Category Archives: Recently Diagnosed? BREATHE & Read these posts first!

Article: What It’s Like To Tell Guys That You Have Herpes

Inspiring doesn’t even start to describe how I felt when I read this beautiful blog/article on Women’s Health Mag online.  Written by a beautiful young college student by the name of Ella Dawson, it tells of her experience of living FEARLESSLY with Herpes.

Starting with her diagnosis where she quickly that despite feeling very alone, she was FAR from being the only person with Herpes

When I looked up the statistics on how common herpes is, the math didn’t add up: If one in six people had genital herpes, how was I the only person I knew to do the ultimate walk of shame from the student health center clutching a stack of STD pamphlets? Further Google searches opened my eyes to the powerful and invisible stigma associated with sexually transmitted diseases.

To her resolve to push herself to be ok with saying “I have Herpes”

I was sick of making myself small because I had herpes. Six months after my first outbreak, I started dropping the “herpes bomb” into conversations casually. My logic was that every time I told someone, “I have herpes,” the words would get easier to say.

To her favorite disclosure

My favorite disclosure happened when a guy made a herpes joke while chatting me up at a party. He offered me the rest of his expensive beer and said with a wink, “Don’t worry, I don’t have herpes or anything.” I had a choice to make. I could laugh his comment off and pretend it didn’t hurt, but that would mean laughing at myself. Or I could steer into the skid and stop being so afraid of what people thought.

“That’s funny,” I said, with as warm a smile as I could manage. “Yeah, that’s really funny. Because I have genital herpes.” His face crumbled. Not because I grossed him out—I could practically see the wheels turning in his brain as he realized he’d made an ignorant joke at someone else’s expense. The guy started apologizing profusely.

Isn't she a cute as a button? But in reality this girl is one Bad-Assed Chick!
Isn’t she a cute as a button? But in reality this girl is one Bad-Assed Chick!

Ella has hit the nail on the head about why there is so much stigma surrounding having Herpes and why we need to learn that when someone makes a joke about Herpes, it’s not personal (see my blog about Herpes Jokes for my POV on how to handle them)

The thing is, this stranger wasn’t intentionally making fun of me. He wasn’t making fun of anyone because most of us don’t associate herpes with actual people. …….. I had seen in the flesh what a simple “I have herpes” could do when said fearlessly, without shame. Because when a real person—a woman you know and respect—casually mentions having herpes, it stops being a punch line and starts being someone’s reality. The more I saw that understanding dawn on someone’s face, the less fear I felt. I wanted herpes to have a human face, and I wanted it to be mine.

I think I cried a little when I read that, because I work every day with young women (AND men!) who have bought into the Herpes Stigma and who have gone from confident, radiant souls to someone who now believes they have to “settle” for anyone who will love them … and that is soooo far from the truth…

Ella’s last statement echos my own experience with being out and confident with my H+ status

Every time I tell someone that I have genital herpes, I run the risk of it being the only thing they remember about me. But when I tell them on my terms, with confidence and cleverness instead of shaking hands and shame, I am immediately positioned to get a better response.

And finally, I couldn’t have put it better…

When you disclose having herpes, generally whomever you’re disclosing to follows your lead…….

Amen sister! Please, read this blog … it may well change how you look at Herpes – whether you have it, or you know someone who has it ..

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-relationships/dating-with-herpes

Peace Out!

 

Home Remedies: Fractionated Coconut Oil

As Forum Mom on the Herpes Life Forum pages, I hear about a lot of Home Remedies that people claim work for them. Many of these claims are one-off things that may be just a coincidence, but over time, it has become obvious that there are a number of things that people are using that have at least some usefulness for either reducing the pain or helping to reverse/control outbreaks by killing off the virus that is present at either skin level or creating some kind of environment that reduces the virus’s ability to replicate. As I come across products that I can really back and believe in, I will post my experiences and information here.

