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Fight your anxiety

What is anxiety? When you experience discomfort, your body treats it like danger then your Fear responses kick in.

Fear responses

Fight, Flight or Freeze are old, instinctive, strategies that your body uses when confronted with danger or stressful situations. 

  • Fight: if it looks weaker than me I’ll fight it. 
  • Flight: If it is too strong for me but slower than me, I’ll run from it. 
  • Freeze: if it looks stronger than me and faster than me, I’ll freeze and hope it doesn’t see me.

When faced with stressful situations, what do you do? Flight/Avoiding it? Has that worked before? Yes it has. You took a protective step, Flight, and it worked. The trick is not to let it be a pattern or you will be forever using that protective step to every situation and feeling vulnerable all the time. 

If you feel vulnerable all the time that is creating anxiety.

How to fight fear responses

To help resolve this, you need to be exposed to the anxiety.

We are not saying if you are scared of spiders, to pick one up. That’s quite a drastic step.

We advise you to ALLOW yourself to feel the anxiety, objectively observe its effects then feel it subside.

For example, if you feel strong anxiety in a group situation, be in the group, acknowledge your anxiety such as feeling uncomfortable but as soon as you notice this – be it a physical sensation or a negative thought - breathe in deeply and then let it go mentally saying to yourself... 

Calm relaxed and in control -

 Or other positive affirmations may help. Repeating phrases such as...

Water off a duck's back -
Cross that bridge when it comes to it -

The more you do this, the easier it will be to be in control of your fear responses and the impact of them.

HIV and anxiety

Anxiety around possibly infecting someone else with HIV is something positive people report. If you have been taking your medication properly, it should be reducing the amount of the virus in your blood to “undetectable” levels.

Once that has happened and continues for six months or more and you don’t have another STI, you are extremely unlikely to infect others sexually.

If you have a newborn baby and are undetectable, while the risk of transmission is lower than not being on medication, you can use formula milk instead of breast milk to eliminate any risk.

Talk to your HIV doctors, Health Advisers and/or HIV support workers about any anxieties around HIV. Sometimes the fear comes from lack of information. Ask!

Keeping yourself informed reduces unnecessary worry and stress.

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