Today I’m taking a day off. Today is all about me.
I’m struggling to remember the last time I actually took a proper breather. I’m either at my day job which has me in the office from 8am, or I’m running up and down the country attending various charity events, writing my column, or replying to the deluge of emails I get each day. I’m actually and literally exhausted.
To quote The Beautiful South “You can see where we‘ve been shopping by the bag beneath our eyes”.
Today I’ve taken a day of leave. I was supposed to get up at 9:30am (a nice lie in) I slept straight through that alarm and woke up at 11:38. I’m pretty sure that’s a combination of the lack of sleep I’ve had lately and my meds. I’m finding dragging myself out of bed impossible of late – but a 12 hour sleep is unheard of for me.
As we speak I’m on a train to go and see my family. I didn’t get time to see my niece on her birthday last week because I had a speaking engagement, and I feel awful about that. But today I’m going to make up for it. It’ll be great to see my parents, my sisters and my niece and nephew and just be me for a day.
So the emails, the phone calls, the whole HIV thing can go on the back burner for a day, starting…. NOW.
This morning my alarm went off at 7:00am, time to get up and make myself a coffee. I was on the radio in 30 minutes.
With their permission I’ve included an MP3 of the recording for you to download and listen to here! We touch on blogging, twitter, celebrities, HIV support and gay mugs. Check it out!
If you want me to appear on your show please don’t hesitate to get in touch using the contact page on this site.
Just a quick note to say I’m still here, things are just a little manic in Sam’s world lately.
- My day job has had me in every day of the week – unlike the part time hours I’m used to.
- I’m on the Gaydio Breakfast Show this Thursday morning (from 07:40) – listen in!
- Attending the opening of the new Birmingham LGBT Community Centre Thursday afternoon.
- Attending the Q:alliance General Assembly in Milton Keynes over the weekend
- Got a photo-shoot next week for my reveal on here and for Attitude.
- Working on a blog post for this site with the handsome Doctor Christian Jessen.
All of which is driving me a little doolally. But bare with me, please
Lots of Love,
I’ve made no secret of the fact I suffer from depression. In fact I’ve been diagnosed with ‘Severe Clinical Depression’ on 3 separate occasions now, for which I was medicated. This tends to happen sporadically, in between I’m mostly sound as a pound – but now and then I get little dips.
The last week or so has been one of these dips. To start with I tried to chalk it up as January Blues but after a few days I realised it was more than that.
I can identify the signs right from the beginning:
- Lack of energy
- Inability to get out of bed in the morning
- No desire to go and do things
- Becoming withdrawn and quiet
- Feeling lonely
A few years ago I’d knuckle down, get stuck into some big project at work and then come home and cuddle up with the husband to worm my way out of the depression. I don’t really have that option any more. My job is neither interesting nor involved enough to bury myself in, and my luck in love has been beyond awful for the last few years.
I actually started writing this article 30 minutes ago, with the idea of writing how I’ve been working hard not to show my depression to the guy I’ve been dating, as he’s been so sweet and understanding with regards to the whole HIV issue. But only 10 minutes ago I got a text message saying he was breaking up with me because he couldn’t handle the strain on him of dating someone who was HIV+. So I’m kind of lost now.
I just want someone to cuddle up with on the cold nights, chat to about my worries and how I’m feeling. It’s not easy being HIV+, it’s doubly not easy being HIV+ and suffering from depression. I can’t see this cloud clearing in the next week now. Sigh.
Sorry for the miserable blog but sometimes I just need to vent, and seeing as it’s just me here you lot get the raw end of the deal.
An appropriate clip from Sex & The City…
Just a quick heads up to let you know that the February issue of Attitude Magazine is now out, both in luscious iPad Edition and good old fashioned print format!
This month’s cover story is West Ham FC’s Matt Jarvis talking about footballs “last taboo” and saying why it’s time that gay players were finally accepted in our national game.
Nigella serves up some tasty treats whilst Louis Smith serves up some moves and works off those calories. How about some gadgets to help you entertain yourself through those January blues? We’ve got those too!
My column this month focuses on whether Valentines day is harder harder for people living with HIV and my experiences with online dating since diagnosis.
So go download your copy from iTunes or dash out and pick up a copy in store!
