It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is once again upon us. In several weeks we’ll be passing the turkey and gravy and soon after that opening gifts. Yet not everyone will have this experience as holidays can do the opposite of making you feel connect and instead can remind you of the disconnect you have either with your friends, family or people in general.

I know for myself I hated the holidays as I was not close with my family and the actual holiday reminded me of my loneliness. I just couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving to be over so I didn’t have to be reminded. Happily life make changes and I’m not in the same place I used to be as I now have cultivated a circle of friends and reestablished relationships with family.

I always believe that no matter what you’re going through that someone is going through something worse than you. You may have the ability to leave your house and feel the cold air on your skin, to walk unassisted with canes or walkers and fortunate enough to admit your health is good.

For others, especially with HIV they are sometimes home-bound and don’t have that luxury. Some would love to complain about their commute to work as it meant they could leave the house and also that they had a job to go to. Yet based on their condition they’re stuck in a house sometimes with no support from others.

I’m offering a cure for those who feel that the holidays bring out their reflection of depression. The cure is to give back to those in need. Challenge yourself to volunteer your time at many food programs offered for home-bound HIV residents and make a difference. Here in New York City we have several, the biggest one being God’s Love We Deliver, a daily program that utilizes volunteers to prepare meals and delivers them to clients throughout the city. Thanksgiving is one of the biggest day and the biggest need for volunteers.

By giving back you can make that Thanksgiving a day of removing any remorse and make it truly a day of giving and receiving thanks. You can also be an important person who can make an impact on someone’s life. Even if you don’t live in NYC just Google for local agencies in your community looking for volunteers this holiday. i say this now as many agencies are preparing for the big day and usually they may have you attend a brief training.

The greatest thing is it brings you out of that bubble of not having and places you in a position of realizing what you truly do have, the power to make a difference. At the end of the day you still may have issues with your family members, still dealing with your health and friends who may not be who you want them to be, but there’s therapeutic value in helping others. And from my experience of volunteering you always make a new friend who is also giving their time.

HIV may have taken so much for you but show it you have the power and give back to those living with HIV and make a difference not only for someone in need but also yourself!

Give back to HIV!