who use our site. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes. Some names have been changed to protect identities.        

Photo credit: ©istock/Juanmonino. Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply the health status or behaviour on the part of the people in the photo.

 

Last updated: 26 October 2018