As part of my work as an advocate for the Herpes community, I spend a lot of time on the Herpes Opportunity Forums. Our work there is to help the “H+” population and their loved ones to get reliable, accurate information about living with the virus, and to feel supported and less isolated in their journey.
Much of the talk is about what are known as “Triggers” … those things in life that cause or contribute to an outbreak. These things vary largely from one person to another, and even in each person some things that trigger an outbreak now will not bother them in the future. Normal triggers are stress (the biggest trigger of them all), chocolate, nuts, foods that are high in Arginine, sex (especially in those who are going through their first few months post exposure), and sunshine (mostly in those with HSV1 oral). But lately there has been a number of new “triggers” that have become evident on the boards…..and they are Continue reading Triggers As Learning Tools For Life
Q: What’s the difference between love and herpes? A: Herpes lasts forever.
I often see people on the Herpes Life Forums who are hurt or frustrated when they hear someone telling a Herpes joke.
EVERYTHING has been the butt of a joke at some time or other… every conceivable race, emotion, situation, disease, etc known to man is fair game. Blondes. Fat people. Pollacks. The President. Kids. You name it, there’s a joke (or several hundred) for it. So why is it all of a sudden it’s not OK to joke about Herpes once we are diagnosed? I’ll bet you either have told or laughed at a Herpes joke at some point in the past. Yeah – some are uglier than others… but same goes for everything else that’s joked about. IT’S NOT PERSONAL! You only noticed it because you have Herpes – and there will be jokes out there that you don’t think twice about that bother someone else. So what is the difference between a Herpes joke and the following ?(Graphic alert! I picked these specifically because of the nature of the joke and this blog) Continue reading Herpes Jokes: Getting the Last Laugh
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
“I encourage you to accept that you may not be able to see a path right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
― Nick Vujicic, Life Without Limits
One of my greatest sources of inspiration is Nick Vujcic – a beautiful soul who was born without arms or legs. This young man has taken something that he could have (and did, for many years) seen as something that could make him unlovable and a non-productive member of society, and turned it into a message of inspiration and hope.
I often have people who are coping with a new Herpes diagnosis say: “But it’s not FAIR! I don’t sleep around. All my friends are having one night stands and they didn’t get it! WHY ME???” They can only see the negative. They buy into the stigma, convinced that they are suddenly dirty, unlovable, a slut, a leper. They can’t see that this virus is, by comparison to what *could* happen to us in life, a pretty minor inconvenience. They become hopeless almost overnight, convinced that their life is over and that they are destined to be single, sullied, and unable to be “like everyone else” ever again. Continue reading Hopelessness: Turning Adversity Into Opportunity
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
To walk across the street is a risk. Mikhail Baryshnikov
So often I see people beating themselves up for acquiring Herpes. The majority of the time, they were just plain blissfully ignorant about the risks, about the fact that we are not automatically tested for H in the STD panel, or they just plain got caught up in the moment … (Damn Hormomones!!!). Many get HSV1 from oral sex because they didn’t know that cold sores could head South (and their “giver” often didn’t know either and/or didn’t know they had the virus because they got it as a child). Others are told by their partner that they are safe as long as they are not having an outbreak, because that is what their Doctor told them. The vast majority of Herpes transmissions are a result of inaccurate information combined with the fact that 80% of the population has no idea they have H. Then, once they get Herpes, they obsess (understandably) about passing it on. Even when you point out that with anti-virals and condoms, the risk falls to about 1-5% (depending on your gender), they are deathly scared about getting in a relationship and passing the virus on to their new partner. So they vow to either become celibate (also perhaps to punish themselves for being so “stupid”), or to only date someone who has H. The problem is, they have forgotten that if you are living life, you are ALWAYS living with risk. The secret here is that once you are educated, you have the power to reduce that risk to an “acceptable” level. Ignorance, as we H+ folks know all too well, is the cause of the vast majority of new cases of Herpes. The following is something that I tell people all the time who are obsessing on the risk factors of passing Herpes on, or who are beating themselves up for having acquired H. Continue reading Driving Yourself Crazy: A Reality Check About Sex and STD’s
Blame: A way to discharge pain and discomfort
Brene Brown … from http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame
Often when someone is first diagnosed with Herpes, the first thing they want to know who gave it to them. Sometimes it’s easy to figure out, other times it’s more complicated because the virus is a slippery little devil and may have been lying dormant for some time (and through multiple partners) before it rears its blistery little head. It’s a normal reaction … we humans always want to know if we can make some meaning about how it happened: Did the person know they had H? If now, why not? Did they give it to them on purpose? How long have they had it? How on earth did they not know they had it… Etc. Continue reading Blame: The Millstone Around Your Neck
One of the more frequent fears I come across is from people who are scared that they will pass the virus on to their children or loved ones. I am saddened when I read a discussion where the OP is convinced that they will have to quarantine themselves from their children, that they have to bleach everything after they touch it (especially toilet seats and bathtubs), that they can never kiss their children or snuggle in bed with them on a Sunday morning. And it’s all untrue.
The simple answer is that if you follow common sense and normal sanitary habits you can lead a completely normal family life. For the purposes of this blog, I’m not including your sexual partner in these scenarios. Continue reading Toilets, Towels and Touching, Oh My!
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