Have a spiffing Tuesday!
Matthew Walters is the Gay Men’s worker and Health Trainer for Positive East, a vital HIV support charity based in East London. Today he’s telling us all the story his diagnosis and asking that you help support him in his latest challenge, climbing Kilimanjaro to help raise funds to provide essential services – and give back to a charity that has helped him find his feet again after diagnosis. Please read on…
5 years after my diagnosis in 2005, I found myself in quite a bad state. Being HIV Positive was making life difficult. Eventually, everything had started to get on top of me. Some friendships had been lost, and generally I was in quite a dark and depressing place.
I finally plucked up the courage to access support from a HIV charity. New to East London, I found myself knocking on the door of Positive East.
Positive East instantly offered me a wide range of support including Counselling, the Gay Men’s Support Group, Careers Advice, help with Housing and Hardship. I often used to pop in and use the gym and internet café which gave me an opportunity to keep active, make new friends and get on with my life.
Within a short space of time, I went from a place of despair to a bright and happy future thanks to the support that Positive East had given me. Grateful to the support I had received, in 2006 I wanted to give something back so started to volunteer for the organisation. In 2009, I started working for that charity and I’m still here today helping to give individuals living with and affected by HIV the support that I received 7 years ago.
I want to raise £5,000 by the time I set off next month, and I need your help. Just go to http://www.justgiving.com/
You can also follow Matthew on Twitter as: @HIVpozGayMan
Lots of Love,
Hello, come on in – take a seat,
So that’s 2012 done with is it? The year of the Olympics (well watching Tom Daley in speedos), the Queen’s Jubilee, crazy weather and the start of my writing (in any meaningful sense). Now we’re carefully stepping into 2013, like walking in fresh snow when you’re not sure how deep it is. *crunch*.
It’s traditional in January for one to come up with a list of resolutions, things we want to change about ourselves or achieve in the coming year. I could write a list as long as my arm quite frankly, but then I’d lose focus, so I’ve decided to concentrate on five resolutions for 2013.
- Get a better job
In these tough economic times I should consider myself lucky to be employed, and I honestly do. That’s not to say that I enjoy it terribly much however. 2013 is the year I drop the mediocre admin job and start doing something fulfilling and worthwhile.
- Find myself a nice guy
I’ve been single for pretty much two years now, ignoring one short lived relationship with an emotionally stunted queen and a couple of mini-flings. I’m officially in my late-twenties now (or mature-twink as I like to call it), and I’d quite like to find someone to join me on this crazy journey. Dating when you’re HIV+ is at best a chore, and down right depressing at it’s worst, so I’d like to get it out the way and find myself someone a bit geeky, who likes walking, travelling and wine. Failing that Greg Rutherford or Jonnie Peacock would do.
- Eat less take-away food
A quick browse of my hungryhouse order history makes for depressing reading. I can’t believe how many pizzas, chinese and indian takeaways I ate in the second half of last year. That’s the trouble when you only have to tap on the phone app and can pay by card, it’s all too easy. The trouble is its also very expensive and not very good for me, my HIV consultant is always telling me to eat more fruit and veg, and less fatty foods. This year – more home cooking!
- Drink less wine
Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. Why? I’m drinking a glass right now. Want some? Well you can’t have any – it’s mine.
- No more Mr Undercover
This is going to be the year that I finally show you all who Sam really is. I can’t tell you when it’ll be, and it’s not going to be for a while, but it will happen. There are a lot of people in my life that I still want to tell in person, rather than them seeing a blog post, or a tweet about it. But once that’s out of the way there’ll be no stopping me.
What’re your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you stuck to them, or have you already caved in and gone back to your old ways? Share them below in the comments box and forever immortalise your pledge…
All the best,
It’s 12:59 and I’m sat in the waiting room at the GUM (Sexual Health) clinic for my six-monthly check up. Thing is this isn’t just any GUM clinic however, this is the clinic that I was given my HIV diagnosis at nearly a year and a half ago. I haven’t been back since, until today.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been getting checked out every six months (not that I’ve had any sex worth a damn to really warrant it), but I’ve made a point of going to other clinics to avoid having to come back here. But today, the day I’d set aside to do some Christmas shopping and get my end of year STI tests done, this was the only clinic that had free slots.
