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I’ve now had GHSV2 for 14 years. Diagnosed at age 17, I was in massive denial, thought my life was over, and had a horrific outbreak that was incredibly painful, I was very ill with a fever. I was in denial for a very long time about my condition. I’ve been suicidal over it, thought my life would be over if people found out, hated myself and the person who gave it to me. Thought I was unworthy, disgusting, would be alone forever. I’m just recovering from two outbreaks in a row, last week I had one and recovered and now it’s happening again. These are the worst outbreaks I’ve had since I was diagnosed. The fear set in. The pain and itchiness uncomfortable, me wondering where I had gone wrong for this to happen to me now. But despite all that, I’m the most open and accepting about it I ever have been before, even the last outbreaks before this I didn’t feel as free as I do now. I am close with my mom and spoke to her about it, she knows I have it. I spoke to my girlfriend and told her about the outbreaks, this last time I even joked about it with her. I used to be so embarrassed about herpes I would delete my history and would panic if anyone saw I was on the forum my life would be over. But today I feel more free. I’m not even going to bother deleting my search history. If you want to make fun of me for having herpes then go ahead, but one day there will be something you feel embarrassed about too that you would wish people wouldn’t laugh at you for. Then you can think back to the moment you laughed at someone else and think about it. I’ve done a lot of work on myself and it took 14 years just for me to get to this point. I really didn’t think it could be possible. But, it is. I have come a long, long way. I wasn’t even able to say the word “herpes” before. But today I have been saying it. I just want to go out and say: yes that’s right, I have herpes. And I don’t even care. I still love myself and my family, friends, and girlfriend love me too. Go ahead and make fun of me. I will even laugh at myself. I don’t care. Also, I’ve had many partners who dated me and didn’t care about it. So no I don’t have any concern about finding new partners in the future. Granted, I probably won’t always feel this confident every second of the day. But the fact that it even happened at all is for me a huge accomplishment I never thought I could have reached. So to anyone struggling with shame, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts — it may seem impossible now, but you can find love for yourself. You can find someone who loves you. You don’t have to be alone. You are not alone. You are so much more than this. You are beautiful, wanted, valuable, lovable, and amazing. I want you to love yourself one day. If this helped anyone I will feel so good in knowing my suffering wasn’t for nothing. And yours won’t be either. Because we will grow, mature, become more compassionate, and help each other through our pain. I won’t waste my pain. And neither should you.