Today I am covering Fractionated Coconut Oil. Many people on the forum report that the oil soothes the outbreaks and helps to reverse the outbreaks. This is not totally surprising as Coconut Oil contains Capric and Caprylic acids which are known to have Antibacterial and antiviral properties. Continue reading Home Remedies: Fractionated Coconut Oil

Easy, Simple Self Help Tips For Relief From Herpes OutBreaks

The following are some of the tips I give out every day on the Herpes Life Forums to people who are suffering from the symptoms of Herpes. Everything suggested has been shown to help at least *some* of the readers …. what works for one may not work for another.  I’ll add more as I learn of new things that seem to get good feedback for results, so check back occasionally to see if there’s anything new. Click on the highlighted words to find more info or to buy the product 🙂 Continue reading Easy, Simple Self Help Tips For Relief From Herpes OutBreaks

Finding Your Authentic Self With Herpes

Sometimes the things we cannot change, end up changing us

Awhile back, one of the members of the Herpes Life Forum wrote this beautiful passage:

At one point or another, we are forced to confront our authentic selves. For a while we can try on different masks, goof around, fake it. We dabble in this and that, float here and there, even if it doesn’t agree with what’s in our soul. Eventually, though, something happens that snaps us awake, tells us to stop fucking around, and brings us back down. Makes us honestly question ourselves.

No more do I have the luxury of sleeping with whoever finds me attractive. My sexuality is no longer a curtain that I can hide behind, no longer a “fall back” for feeling insecure (or worse, bored). I have been forced to face myself- the raw, ugly, vulnerable part of myself. I have had to find value in the parts that I kept hidden, to become aware of things I did not want to become aware of.   Continue reading Finding Your Authentic Self With Herpes

Kintsukuroi: Celebrating in Your Brokenness

Brokenness is really an illusion with the purpose of creating great beauty – Dr Habib Sadeghi

I just replied to a post on the Herpes Life forums that sadly is all too common. Usually, I hear this from someone who is relatively recently diagnosed, so they are just reeling from the shock and upset of the diagnosis. However, this member has had Herpes for several years. She has bought into the stigma, hook, line, and sinker, and has yet to find her way out of her her belief that Herpes has irreparably broken her. Essentially, she wrote:

I feel the shame because I am reminded how completely unattractive, how repellent having a virus on your genitals is to other people. It also disgusts me…… I will always be infectious. Its vile.

My response was: Continue reading Kintsukuroi: Celebrating in Your Brokenness

Rejection: It’s All About Perspective

Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.  Harvey Mackay

One of the main fears that seems to surface with the people I coach after Herpes diagnosis is the dreaded disclosure talk and the corresponding fear of rejection. Suddenly any other reason that might cause a potential partner to reject them goes out the window and the whole focus of their being goes into the mis-guided belief that Herpes makes them dirty, unlovable, tainted, or whatever, and that NO ONE will ever want to love them.  I can tell you from coaching many people and seeing them grow and face their fears that it’s just not true. We have several  Success Stories on the Herpes Life Forum every week … and interestingly, far, far fewer Rejections! I have yet to ever come across any proof that Herpes will keep you from finding love. Yes, it may add one extra speed bump to the process, but my observations have been that many people feel that when they DO find love with H, it’s deeper, more fulfilling, and better than any love they have ever experienced…but that’s a whole ‘nuther blog! Continue reading Rejection: It’s All About Perspective

Dealing With Your (Uninformed) Doctor

One thing I have learned over the years. Doctors don’t know everything. And the more broad their scope of practice (Family Doctor vs Neurologist, for example) the less deep their knowledge in what we expect them to know. Now that’s not surprising when you think about it but we tend to believe our Doctors are Demi-Gods who should be able to wave their hands and make us better. Our modern medicine society tends to support that to an extent. But the truth of the matter is, if you are not presenting with very clear symptoms your average doctor may well not have the knowledge to deal with it.

