One of the traditions we’ve created at home is to create a vision board for the New Year. The basic starting point is a piece of cardboard. Yea, this is old school vision. boarding. And for this upcoming year, I present 2023.
I won’t expound on this. I simply share it with the Universe.
Vision Board 201 – An Infographic
The last couple of years, I’ve taken things to the next level in terms of a Personal Vision for the year.
Last year I chose 5 words for my year. They were “Be, Feel, Create, Learn, Grow.”
I had a flyer on my studio door and in my studio.
This year, I lifted the constraint and came up with my words for the year. They apply across all parts of me as a human being, a small business owner, an artist, an activist. It’s wholistic motivation for person-centric, trauma-informed living. That and $5 will get you a cup of coffee.
This year, I created an infographic. It will go on my studio door and in my studio.
Having said that, my keyword for the year is Worth and my Why is Joy.
I created this infographic to motivate the troops (aka voices in my head) and keep my lean organization of one aligned.
My community focus continues to be on reducing stigma through my artivism. This includes my efforts linked to Celebrate UU, HIV Modernization Movement – Indiana, and community health, especially HIV & mental health. I’ll continue to blog here and through Professor Peacock.
For my business focus, I continue to use a 70/20/10 model to set priorities for the year. My keyword of Worth translates into focusing back on running a profitable business – something from which I stepped away the last 2 years due to my mental health & a subsequent artistic sabbatical…and a slowing coming back-tical.
Here we are, a new year with a Profit First mindset. Yes, I’ll read that book this year. Q1 even. Goal set.
My main studio focus with C Todd Creations this year will be headshots, although I’ll continue to freelance & do event photography when requested. I’ll also grow my speciality studio for dudeoir photography over at C Todd Dudeoir.
With the new service, I reimagined by own crisis situation back in 2009. What if I had been able to call 988 instead of 911?
Chances are they wouldn’t have sent the police, because I had called in an overdose and failed suicide attempt. What I needed was help. What I got was help – and an arrest 90 days later, just as I was just finishing my extended treatment at Fairbanks. With that arrest, my 19-year corporate career ended in me being fired. I lost my house. I was awarded and lost a plea bargain that could have reduced the charges to a misdemeanor. But early recovery was difficult messy and I failed a required drug test. Until recently, I had two felony charges on my record stemming back to that phone call.
I don’t sit in this awareness and wallow in self-pity. I’m glad with where my life is today. I’ve since been able to expunge my felony arrest record, which means I don’t have any more barriers to getting housing or employment. I can’t travel to Canada though – or at least I don’t think I can based on what I’ve read.
In general and thankfully, I’ve been able to land on my feet. I am self-employed, thriving as an artist and photographer, and have stable housing & transportation.
Even though I’ve suffered great losses and pain, I’m grateful to be thriving in my 50’s as an artist.
But it does demonstrate why this new 988 matters. How many lives can be salvaged, not torn apart by piling legal consequences on top of someone in crisis?
That could have been me…
It’s like the joke about what happens when you play a country & western song backwards?
You get your spouse back, your job back, you stop drinking.
Quite literally, I could have gotten the help to stop my using WITHOUT an arrest. In the long term of recovery, that would have been pretty useful.
Call or Text 988 if in crisis
So next time you or someone you know is in crisis, consider calling or texting 988 instead of involving the police via 911.
More about 988: NAMI’s Committment
NAMI is committed to advancing efforts to reimagine crisis response in our country. We believe that every person in crisis, and their families, should receive a humane response that treats them with dignity and connects them to appropriate and timely care. NAMI is calling for a standard of care for crisis services in every community that includes — 24/7 call centers that answer 988 calls locally, mobile crisis teams and crisis stabilization programs — that end the revolving door of ER visits, arrests, incarceration and homelessness.
So while HIV is no longer a death sentence like in the early days of the pandemic, the reality is that not everyone is able to get into and stay in treatment. Left unchecked, HIV will still progress to stage 3, also known as AIDS.
