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Still crippled by shame

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I've has ghsv1 for 2 and a half years now. I'm lucky..I met a wonderful guy shortly after my diagnosis, he was brilliant about it (we started out as friends) and were still together now. But I can't move on. Ghsv1 has no impact on me at all physically. Despite the fact that I have a chronic medical condition and take immune suppressants... but it does mentally. I know it does to lots of us. But I can't control the waves of sadness I feel. I can't get over the sense of mourning something lost. I think the biggest thing I feel is pure shame. Maybe its not justified. But its how I feel and I need to vent to cope. I'm so ashamed of myself for how I dealt with my break up...for becoming so weak...for not valuing myself enough.. for seeking refuge and support in another man who would break me just as badly in a different way. We dated and he got pushy with me...my gut told me straight away that something wasn't right so I said I wasn't comfortable having set. He got pushy and tried to go down on me and I pushed him away and he told me to just 'relax. I'm tormented by it. Why didn't I learn my lesson after my terrible break up and give myself more time to heal rather than running for help while I was still vulnerable. Why didn't I take notice of the red flags. I feel broken now and so embarrassed and regretful. I'm a good person, well educated, have a good job, have a medical condition. Why didn't I know better. Why didn't I protect myself more from hurt. 

I don't know how anyone can help. I just keep myself awake at night with all these feelings of shame and don't know how to move on from them. I don't think ill ever get over how small this makes me feel and the weight of carrying around this secret feels heavy all the time. 

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I am no psychologist, but it sounds like you have deep regret. No one can change the past, 2020 hindsight is really a thing. If we all had it, wed all be billionaires. But that's not how the real world works. I struggle with regret everyday over many things, and it's much easier to talk about from the point of view of giving advice than receiving advice, but these are simply hard truths. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Riseandfall,

I've been hsv-2 postive for 5 years. I felt like you for 6 months, but you feel like this after 2 and a half years. I can share with you what I did to change it and cope with it:

1. Knowledge. I understood the virus completely well. I read academic papers and watched interviews with Terry Warren and other guy I don't remember the name. They are academics that study the virus for years. It's incredible how doctors don't even know about the virus, just that it is contagious with breakouts and that give you acyvlocir. 

2. If I were you, I wouldn't even care about having Ghsv-1 because of knowledge: 

- HSV-1 has between 50% and 80% of the population. It is super common. Most of it is oral. So, just imagine that you are in a basketball game in a stadium. Imagine that at least half people in the stadium has hsv-1. Do it everytime, in the bus, in the street. 

- It is so common and 80% of people don't even know they have it. The chances of your next partner having hsv-1 are at least 50%. All you need to do is to ask him to get tested, if he already has it. Fuck it. It does not matter. If he has oral hsv-1. He won't get hsv-1 in his genitalia. If you have oral hsv-1 you build protection to get it in other sites. 

- Even if he does not have it. The chances of him getting hsv-1 are completely low. Look:

    + Viral shedding of genital hsv-2 is 15-30% of the times.

    + Probabilities of transmitting hsv-2 genital from women to men are 4% without a condom and no symptoms. 

    + Viral shedding of genital hsv-1 is 1%-3%.

    + Imagine with that viral shedding in G-hsv-1, what the probability of transmission is. it is almost nothing. 

    + I remember this phrase of Terry Warren: Genital hsv-1 disclosure is more trust than transmission. I also remember saying that she has not seen a case of hsv-1 genital to genital transmission. 

    + Transmission of hsv-1 to genital is from oral sex in a person that does not have already hsv-1.

    + Blame your mom, dad, uncle, grandpa that did not kiss you enough when you were a kid and did not give you oral hsv-1.   

    + Average breakouts of genital hsv-1 are 1.2 per year. Normally, in genital hsv-1, according to studies, if you don't get an outbreak again after a year and a half, you can be 80% sure that you won't have an outbreak in your life. Lucky you. I hate you. I deal with 3-6 outbreaks per year :). I hate you!

Just try to get all the information you need, but the right information. Every site, every you tube video, every doctor says a different thing and it is confusing. Make sure at least, it is an infectologist.

3. Psychologically:

- With this information you can say to your self: "I was unlucky to get genital herpes, but lucky enough to get the nicer one: hsv-1".

- Accept that you cannot change the past and that you have herpes and it is not going to change. Accept that it happened because of decisions you took and decissions the guy took. Accept what happened without judging. Stop blaming yourself. Everybody has secrets that cause chame as well as herpes.

- Accepting that you cannot change the past happens when you accept that it was the result of a lot of several decissions taken by you and the other person; when you accept that you had some responsability on it and that you are not 100% a victim (unless if you were raped); when you forgive yourself for being naif; accept that you cannot change the event; don't think about ifs (if I didn't go there, If I didn't meet him, If I had stayed at home, If he had told, if he knew he had it); accept that you cannot change the guy that gave it to you; accept that you have herpes. If you read all the experiences here, most people didn't even know about herpes besides the stigma; most people did not even know condoms don't protect you from having herpes; most people did not know herpes can be transmitted without symptoms. Forgive yourself for being naif.

Try to do therapy. Allow yourself to feel ashamed with a professional that could help you.

To be honest, I would be like "I got the nicer one. I just have to disclose because of trust, not transmission. Thank god I don't have to deal with several outbreaks per year like hsv-2 positives. Fuck my parents they didn't give me oral hsv-1 and my first exposure to it was genitally. Thank god I wont likely have another outbreak."




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