Conversations about HIV and Aging: Bridgette
Q: How has living with HIV changed your perspective on aging?
A: In a way, it brings more worries (effects on the body and brain function), but at the same time it's freeing. It's a reminder that life will happen and come at you fast no matter what you do.
Q: What does community mean to you? Where do you find your 'tribe' to support your journey?
A: Community is knowing no matter how different ourexperiences, we are connected in fundamental ways and that is what matters. I find my "folks" everywhere. Surprisingly, a lot of them I find online.
Q: What's the best advice you've been given?
A: How your life FEELS is more important than how it looks.
Q: What have you learned about yourself living with HIV that your younger self would be surprised by?
A: I've learned WHERE you are and what you have is not WHO you are.
Q: What song do you play when you need to motivate yourself?
A: "Keep Pressing On" by Brian Courtney Wilson
Q: What challenges have you faced aging with HIV?
A: Medication adherence and side effects have plagued me. Depression has been somewhat magnified.
Q: What service or support group has made the biggest positive impact on your health and wellness?
A: A combination of the online women's support group The Well Project and a private FB group I am in.
Q: What do you do to take care of your mental health?
A: I remind myself trouble doesn't always last and I engage in things I love. Hobbies are crucial!
Q: What do you want people reading this to know about aging with HIV?
A: I have a full life behind my three-letter acronym, and fear is unjustified in the face of knowledge.
Q: What's your goal for the future? What do you hope to be doing in the next 5-10 years personally or career-wise?
A: I've been considering returning to school for a psychology degree, and I plan to continue to serve my communities where they intersect and overlap.
Q: What's your pro-tip for someone newly diagnosed with HIV?
A: HIV is a viral process. You are a human. They are different things. The virus can be controlled. Live your life.
Q: What book or movie inspired you the most?
A: Honestly, it depends on my mood. Right now, it is a book of poetry called "Salt" by Nayyirah Waheed.
Q: What's your personal mantra?
A: When you cannot find the light, be the light.