People with stage 3 HIV can have a high viral load and may easily transmit HIV to others
People with stage 3 HIV have badly damaged immune systems. They can get an increasing number of opportunistic infections or other serious illnesses
Left untreated, people with stage 3 HIV typically survive about three years.
Sharing this information about stage 3 HIV isn’t to portray people as somehow bad or negligent or something against which the general public needs to be protected. If anything, the system is failing them because medication isn’t getting to them. And until it does, individuals are more likely to die from stage 3 HIV and related complications. And that is angering because for once, we finally have the medicine to end the HIV epidemic.
In Marion County, Indiana alone, approximately 102 people have died where HIV is the primary cause of death since 2016. (In the same timeframe, a total of ~321 people who were living with HIV died, regardless of cause of death – but for this conversation, I believe that how they actually died matters.) I picked this timeframe because the concept of U=U was launched in 2016 given the amazing progress made in HIV treatments. Source: Marion County Public Health Department
In my mind, these 102 deaths were preventable. We have the science to not only prevent the spread of HIV, but the science to lower the levels in the body where HIV can’t be found. That’s called U=U, or undetectable is untransmittable. U=U helps the person with HIV to live a healthier life without damaging their immune system. The sooner someone gets into treatment, the better chance they have a minimizing long-term effects on their immune system.
U=U research also shows that a person follows their treatment and whose viral load is suppressed, or undetectable, can NOT transmit HIV sexually to other people. That’s HUGE. We can get back to having hot sex without the fear of giving HIV to someone else. Combined with PrEP, we literally have the science across the board to squash this bug.
Testing, prevention and treatment matter in this fight – but especially treatment. But shame, stigma, social determinants of health, lack of awareness and other factors keep people from getting treatment.
With the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the fear of pre-existing conditions that could jeopardize one’s insurability are a thing of the past. That’s huge for people who get their health insurance from the marketplace or from their employer.
People may not realize there is government assistance for health insurance for people living with HIV. The Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) is the name of the State of Indiana’s health insurance program. It is one of the Medicaid programs available to Indiana residents. It can assist people who make less than 300% of the federal poverty level.
There is also assistance for wraparound services through the Ryan White Federal HIV/AIDS Program. Check out the Indiana State Department of Health website for an Indiana HIV Care Site Directory.
In Marion county, we are a designated “hot spot” by the CDC. In 2019, we were one of the top cities & counties that contributed to half of the new HIV cases that year. Things have not been getting better – if anything, we get new cases at a higher rate than the national average. And, in general the trend has been upward (more new cases) since the county began reporting data in 2010. With this designation as a hot spot comes additional federal assistance for 10 years, leading up to 2030. This is called the Ending the HIV Epidemic program, which is managed by a steering committee and task force for Marion County.
HIV Care Coordination
For more information, contact your care coordinator. If you don’t know what that means, contact me and I’ll do my best to connect you with resources.
While all of this can be complicated, there is free assistance through care coordinators at AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) or large healthcare systems like IU Health or Eskenazi Hospital.
If you or someone you know is newly diagnosed with HIV, I invite you to join the Hoosier HIV+E Support Group. It’s peer led, so everyone in the room is living with HIV. We are not therapists or counselors, but we are people with lived experience. You don’t have to go through this alone.
The Hoosier HIV+E is also open to people who have been living with HIV a little while. Basically, it’s open to all Hoosiers living with HIV. All are welcome.
Many AIDS Service Organizations will also offer support groups. These are usually led by a staff person, who is often a therapist or counselor. But not always. Things will vary from organization to organization. Ask your care coordinator about options. Check out other organizations too. There’s nothing to keep you going to a support group at ASO #1, while getting your card coordination from ASO #2. Go where you find help & support.
When I was first diagnosed, my doctor recommended TheBody.com as reputable online resource. It’s a trusted resource, and easier to read than a lot of the official websites from the CDC or state and local health departments.
Thanks for listening. Keep tellin’ the story
What questions do you have?
I’d love to hear from you. What did you learn from this post? What do you see differently? What could I have said in a different way that would have been more helpful? What information would you like to share from your experience?