Happy Lunar New Year! This year is the Year of the Tiger. The Tiger is a symbol of strength and bravery. Let’s go into this Lunar New Year with strength and bravery. When we are first diagnosed with a health condition, it just does not affect us physically, but mentally and emotionally. Many of us experience fear, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, and powerlessness. Being diagnosed with hepatitis B can be scary – you might not feel strong or brave, and that is okay! The great news is that you can live a long and healthy life with hepatitis B.
Anger is a natural emotion we might experience when we are first diagnosis with hepatitis B. You might ask yourself: how did this happen to me, and why did this happen to me? It is normal to feel this way, you just got unexpected news. You might feel anger or hostility to our parents or lovers who also did not know they had the virus and passed it on to us. Talk about your anger and frustrations with a close friend or a professional counselor. You can also use healthy coping mechanisms like exercising or meditation. After we process our anger, it is important to inform close contacts (sexual partners, people who live in the same household) of your hepatitis B status so they can get tested, and vaccinated if necessary.
Sometimes this anger can turn into sadness. Prolonged sadness is also a natural emotion you can experience when you find out you are newly with hepatitis B. If you feel this prolonged sadness, anxiety, or fear, or sleeplessness, it is time to talk to someone who can help. Our fears and anxieties can sometimes overwhelm us because we do not know what is going to happen next, but know you have a support system. If you need support, you can join Hep B Community. This online group is a global peer-led, volunteer-driven forum to support to those living with and affected by hepatitis B. They are dedicated to connecting people affected by hepatitis B with each other and with verified experts in the field, who provide trustworthy and accurate advice.
Your doctor may recommend treatment after interpreting your hepatitis B test results. The great news is that hepatitis B can be successfully managed through treatment and living a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating foods that nourish our body. When you manage your hepatitis B, you can live your life to the fullest. As you process our initial reactions and emotions, know that you are strong and brave. Living with hepatitis B is part of us, but it does not define us.
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