The waiting room is the same as it ever was, grey and clean, clinically clean – the same bleach smell is stinging my nose, just as it did at 9:00am on the 4th August 2011. Repeats of Top Gear are playing on the TV. The memories of being sat out here nervously awaiting to be called into that small room are coming flooding back. The same feeling of anxiety is sweeping over me – but this time for no real reason, I’m only here for a general check-up.
Calm down Sam. Calm down.
14:54 nearly two hours later and I’m done. 75% of that was sat around in the waiting room, apparently they were working very unstaffed today. That couldn’t be helped.
I’ve been prodded, up top, down below and round the back. I’ve had blood and urine taken, such fun. Almost knee’d the poor nurse in the face as she did the penile swab – NOT FUN.
I’ll get results via text message in a week, not expecting anything out of the ordinary, I mean I’ve barely had any sex at all for months now. MONTHS. But better to be safe than sorry as they say. I was so glad to get out of there though, I just don’t like what time period of my life that clinic waiting room represents. No comment on the staff at all though, lovely people.
When were you last tested? Was it too long ago? Maybe you should make it a new year’s resolution? After all – what’s a little time out of your day for peace of mind?
Here’s to peace of mind, or what little mind I’ve got left!
Hello? Is this thing on? Good…
Today I’m talking about Gonorrhea, I’m sure you’ve all heard about it at some point or other, it’s commonly known as “the clap”.
Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted sexually transmitted infections (STIs) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something that should be taken seriously.
First up let’s look at the symptoms, (I hope you’ve not just eaten):
- A white-ish/green-ish discharge from your penis and/or arse
- Anal discomfort
- A burning sensation when you pee
- Inflamed foreskin
- Painful testicles and/or prostate gland
- A white-ish/green-ish thick discharge from your vagina and/or arse
- Anal discomfort
- A burning sensation when you pee
- Painful abdominal region
- Bleeding between periods
But just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have it, 10% of men and 50% of women are asymptomatic (show no symptoms at all).
How is Gonorrhea passed on?
- Unprotected anal or vaginal fucking
- Unprotected oral sex (including rimming, and going down on a girl)
- Sharing sex toys (without washing thoroughly or using a fresh condom each time)
- Fingering multiple partners (without washing thoroughly between each)
What happens if I don’t get it treated?
- In girls it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Which can lead to fever, vomiting, abscesses and infertility amongst other things.
- In guys it can lead to a very serious and painful infection of the testicles.
How do I get tested?
- The most common methods of testing are a penile/anal/vaginal swab. A urine sample may also be taken.
What’s the treatment?
- Unlike most bacterial infections which are treated with oral antibiotics in the form of pills, Gonorrhea is treated by an injection of strong antibiotics directly into one of your ass cheeks.
Hopefully you’re all sensible people out there and going for routine STI screenings at your local GUM or Sexual Health Clinic, but if you haven’t been for a while maybe it’s time you popped down and got checked out. After all it’s not just Gonorrhea that’s out there is it? Don’t forget about chlamydia, LGV, syphilis, hepatitis (A, B and C) and of course HIV. If any of your results come back positive don’t forget to inform any recent sexual partners, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this most clinics will offer to do this for you anonymously.
Your health is in your hands, but you can only look after yourself if you know all the facts. If you need to find a clinic near you check out: www.tht.org.uk/sexual-health/Service-finder
Have a great weekend,
The January issue of Attitude Magazine is out today in iPad format, and hits shops next Wednesday (12th December). Yes I know it’s not even half way through December yet, but that’s how things work in the publishing world apparently!
In my column this month I go off on a bit of a rant about my privacy or lack there of when it comes to my HIV status. People, it seems, have been gossiping left right and centre and I’m less than pleased – to put it mildly. Seriously, people wonder why there’s stigma still attached to HIV…
Also in this issue you can enjoy an interview with the stunningly handsome Olympian that is Jonnie Peacock, a special on the hottest men in theatre, Rhianna’s 777 Tour and exclusive behind the scenes info from ‘The Hobbit’. Essential reading to stop you going stir-crazy over the holidays…
Have a fun Friday!