In 2010, Merlijn was diagnosed HIV positive and the lights went out. His first thought was “Wow, now I am a danger to the world.” This attitude ruled his world until he faced his ‘inner demons and programming’ in many ugly inner conversations until he started to trust his body and chose to live with the body he had. He relates this struggle to living with a thundercloud of thinking your life is a disaster. Merlijn doesn’t want anyone else to go through this like he did.

Merlijn’s background in alternative therapies lead him to attempt to get the best from both worlds: medical and energetic but following a more holistic path was not supported. His body was “too healthy” for his diagnosis and his doctor never prescribed the medication typically prescribed for HIV. Over an 18-month span, his doctor became increasingly suspicious of his requests and questions. All of sudden, she called him and pushed for Merlijn to start taking the medication threatening that he would be dead in three months if he didn’t. This strengthened his demand not to follow the path of medication and medical assistance at first.

His final warning call was after he ended up in hospital with two collapsed lungs and he finally surrendered to receiving the aid he was refusing both medically and energetically. He finally started to work with his body instead of pushing for his own agenda. This miraculous transformation right up until today has created his path towards advocating for not only for more awareness and allowance of the HIV diagnosis, but the possibility to dream of changing it.

Merlijn is now in a new, far more open and vulnerable level. After years of strengthening his self-empowerment to handle the visibility of being openly diagnosed and judgement that comes with it, he is coming forward and speaking up. His message is confronting, yet hopeful: “It’s now acceptable to have it, but changing it? That’s not on the agenda.” To people who have experienced a similar diagnoses, he wants them to know it’s legitimate to have the desire to heal your body. His reasoning is “Who else is going to choose it for you? No one!”

Merlijn believes that only you are the one that can make the choice for you, and advocates for you to be what it takes to drop the judgement, stop seeing HIV (or any disease) as a monster, and instead use it as an invitation to explore a life beyond the stress and anxiety of wondering if your body is going to make it or not.