That Social Anxiety

That feeling when you enter a bar full of people, cigarette smoke sinking in after opening the main door and everyone is like looking at you? A spark of knowledge comes that these are bar regulars. Staring at you from head to toe thinking what’s in their mind? Paranoid being they are judging you in a way. That’s what social anxiety is. Well, it’s not really encapsulated in bars or what not, it can be in your workplace, school or generally in public. The fear of seeing others judging you and it creates your own ghost of negative thoughts slowly eating your mind and heart until you give up and scraming like a meerkat.

I have to admit, I am a socially anxious person. Add to that being an extreme introvert. Looking how it started, am not really sure where, when or why. Perhaps the inferiority complex surfaces multiplied by insecurities and expounded by being HIV positive makes it all up. And it’s all shit and I’m getting fucked up.

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I remember this instance were some of my friends invited me to a sports fest. Knowing there will be new faces, I got anxious how they will see me as I am. The anxiety stemmed, as much as I’d want to join, I didn’t show up.

And if ever I do come, it’s a nerve wracking experience. Entering O bar and seeing those regulars look at you upon checking the door. I’ve been there for sometime and still I cannot hold the anxiety. I wanted to expose myself but of course being apprehensive of over doing it. I don’t wanna be tagged as a regular. Being labelled.

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I keep my friends at a minimum. Placing shit loads at bay. I only have a handful of peers. Most of them have their own lives to take leaving me independent. I’m kinda used to solitary weekends. Not really a big deal. But of course I wish there’s these guys who then just show up in my porch and have a night out.

For introverts, socializing is a process. A tedious one. It’s not an overnight thing.

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Anniversary Feels

There are 3 instances where you’re being reminded of your HIV status.

1. When you take your scheduled medicines and ARVs
2. When you are to date someone
3. When you take your scheduled tests, CD4/VL etc

My anniversary test is every July. Going to my treatment hub is somewhat an anxious experience knowing how gruesome the day will be. The previous years, one must allot the whole day for this activity. From going there, blood extraction, medicine refill, consultation and waiting game, it usually takes 8-9 hours. Now, RITM-ARG has somewhat streamlined some of their processes and shorten it by 5-6 hours.

This cat kept me entertained

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Upon arrival, it was 6am. I’m already the 20th queue. It will be then filtered and sorted to who will be doing their anniv tests, consultation or what not. I got narrowed down to 9th queue. Had my blood extracted, took early lunch and did the waiting game. The new process has improved a lot but there are still loopholes to address to such as turn around time and organizing points of movement. E.g: all activities should be done in one point, blood extraction/ppd/Philhealth verification/booklet. If not in one place, it should be close on proximity. You can’t really go from one place to the other end of the hospital complex. You’re already in the blood extraction room, then why go to the pharmacy just to get a syringe and return back to fall in line again. PPD syringes or any other needed equipment should be in one place. But overall, still they improved.

The day started at

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And ended at, that’s 8 hours. 😴😪

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This year’s experience was ok. Waiting for too long isn’t really my cup of tea. It makesme irritated and agitated. Viral load results are now sent via email, so I can’t wait to receive mine. It’s my 2nd viral load test of my 6th year stint. Not really expecting good results but rather wishing some favorable numbers.