The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself on the Inside and Outside

February 22, 2018

By LaWanda Wilkerson

This post originally appeared on December 1, 2017 on A Girl Like Me, a program of The Well Project

This blog is dedicated to my best friend sister, Nichelle Daniel.

While walking through the mall with my best friend (sister) for twenty or more years, we were talking about the importance of taking care of you to remain healthy. She reminded me while yes, it is important to eat healthy, have daily exercise, and keep up with my daily regimen, that taking care of my outside was important to. I had to admit that I have been neglecting myself and she knows she is the only one that is able to get away with calling me out on it.

What I am trying to say is many of us who have been newly diagnosed with HIV have gotten so wrapped up in keeping up with our daily regimen and fighting off the effects of depression at the same time (I know I am), that we tend to push outside our outside appearance.

As we continued to talk she explained to me that just because I am HIV positive does not mean that I should stop living (again she was right - I have stopped living since my diagnosis) and that there is nothing wrong with treating myself monthly to getting my eyebrows done, feet, nails, hair, a new pair of shoes or an outfit... It will not hurt the bank but would in fact pull me out of my depression, build my confidence, and self esteem and help me live again.

We all need that friend in our life that gives us that push and helps us to realize how sometimes we can neglect ourselves and that just because we are HIV positive doesn’t mean we stop living.

The Importance of Supporting People Living with HIV

By LaWanda Wilkerson

This post originally appeared on October 12, 2017 on A Girl Like Me, a program of The Well Project

It was not until the ADAP conference that I realized how important support is when getting adjusted to living with HIV. When I was newly diagnosed with HIV, having support played a huge role in my adjusting to my new life and the way I see things. Not only does a person living with HIV need support from family and friends to transitioning into their life with medication, they also need mental health services that are not only affordable but also culturally diverse. Having mental health services that are supportive and having supportive family and friends plays a huge part in how a person responds to their daily regimen. For me personally I think that if I did not have this I would have stopped taking my medication a long time ago. Without support, many people living with HIV who are newly diagnosed will stop taking their meds or attempt to commit suicide (even with support I had thought about it myself). Finding a dependable support system is the key to a person living with HIV. Without it I would not have made it to where I am right now. Even though I have a lot of growing to do, that support is there.

Categorized under Inside Story.

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