To Tell the Truth about Hepatitis C
It’s not enough to just tell people that you have hepatitis C. I was overwhelmed when I found out the hep C virus was attacking my liver. I told everyone around me… even strangers at the grocery store. But, there is more to it than just telling them what you’re going through. By sharing your diagnosis with others, you are giving them access into your personal life. In a way, you are inviting them to get involved with what’s happening to you. You’re also opening yourself up to find the help you need.
You don’t have to do like I did and run around telling everyone at first. I had hepatic encephalopathy and was dealing with a lot of brain fog. I honestly talked to total strangers and asked them if they had heard of the hepatitis C virus. I was that sick. My family cautioned me to slow down and choose who to tell. Part of that was to help me stay on the job during treatment, part of it was to protect me from wearing myself out telling people who didn’t care.
From the Beginning
Don’t wait too long to tell people who are close to you. By bottling everything up inside, you are not helping yourself. Stress can build up over all the information you have to cope with. Go over it in your head first, and then let a few close friends or family members in on what you are dealing with. Telling them about your diagnosis helps you. Just putting it into words can make you feel better. Don’t hide it for very long. Just tell them the truth.
Letting Others In
It’s easy shut yourself off when you feel like crap. Believe me, every single person who has the hepatitis C virus feels like crap at some point. Even if you don’t have advanced cirrhosis, you may be dealing with fatigue at the very least. If you don’t feel good physically, it could be anemia or portal hypertension causing problems. You will need support, and even if you are afraid of how they will react to the news, you’ve got to tell them the truth.
Invite Them to Share
Be prepared for them to be in shock. They may also have some heavy emotions. You might have to listen before you get a chance to do a lot of talking. Try not to let your emotions run away with you. If you have anger or frustration with the situation, hold onto it at first. Ask your friends or family how they feel about it. Answer all of their questions. If you don’t know, invite them to come read on this website to learn more.
Tell the Truth
Let them know exactly how you are feeling, If you are angry, let them know you are not looking to blame anyone or anything. You just need to express your feelings by telling the truth. Speak about the biggest fears you have about hep C. It may be that the treatment scares you. After the fear of dying, some of my biggest concerns were about the side effects of treatment.
It’s important to tell the truth about hepatitis C. Simply saying it out loud will take some of the power out of your feelings. Even crazy thoughts deserve to be respected. Holding them in is not good for your body or mind. Even after clearing the virus and becoming SVR, I still talk about what has happened to me. It’s my truth.
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.