Reflections

How Do I Stop Letting Herpes Make Me Feel Doomed?

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We often have negative thoughts when we first find out we have herpes.
For most of us, finding out we have herpes brings up intense feelings of anger, fear and grief. This was true about me. I became afraid that no one would ever love me. I grieved about the end my life as I knew it—I was sure I was changed forever, and that I would carry around a shameful secret for the rest of my life. While reading about the virus, I found out that these feelings are common and understandable in folks when they’re first diagnosed with HSV.

Please be gentle with yourself. Seek help if you need it.
You’re not wrong to have negative thoughts, but please don’t let them take you to a destructive place. Herpes isn’t worth going there. Find a trusted confidant—a family member or a close friend. If necessary, seek a professional counselor. Also, please feel free to contact me to talk. I’m a good listener, and I might have things to share that might surprise you!

Herpes is extremely common.
One of the reasons that herpes carries such a stigma is that people don’t realize that they probably have it too. More than half of American adults have oral HSV, which shows up on the mouth as cold sores. A lot of people get oral herpes as kids, when they were kissed on the mouth by adult family members. A lot of people don’t realize their cold sores are actually herpes!

Also, one out of every five to six adults between 18-49 years of age have genital herpes. That’s a huge number. How can such a large chunk of the population be considered “lepers”? There are too many of us in the same boat for that idea to be justified.

Herpes is not the end of the world.
As time goes by, things get better, both emotionally and physically. Not only will your symptoms decrease in both intensity and frequency, your feelings will as well, and you’ll see herpes for what it is for most of us—a minor skin condition that’s very manageable. Herpes won’t to kill you. At most, it’s likely to annoy you a few times a year. At some point, you might even forget it’s there!

It helps a lot to talk to others who have herpes too.
Click over to the Support/Social Groups pages to see if there’s a live support meeting in your area. Just being in a room of others who are dealing with the same condition can help turn your feelings around, 180 degrees. If there’s no group near you, you can call the National STI Hotline listed at the top of the Support/Social page. Their number is (800) 227-8922.

You can also find many very helpful online forums on the list, where hundred of H folks all over the country gather to ask questions, share experiences, and lend support to each other. Finally, again, please feel free to contact me.

Herpes doesn’t decide who you are.
I just wanted to tell you that herpes doesn’t make you less of the beautiful, strong, desirable person that you’ve always been. Herpes doesn’t define you. The life you live, the good you do and the people you touch are how people see you—not a critter that, for most of us, causes a non-fatal skin rash every now and then!

As with everything else in this world, you get to decide whether or not herpes will control you. A great lady named Louise Hay cured herself of cancer by replacing her negative thoughts with healing, positive, uplifting ones. Louise wrote a great book titled You Can Heal Your Life. It taught me that every one of my thoughts is mine to keep or change, and that my power is mine to keep or give away.

I’m sending healing thoughts your way.

Cat >”<


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