Suicide, My own journey.

September is Suicide Awareness/Prevention Month.  It is the time where we come together to talk about and bring awareness to suicide and talk about ways that we are able to help prevent it.  I thought that this would be a good time to talk about some of the struggles I faced when I was newly diagnosed with HIV and how I contemplated suicide and even attempted it on multiple occasions.

We all think about death, probably more than we even want to admit to ourselves.  We really think about our own death and when we are faced with a diagnosis such as HIV we are forced to think11958267_867185219996883_6894794431182743073_o-1 about it even more.  I recently wrote an article for a Veteran’s Group that I am a member of about suicide in the Veteran Community (Suicide amongst the Ranks) but in that article I left out my personal experiences and based it on facts and statistics.

Like many, I sunk into a very deep state of depression after I received the news that I had tested positive for HIV.  This was the lowest point in my life and a time that I am not proud of.   I think for many of us, we do think about suicide at one point or another when we receive our diagnosis or are faced with another traumatic event in our lives that makes us feel hopeless.  In many cases, the first thing that comes to mind after we find out is “am I going to die” or even worse “I should just kill myself”.  We often think that our lives are over and that there is no longer any point in living.  This is all just a false belief that we experience in our time of grief and shock.  The fact is that there is still a reason to live, and that suicide does not resolve any issue we are experiencing, it just passes the pain we are feeling on to others that we care about.

I struggled for many months after I found out and even ended up having to be hospitalized for a three month period because I had lost all will to live and just wanted the pain that I could not escape from to end.  At the time I became self destructive.  I was drinking myself  into a stupor everyday, and I had started to cut myself because the pain I felt when cutting replaced for a brief amount of time the pain that I was feeling about my diagnoses.  The cutting was like an addictive drug, it took more and more to get me that “fix” that I was searching for.  I still carry those scars with me as reminder of a time and place that I never want to get to again.  I was in a downward spiral and saw no ending in sight except the one that would be the result of my own death.  I had alienated myself from all my friends and family and would sit in my barracks room alone each day drinking and watching Rent over and over and over.  At the time I was my own worse enemy.  Even when I had to be hospitalized, I never tried to contact my family or any of my friends and let them know what as going on.  I continued to suffer alone and beating myself up both mentally and physically about everything that I was going through.  I had bottled up my emotions for so long because I felt that by showing them or asking for help was a sign of weakness and above all I was am a Marine and we are not supposed to show weakness.  This was my own stupidity because asking for help is never a sign of weakness.  In my own opinion now, it is a sign of strength.20150424_111613

I did receive help with my issues and I learned copping skills that I still use to this day when I feel myself sinking back into one of my depressive states.  I had to learn to live again, learn that life was not over, and learn that I am still the same person I always was, if not stronger than I was before.  I will not lie and say that I am “cured” of those thoughts but it is a battle I am determined to win.  I will say however that those trials have made me a stronger person and gave me the desire to not only want to live, but to live each day to it’s fullest.  I also don’t believe in living by the theory “live each day as if it is your last” because I know it is not going to be my last and I am going to be around for a long time to come.

You see, just because you are diagnosed with HIV, your life is not over.  You can still have dreams, love, hope,
and any damn thing you want.  While HIV means you will have to make a few changes in your life, it does not mean that you don’t have a life worth living.  I went through my grief and then I think the Marine in me decided that enough was enough.  It was time to stop with the self destructive behavior and time to start pushing forward.  I now look at my diagnosis as a “war” in which I am determined to
fight my damnedest to win.  We all have our own way of coping with the cards we are dealt and what mDSC_5321-1-2ay work for me, may not work for others.  I just seem to have the mentality that there is nothing I am not able to overcome if I just put my mind to it and keep fighting.

It is this mentality that has lead me to adopt my own motto “Be Srong, Fight On, and Simper Fi”.  So when you are faced with the road ahead, remember that HIV is not the end, it is just another path you are now traveling down.

5 comments on “Suicide, My own journey.”

  1. Kris says:

    I am contemplating suicide!
    I know it’s not right , but I feel the same
    The woman I love dearly is negative and needs a man who she can open her wings with And fly !
    She’s beautiful and I am just someone who will slow her down and compromise her health in the future
    I feel also that no sane woman can find love for someone the way I need and always wanted it !
    It has definitely tarnished my life and I’ve been depressed now for four years !
    The pain is not worth living in .
    I’ve got two sons and a daughter who won’t understand but in time they will learn to cope and love a better life !
    My insecurities with my beautiful girlfriend are killing us slowly and I think it’s time to put it to rest !
    My crying never stops , my heart NEVER stops hurting
    And I feel one the biggest fuck up ever !
    For those who continue to fight on , I will fight for you from above ! I hope you find the will and soulmate that understands your pain !
    Mine doesn’t quite get how low my heart has sank !
    It doesn’t get much worse !
    Enjoy the sunny days , God bless all of you

    1. Brian Brian says:

      Kris,
      First off let me thank you for sharing. Second, if you are on medication and undetectable, there is no reason you and her can not share a long happy life together. I will tell you this, tomorrow my partner and I are celebrating our first year anniversary. I am living with HIV and he is not. Do not let HIV define you as a person or let it stop you from finding love. Through education you and your partner can over come anything. She is able to remain HIV-negative as long as you are taking medication and have an undetectable viral load.

      I contemplated suicide for longer than I care to think about. I wanted it to end. From someone who has been there, please know I am telling the truth when I tell you that suicide is not the end. She will miss you, others will miss you. The pain you are feeling is only passed to those that are left behind.

      So Kris, I welcome you to contact me any time. Please e-mail me at brian.l@amarineandhiv.com. I promise I will do my best to answer any questions you and your partner may have. If I can not answer hers, I will just bug my partner who is negative and get his response.

  2. Barbara says:

    First, I don’t have HIV/AIDS & I can’t say I know what you’re going through but I can say as a woman and a mother of a daughter. if you were a friend that either of us knew & loved (as a friend) & if the friendship grew into the romantic love… As the woman or the mother of the daughter… Open and honest communication about pros and cons of the relationship would occur, but it wouldn’t change the heart… So as the woman or mother … I would think there would be a happily ever after.

    I wish you the best in your ‘war’ as the author put it, and I pray you find the right woman that will stand by your side, for better or worse, forever.

  3. Luiz says:

    What about love? Personally, I fear ending up an old man living alone in a house with no sons/daughters to care for me. Everyone says “Oh, you still can live a long life”, but nobody remembers to explain how it is worth living.

    And of course, I am aware of all the medical alternatives that allow a somewhat normal sex life and having kids. But the question is, would anyone on this Earth be willing to date a HIV positive person? And if she did, would it be right to let her stay with you when she could be happier with someone who doesn’t have that problem?

    Not to mention that her friends and parents might hate you for apparently threatening her health.

    1. Chris says:

      Exactly how I feel.

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