Thursday, 18 February 2010

Illness - my bigest nightmare!

Why did it matter to me so much that I had the galloping trots, gripes and felt sick when I had to attend the three day course I have just done?

Most people would have just accepted that they either had to go in and do it as the course was a one off and only three days, or just not go. And that if they choose to attend, while it is not pleasant to do a course when you have daireea, feel sick and have griping stomach pains, they would just have got on with it and NOT felt close to tears as I did for all of the 3 days.  ( which was triggered by feeling ill, but once I was in that place where i feel totally inadequate, vulnerable and tearful  because I am ill, everything sets it off and I can not get out of it!)

For someone who has such a 'thing' about illness and especially vomiting, HIV is one of the worst things that can happen to you. Well I know HIV is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone actually but I am just talking about my own particular perspective and how having HIV affects me due to my fear of illness.

When I was first diagnosed - and at such a late stage of HIV infection i.e late diagnoses - after the initial shock that lasted about 3 months quite honestly  it was a relief as finally I had a reason for why I had been feeling so physically, and to a degree mentally, absolutely awful for so long.

The way I felt mentally is not obvioulsy directly due to the HIV, but it is the way I react to not feeling physically well. I basically have a good body and probably genetically predisposed to health, so when I am ill it really gets me down but also unexplained illness gets me down even more due to some issues in my childhood about havign a father who abhorred illness, could not accept anyone was ill in his family unless it was proved in triplicate by doctors and even then harangued and abused you for being ill,or even saying you felt ill. He insisted he was never ill and all illness was in the mind so if you were ill it was a sign of having a 'week mind' and being a week person.

Oh I know what crap that is
And that it was his fear of illness, not mine!!

But you internalize your parents beliefs even if you fight against doing this and know they are rubbish - or simply do not apply to you or are not part of your beliefs -  it is still in your subconscious . Well my fathers attitude toward illness is in mine anyway.  Which is i.e if you are ill it is due to your own inadequacies and that you are week, and if you are/of feel ill with no explanation from a physician, then it is all in your mind and you are not a worthy person.

Sadly - for me and my dad - I have a food intolerance to cheese and all cheese products that made me feel sick and  vomit all the time as a child, plus get migraines and other symptoms.

This did NOT go down well with my father, as no one could work out while I was always feeling ill and no doctor could find any reason, but as they had to admit it was very real all they could come up with was that it was 'psychosomatic' which pleased my father fine as this is what he thought all illnesses were anyway .

So I got no sympathy at all when ill and especially when it manifested itself in an obvious way such as the shits or vomiting. Nor would he let my mum give me any sympathy or care when I was ill, as if she did he abused her. he was an abusive man to my mum anyway and she for many years was in fear of his verbal and physical violence

So I grew up with a fear of being ill.

But while I retain a hatred of being ill in any way this fear became specifically a fear of diarrhea but mostly a fear of vomiting when my mum was pregnant with my younger brother, because I saw him abuse her if she vomited due to pregnancy sickness - I wont go into what he did if she vomited but it was awful to witness as a 4 year old

At one point in my life - when 17 this fear, emectophobia, completely disabled me and I was hospitalized for it .

But since then as an adult I learned to cope with it and as long as I was ill at home and not out in a public place I could cope but in the end I even learned to cope publicly, and from 19 to when I found I had HIV I NEVER let it affect my life. I trained as a teacher, youth worker and latterly as a web designer and worked and had a full life.

But sadly because I now know I have HIV, and have had persistent stomach symptoms, which started before I found I had HIV and it was one of the first reasons for me to feel something was wrong with my health.

But the HIV meds also make me feel sick and upset my digestion, so now my fear of illness has once again become problematic and especially I fear being taken ill and especially vomiting when in a public place.

So once again - and for the first time in many years I have difficulties sometimes going out and mixing with people publicly.

I am OK as long as I feel fine , but if I feel ill and have to go out, it is a nightmare for me and my behavior also is not very adult sadly.
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