Freeing my voice and speaking of my story my testimony and helping others did something to me...I believe it bought me purpose and something to look forward to.
How does a 44 yr old man manage ADHD and live with AIDS for 25yrs?
I strive to stay healthy and look great!
I have been procrastinating a bit when it comes to getting up the focus and sit still long enough to write what my experience has been.
I like to be in a space where I am clear and it is filled with optimism about the future, but still hold true of the ups and downs of managing HIV. For me and I am sure for many life throws you curve balls and before ya know it , your in a place you never thought you'd be. I remember at 19yrs old I was thinking I would be gone by now at 44,... fast forwarding in my mind years ago and low and behold I'm still kicking.
I currently take about 16 pills lower than the once 32 pills I had to take for different reasons not just because of having AIDS. I'm quite the pro at throwing down my pills without gagging. Along with the HIV medication I'm on Epivir and Isentress, I take ADHD medication, sleep medication, pain medication, medication for neurapathy,cholesterol, anxiety, depression,IV Immuno globulin, herbs and vitamins. But hey I'm told I look great even though sometimes I don't feel the best.
When I first found out I was positive I went into denial. In the 80's, I was living in Indiana and everybody was scared of what the big disease with the little name was and how it was spread. I went inward and did nothing about it for years.When I did finally deal with it my t-cells were 219 in the 90's. In 1993 was in the hospital with PCP, In 1997 I was diagnosed with AIDS since then my basline has never went beyond 550 t-cells but am undetectable.
Later in life in 1990 I was in an ex Gay ministry and was a fanatic about sticking to healing, herbs, lots of supplements and exercise. People would say I could be healed if I really believed. I was somewaht healthy but lost ALOT of weight, I looked unhealthy. This mentality lasted for so long then I began to ease up on my over obsession with doing everything in access to stay alive, I was scared though afterall I was so very young I had my whole life to live and this wasn't part of the plan, I didn't want to die in my early 20's.
Fast forward - I escaped the ex Gay ministry with a belief system that was not traditional but one in which I could embrace and I needed , thanks to a Pastor from Hospice that met with me religiously every 2 weeks.He believed there was purpouse for me, ...while I was so ready to denounce my hope and beleifs in GOD or something bigger than me.I had to make sense of my life. My beliefs were so important to have comfort, for survival and to believe maybe I'd be alive when a cure comes.
The biggest difference was that I could tell my attitude and personality changed for the better when I began to get involved with HIV/AIDS Education, Advocacy and Activism. Freeing my voice and speaking of my story my testimony and helping others did something to me...I believe it bought me purpose and something to look forward to.
I love helping people, seeing people grow, become active or enlightened about their purpose..in a sense passing the torch on for others to light the way and discovering their voice. I believe silence is not healthy and to keep in shame , regret, embarrassment or feeling bad about yourself isn't good. I know speaking out and being vocal isn't for everyone, but for me it was what made me soar. It wasn't about me focusing on me but on others and that took the constant worry of my own life.
One of the biggest obstacles in managing HIV/AIDS was managing the ADHD first so I could develop a way to take my meds right, catch myself in hyperactive mode and not bite more off than I could chew. I am one for doing several projects at once, but my brain is going so fast that my body has a hard time catching up with it. Because ADHD comes with it's unique individual to individual co-morbid symptoms that follow include depression ,anxiety and impulsiveness... my road has been a bit of a roller coaster at times.So for me alot of this balance came after managing ADHD.
Then there is SAD to deal with so it feels great spring is coming I need the sunlight. I am not immune to addictions and have had and can still have times when these weaknesses want to pull you back down. I believe that for me being happy is important, having purpose in life-the exchange of giving and receiving, listening and learning, being involved in life. I have a tendency to go inwards when something triggers the depression and it can become quite debilitating.
I have alot of health problems but I cope with it. I can go on and on about being in the hospital, procedures done on me, all my current health problems, but right now I am focusing on rising above some recent difficulties I've been having with my health.vI think having a lot of loving friends who care for me is key, I think helping others is key, exercise is key, lifting your voice is key, finding strength in people who believe in you and are positive for you but allow you the freedom to be down when you need to feel sadness..
I always say just don't stay there..let it be but then get up wipe yourself off and move on.I have the support of some of my family and seem to have more support from my surrogate family, my non biological family. I don't waste my time with people who don't see me and what I can contribute. I have learned to knock at the door and bring forth from my memory what I have learned from my former mentors that are no longer living but have passed on and are asleep now, some people don't open the door for more progressive ideas so I don't waste my time anymore, there are other avenues.
I have seen too much suffering, death, but I've also witnessed remarkable stories of survival. I think I need to be true to my own testimony never forgetting the message that we still have alot to do and evidently I still have lots to do.
I have fun , I joke, I'm a kid at heart, I say what I need to say , good ,bad or indifferent, there is something to be said for being authentic even if the next person does not agree. We all play a part, the mover , the shaker, the peacemaker.I can be too serious and intense I am well aware of this, none the less I still have a place in this world where this person is needed.I have the support and Love of my BF Billy and Tyson and miss Daisy my pets. I try to be balanced about my life/moderation and not so hard on myself anymore. History along with the present needs to be told.
I know I belong here on this planet right now and with a unison of others will be part of change somehow. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.
God at least I hope not.
-- Gregory Sanchez III
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