When you feel bad, go ahead and feel that way. Tell yourself, as Dean does, “I’m just tired of this. I don’t see how I can do it any more.” Cry, stare into space, refuse to talk, stay in bed, write your terrible feelings in a private journal—go off by yourself and do whatever expresses the bad feelings. “I don’t believe in this crap of, ‘You’ve got to be happy all the time,’ ” says Steven. “I’m not taped together as well as I thought I was, or more likely, the tape was old. Anyway, sometimes I fall apart and just feel awful.”
In short, give your feelings their due. This is not giving in. It is acknowledging the reality and size of the problems you face. Somehow, such acknowledgment is easier than trying to control how you feel, or going from crisis to crisis and never feeling anything. These feelings, once acknowledged, don’t last as long as you might think. They seem to wear themselves out and disappear. “After I’ve been feeling hopeless for a while,” says Dean, “the feeling lightens up, and I feel that I’ve really got a long road ahead of me. I’ve seen too many people give up. I feel like I’d just like to keep going.”
The feelings will certainly come back again—Steven says he now knows when he is likely to feel bad and sets aside time for the feelings: “I plan for falling apart,” he says. But when the feelings do come back, you will have them in better perspective. That is, you will know that the feelings are both real and temporary. For good reasons, you feel bad; and after a while, for reasons just as good, you will feel better.
*239\191\2*

HIV: ON LIVING-TAKING CONTROL: GIVE YOUR FEELINGS THEIR DUEWhen you feel bad, go ahead and feel that way. Tell yourself, as Dean does, “I’m just tired of this. I don’t see how I can do it any more.” Cry, stare into space, refuse to talk, stay in bed, write your terrible feelings in a private journal—go off by yourself and do whatever expresses the bad feelings. “I don’t believe in this crap of, ‘You’ve got to be happy all the time,’ ” says Steven. “I’m not taped together as well as I thought I was, or more likely, the tape was old. Anyway, sometimes I fall apart and just feel awful.”     In short, give your feelings their due. This is not giving in. It is acknowledging the reality and size of the problems you face. Somehow, such acknowledgment is easier than trying to control how you feel, or going from crisis to crisis and never feeling anything. These feelings, once acknowledged, don’t last as long as you might think. They seem to wear themselves out and disappear. “After I’ve been feeling hopeless for a while,” says Dean, “the feeling lightens up, and I feel that I’ve really got a long road ahead of me. I’ve seen too many people give up. I feel like I’d just like to keep going.”     The feelings will certainly come back again—Steven says he now knows when he is likely to feel bad and sets aside time for the feelings: “I plan for falling apart,” he says. But when the feelings do come back, you will have them in better perspective. That is, you will know that the feelings are both real and temporary. For good reasons, you feel bad; and after a while, for reasons just as good, you will feel better.*239\191\2*

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