The Dark Side of Stigma with Hepatitis C (Part 2)

Click here to read Part 1 of The Dark Side of Stigma with Hepatitis C.


Most of us have experienced stigma from having hep C. It’s easy to recognize the judgment that comes from outside. What about the thoughts and feelings that are in our own head? If you understood what I was saying about self-stigma in Part 1, maybe you are willing to venture a little further into helping yourself. If so, let’s explore ways to help us let go of the dark side of stigma with hepatitis C.

Helpless

Aha. It’s not that we can’t do something, it’s that we are confused and don’t know what to do. People who don’t have hep C don’t have to deal with all of this. But we do, and we can feel overwhelmed. It’s not easy to admit that we’re weak. So we blame ourselves.

Indifferent

If there are any roadblocks to treatment or procedures, we can become helpless and just quit caring altogether. We may fault the health care system for a while, but occasionally, we lay the fault on ourselves for having hep C in the first place.

Afraid

It’s normal to be alarmed and on guard when we’re trying to save our lives. When insecurities arise we may shrink back from situations where action is needed. Again, we might blame others, but doesn’t self-stigma come in there too?

We need solutions for self-judgment, but we can’t mold ourselves into someone who doesn’t feel. Our feelings make up our human experience. If you kick out anger, joy goes too. We may silence the voices in our head. Any addiction will do, unless you have hepatitis C.

A chemical that numbs your mind can harm your liver. You may try shopping or traveling to escape your problems. Nah. That never works. There is no relief from the judgment we place on ourselves. Exposing it to the light of day may be the best choice.

What would it look like if you called yourself out?

Speak up to your Bully Self. Call it BS. Yep. So you start to get angry about Hepatitis C and think people don’t want to be around you? BS. You’re not sure whether to start treatment or wait, so you post on Hep C Forums and end up more confused, feeling like a helpless victim of the virus. BS. Your doctor doesn’t listen or implies that you can call the insurance company for help. Now you’re hopeless, angry, and sad. The nagging voice says that you shouldn’t have to deal with this, but you are paralyzed with fear and – Yep… running a stigma story on yourself. BS

If you have stayed with me this far, bravo. You have begun to shed light on the subject of the story: You. Yes, you’re the star of this scenario and you get to decide if you are victim, bad guy, or hero. By taking notice and following the thread of your own thoughts, it might be traced back to emotions that have been choked down for a long time. Welcome to the dark side of stigma with Hepatitis C.

Part 3

Editor’s Note: Are you afraid to talk about your hepatitis C? Some people want to learn more about hep C, but also want to keep their diagnosis private. At HepatitisC.net, there are ways to get information and connect with others, without revealing your identity. Click here to learn more about how to talk about hep C anonymously.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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