If you have done your homework you have learned about Asymptomatic Shedding, and that just because you can’t “see” or feel anything doesn’t mean you can’t pass the virus on. You have learned that if you have HSV1, it doesn’t protect you from HSV2 and visa versa. You understand the facts that half of all new Herpes cases are HSV1 acquired from oral sex. You know that a condom only cuts Transmission Rates in half. You know full well that you *could* be carrying the virus if you have not specifically asked for the Herpes test in the past. So when you go to your doctor to ask for anti-virals, or for the Herpes test, you need to be armed with the indisputable facts that they have somehow managed to miss in the 50,000 pages of medical journal stuff that they go through every year, because sadly many doctors are woefully behind the times when it comes to Herpes facts and information. Continue reading Dealing With Your (Uninformed) Doctor

Patience Grasshopper: Surviving and Thriving The First Year With Herpes

Pretty much every day I read the same plea on the Herpes Opportunity Forums where I am known as the Forum Mom …

“I was diagnosed 3 weeks ago…. when is the pain going to stop? When will I get back to normal? When will I be happy again? My life is OVER!!!!!”

Now, I get it. For many, the day you got the news that you have Herpes was probably one of the most stressful, painful, and frightening days of your life. And I know that some people have some pretty tough primary outbreaks. But lets put this into a little perspective:

The average person will live about 4,000 weeks. So 3-4 weeks, or even 3-4 months, is basically a speed bump on the timeline of your life. Or as one H (Opp) member put it so well…. Continue reading Patience Grasshopper: Surviving and Thriving The First Year With Herpes

Diagnosis: It Isn’t the End…. It’s Just the Beginning of the New, Improved You!

Don’t deny the diagnosis …. try to defy the verdict ~ Norman Cousins

So you just got the call from the doctor …. the one you’ve been dreading to hear for days. Or maybe it was totally unexpected. You just went in for your STD tests as usual and you decided to ask for the Herpes test because you heard that it wasn’t normally included in the STD panel of tests…but you figured it was just going to be another hit to the wallet and nothing more.  And you heard those three little words:  “You have Herpes”. For many, the world seems to come crashing down in that moment. One moment you are skipping through life, dealing with the day-to-day stuff that is thrown at you (or so you think), and now suddenly, your life as you knew it is OVER … you go from being a wonderfully beautiful person to a dirty, unlovable, disease-ridden person who no one will ever love or want to be with in that instant. Or so you think…… I’m here to tell you that Herpes can actually bring you more and better love than you can ever imagine possible. I know it sounds like I’ve been smoking some really great stuff over here …. but with time, counseling, and a bit of work, you have the chance to change your perspective from one of “my life is over” to “my life is sooo much better than I ever imagined could be possible”. I see it happen time and time again with the people I counsel on the Herpes Opportunity Forums (check them out….it’s the BEST place for support and information). You see, Herpes acts like a magnifying glass on all the crap we have swept under the carpet and ignored. All the things we believe (though we won’t admit it) about being unlovable, not good enough, not pretty enough, etc can come screaming out at you after diagnosis, disguised as the belief that this little virus is completely to blame for everything that doesn’t work in your life from now on. And it’s ALL A LIE that your brain is fabricating because somewhere along the line you bought into the belief, the stigma, that says a STD, especially Herpes, is proof that the person is dirty and “loose”…. someone who you would NEVER associate with. So stop for one moment and look at the facts:

  • 80% of the population has Herpes (HSV1 or 2)
  • 80% of them don’t know they have it
  • 15-20% of the population has Genital Herpes … and 80% of them don’t know it
  • HSV1 (cold sores) is now making up 50% of the new Genital Herpes diagnosis … because of the mis-guided belief that HSV1 won’t head south combined with that 80% who are unaware that they even have the “Cold-sore virus”.
  • 60% of all young people will have HSV1 by the time they are young adults because kids are walking petri dishes and they love to share all their bugs …. or maybe Auntie Sue kissed them with a cold sore and didn’t know it was highly contagious at that time.

Odds are – several of your friends have Herpes too. Some may not know it…. and some are hiding it from you because they believe you will think less of them if they told you, because THEY bought into the stigma too. For now, be gentle on yourself. Get on the Forum and reach out for support… from a trustworthy friend (who may well tell you they know 3 other people with it!), your family, or counseling. Whatever you do, don’t try to go it alone.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~Maya Angelou

Peace