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The will to survive (Rosie Stone)


March 14, 2011

The will to survive
Blogger: Rosie Stone

At the informal level I have been talking to friends and colleagues in the HIV community about the fact that there have been a few unexpected deaths recently of persons who were a part of the community. I say unexpected deliberately because at least two of these persons I have seen and spoken to up to late last year. Unexpected to me because they were young [they were half my age]: unexpected because the fact that I met them suggested to me that they were part of a group of infected persons who at least on the surface were attempting to accept their infection and was trying to find new pathways of living with HIV.

Some persons suggested that the health system and other organizations that are supposed to help infected persons with handling the psychological effects of the virus including the environmental pollutants like discrimination are not performing their roles adequately. Others even go further suggesting that there are no known entities that are helping persons to navigate what is now their ‘new normal’ living with HIV.

I was part of a conversation where someone suggested that other infected persons should help others. Some said that would put too much pressure on individuals who are themselves just trying to survive. The will to survive should come from the individual and then the individual should seek out what is needed from the environment, from organizations to help the survival instinct that is in all of us others say.

I listened and I wondered: Is the will to survive innate, are we all born with it?  Is schooling a part of the process that adds to or subtracts from this intrinsic quality? If all of us are born with the will to survive is the strength of the instinct comparable to the skills that are needed to stay alive? Or do we have to learn the skills that help us to stay alive?
I am frightened by the idea that HIV infected persons in 2011 that have known their status for a while now, can still not find any motivation in their lives that could be sufficient to provide the catalyst for living.

What do you think?

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The will to survive (Rosie Stone)
Published March 14, 2011
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