What to Do if Others Reject You with Hepatitis C
One of the concerns hepatitis C patients may experience is rejection and loss of relationships due to hepatitis C. Stigma is less than it was years ago, but the fear of labels and rejection still exists. More people are being educated on hepatitis C, including how it’s transmitted and its effects. Patients often have questions about how to share with other people about their hepatitis C, and how do handle rejection if it occurs.
Sharing your hepatitis C diagnosis
If you want to talk to others about your hep C diagnosis, here are some possible steps for sharing:
- You don’t have to share with anyone you’re not comfortable with.
- Begin with sharing with one or two close family members or friends. Continue to share as you feel comfortable.
- If you want, talk about the facts and myths about hepatitis C. Share how the virus is and is not transmitted. This often helps calm fears and concerns others have.
- Share with them how you feel emotionally and physically, as well as treatment information.
- Let them ask questions. If you don’t know the answer, write it down and let them know you’ll ask your doctor to find out.
If you're wondering what to say, I used: “I received some news. They said a test shows that I have hepatitis C. I’m following up with a doctor and this is what I've learned about hepatitis C. Here are some of the myths and facts."
How you can handle hurtful remarks or rejection
I experienced a couple of people who said hurtful remarks about my hepatitis C diagnosis. I learned it was my choice to either accept and receive it with pain or consider the person was filled with negativity and fear, in which I found it better to give them grace and not allow their remarks or rejection to take me on an emotional roller coaster. We have a choice to either internalize a comment and hurtful behavior, or not.
Depending on the relationship, this will determine what action steps we need to take. Educating others on the facts and myths about hepatitis C normally goes a long way in calming fears and reducing unkind remarks and rejection. If you’re comfortable, ask them if they’d like to go with you to your next doctor’s visit so they can hear and ask questions themselves.
The bottom line
You can’t control other's remarks or actions, you can only control yours. If you do experience rejection, know this, you’ve been honest and open, that’s all you can do.
If others reject you because you have hepatitis C, know this: There is great hope for you to get treatment and recover, and there is a community of people here at HepatitisC.net who want to support you. You have the hope of a new life in front of you filled with good things and new relationships.
Remember, hepatitis C does not define who you are! Try not to harbor anger or bitterness, ultimately it will hurt you far more than them. Let it go and give grace. You’re worth it!