How to Support Someone Who Has Been Diagnosed
Being diagnosed with a harsh STI is one of the hardest things people go through in life. An individual who has been diagnosed not only has to cope with making changes to their current lifestyle, they have to deal with the mental anguish that comes with a life-changing, permanent condition. During these times are when people need all the support and love they can get. As a family member or as a friend, there are a few ways to lend your support to your loved one, a few ways that allow them to know that they won’t be alone on the journey that lies in front of them.
For decades, the reason many individuals with a variety of STIs hid their status because of the lack of knowledge that mainstream society had on the subject. This lack of understanding resulted in fear, stigma, and phrases like: “don’t interact with these people because you’ll catch something” or the blanket judgment of sexual minorities because of the misconception that only specific groups of people contract HIV/AIDS and other STIs. This kind of social stigmatization – which still exists today – can cause a person with a new diagnosis to become reclusive, volatile, or sometimes even worse— to engage in self harm. To support someone who is facing this kind of stigma means performing your due diligence by learning the truth about STIs and everything that pertains to each one. Being able to accomplish this feat will not only help you understand what your loved one is going through and how to support them, it will also help educate others you may come across who don’t possess your newfound knowledge.
When a person is diagnosed with an STI, they go through a variety of emotions. Each individual is different in how they handle themselves and their condition, but each one can tell you for certain that the support of their loved ones gives them that boost needed to fight harder and continue to show that they won’t allow anything to defeat them. Getting to that point is where you come in. Make sure you’re there for both the good and bad days, no matter what. The bad days can include you being lashed out against or just not being spoken to at all – just try to be mindful and understanding of what they’re going through. By continuing to be there through it all will help your loved one immensely. They’ll continue to fight for themselves and for you, because they know that someone loves them and they won’t want to let you down.
Don’t Change Anything
People tend to believe that when someone’s been diagnosed with an STI that this means they can no longer do anything that they used to—totally not the case. Continue to go out for the taco Tuesdays, the bowling nights, or even just a normal movie night. Just don’t stop what you and your loved one used to do. Encourage them to continue to do the things you both love, and try some new things you both might enjoy. The confidence and energy boosts that come from simply getting out of the house and having fun are massive and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Following these tips won’t always be easy, but it will make a huge impact. Helping your loved one continue living their best life at their own pace will not only help them restore any lost faith, it will deepen the beautiful bond you both share.