You're Not Alone!
Updated: Apr 3
By Robert Reyes
There is no deeper cut to our mental well-being than being rejected by others. Studies show a real connection between isolation or exclusion and physical symptoms like feeling pain. Studies affirm that being or feeling alone increases levels of stress hormones, like cortisol and epinephrine, in the body resulting in increased heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. It doesn’t stop there. These same stress hormones shut down body functions like digestion, reproduction, growth and immunity, and lead to anxiety, nervousness, frustration, poor sleep, immune comprise and mental decline.
Why is this information important? In the aftershock of a HIV diagnosis, we are carried away by a rip tide of feelings of physical vulnerability, fear, confusion and isolation. Besides appointments with case managers, medical providers, bloodwork, and treatments, we soak in our symptoms and suffering. We cringe at the thought of our mortality and more medical information than we can possibly comprehend.
Our medical and insurance systems with their bottom-line focus, reduces us to a diagnosis and a prescription, which only helps to sink us deeper into the whirlpool of our disjointed experience. Possible repercussions from disclosing our HIV status to others makes us wonder how deep friends and family really care about us.
Feeling alone on an island of despair, where can we turn? Who will see us? Who will hear us? Who will help us as we brave the storm?
Understanding that we are all social beings, and that connection to others can help us get through whatever life brings is the first step to defogging the lens through which we see ourselves.
Support groups or meet-ups allow us to reach out without the fear of rejection. When our sea legs keep us from standing tall, support groups allow us to test the waters of acceptance and restore our faith in ourselves.
Support groups have major benefits, like:
– Increased self-esteem
– Creating strong support networks
– Developing positive thoughts and emotions
– Growing in self-knowledge
– Wanting to have more unique life experiences
– Increased quality of life
– Feeling loved, part of a something, and validated- Learning how to set realistic goals
– Being connected
– Learning about shared resources to help us
At Hope & Help it’s what we do.
You may feel that you don’t need support, but someone you don’t even know may need you and find strength in your truth. You may be the lighthouse that guides another soul through perilous waters. Through giving, we may receive our greatest gift, because WE are not alone. We have Hope & Help as our extended family and they want and need us!
Finding a support group is as simple as making a phone call. Find your support network by calling 407-645-2577.