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I've had herpes for 12 years. I got it from my boyfriend at the time who hadn't told me he had herpes. My first outbreak was horrific. And I am someone who has always dealt with frequent outbreaks. My life went on....and I married a man who didn't care about my herpes and I have 3 young children. But after having my first baby I developed severe OCD and anxiety related to herpes.

 

I became paranoid I would somehow infect her. I also became paranoid about getting whitlow because it would be easier for my kids to come into contact with it. I worry about my husband. He caught herpes from me although in 6 years he's had 3-4 outbreaks, but he isn't as careful as me so I worry he'll infect our kids or get whitlow and infect our kids that way. Or that down the road herpes will become worse for him.

I managed to control my OCD and anxiety and made a lot of progress but recently its been triggered and I am spiraling. I just had surgery on my abdomen so I've become paranoid about infecting my incisions. I have very sensitive skin and had an allergic reaction to something and developed a red rash so that's just fed my anxiety. 

 

I need to seek professional help but I hate how herpes seems to have such a negative impact on my mental health. I also worry I will develop antiviral resistance and then I will have nothing to combat this virus. I'm also frustrated because I am on suppressive therapy but I still get red and irritated sometimes even though I never develop any lesions. It happens pretty frequently too. So idk if it something else or if antivirals are starting to become less effective. I'm just so scared herpes will someone become unstoppable and become worse and worse.

Can anyone relate or offer any advice??

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Hi!! 

First, I hope you are recovering from your abdominal surgery!! 🌻🦋

Second, I am so sorry for all of the stress and worry you have felt and are feeling currently. You don't deserve to feel that way. Please know it can and will get better. There is hope!! 🌄

As someone with OCD and anxiety, I completely understand how herpes triggers OCD thoughts and cycles. It can be so draining. So many people can relate to the OCD and anxiety and herpes issues, and so many people are so scared of infecting other parts of their bodies and their own children. However, I can offer some facts to help settle your worries ❤️.

HERPES & TRANSMISSION: It is extremely extremely unlikely to give yourself herpes (you'd have to REALLY try. Like, touch an open sore and then lick your finger and repeat multiple times, which you obviously wouldn't do anyway). Your body has made antibodies, so it protects you from contracting herpes elsewhere. Herpes thrives and enters the body through mucus membranes (hence why oral and genital areas are the top places of entry, besides eyes). You won't give your abdomen herpes. Don't worry ❤️.

HERPES & PARENTING:  There are so many parents who have the same fears you explained. Rest assured, herpes passed through direct contact with the area of infection. Cuddling with your children won't give them herpes. Herpes doesn't pass through clothing, nor does it spread from sharing bedding or the same bathroom. 

Here is a helpful resources from the New Zealand Herpes Foundation regarding parenting with HSV. https://www.herpes.org.nz/herpes-patient-info/parenting-herpes

In regards to your redness and irritation despite being on supressive medication, it could be from a vaginal irritant, a new soap, too tight clothing, vaginal thrush or too much friction (biking or sex, for example) or a UTI or yeast or bladder infection. People typically do not develop a resistance to the antibiotics. The fact that you haven't had sores could mean the antiviral is working well. However, ask your OBGYN or doctor about the issues you experience and if the antivirals are preforming the way they should. 

I am sending you prayers and blessings!! It will be okay ❤️ please reach out with more questions if you need to!! 

Blessings,

Grace 

 

 

 

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Thank you for replying to me! Facts help me. For some reason the past few days my mind set has changed from thinking herpes is just an annoying skin condition to it being a terrible and dangerous virus that I am stuck with forever. I don't know how to snap out of this. I'm having a lot of obsessive thoughts. Valtrex does seem to work well for me so now I am paranoid about becoming resistant to it. And I worry something bad could happen to my husband or my kids...I would just go insane...

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Good Morning!! 

Today is a new day 🌄.

Thoughts can be SO troublesome, because it's not like we can run away from them-- they follow us everywhere, since they're in our brains!! 

My therapist told me OCD can be chill for weeks, months, even years and then pop back up really intensely, randomly, and of course due to brain chemistry, triggers such as stress or anxiety, or major life events.

OCD is interesting, because the obsessive thoughts are manifestations of stress. Sometimes our OCD worries have nothing to do with the original stressor, but in order to process abstract stress, our brains turn it into concrete thoughts with physical compulsions. For me personally, my contamination OCD and intrusive thought OCD stem from an adverse childhood experience that made me feel "bad" and "dirty". The only way my brain could process it was to turn it into OCD. I FEEL dirty so I have these compulsions to washy hands excessively, I'm afraid to touch things, etc. Getting herpes solidified these worries and feelings of dirtiness, so of course my OCD is like, "See! You ARE dirty and unwanted!" 

Of course, I would get so angry at myself and my brain. I was frustrated by my OCD for interfering in my life. Then, I realized if anything, I should be kinder to these OCD thoughts. They were the thoughts that someone made me feel, that made a child feel bad and dirty, when in reality children and pure and beautiful. 

OCD is sort of like a shield. We use it to protect ourselves and protect others. In order to break it down, we have to acknowledge that it is a coping mechanism we established somewhere down the line to regain control or protect ourselves and others, and instead of push these thoughts away, we have to say to ourselves, "I appreciate the part of my brain that is trying to keep me and others safe, but there other ways to do that. I don't need to have these worries or these compulsions because I am clean. I am safe. I am careful." 

I know how bizzare it sounds to address the OCD voice, since it is natural to want to run from it and ignore it. However, it is really healing to address it. 

I actually started therapy for my OCD about a month ago, and I learned about tapping, which is an Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) which really really can help ❤️ here is a link to tapping for OCD specifically!! Every time I felt a compulsion or worry, I would do this ❤️

 

I hope this helps you!!! 

Please know you aren't alone. So many parents on here, especially mothers, have expressed the same worries about infecting their children. It got better for them, and it can get better for you, too!!! ❤️

Reach out with any more questions or if you need support. We are all here for you!! 🌄🌻

Blessings,

Grace

 

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Thank you again for responding to me. I am sorry you had to go through that as a child. I have always had health related anxiety so that's what I have these awful thoughts related to herpes. 

Even though I know it's not possible I still feel like I am a threat to my children and if they ever found out when they are older that they would be ashamed of me. I still feel tremendous guilt about passing this to my husband even though he says again and again he doesn't care. And then I have been having these crazy dark thoughts that if one day I have to go on immunosuppressive medicine or become immunocompromised that herpes will get so much worse for me. These are crazy, obsessive thoughts I know but I think about them. I really need to start therapy💔😭

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Hi!! 

I am so sorry you are so worried!! Yes, therapy is so healing, and sometimes just letting out all the thoughts can help take the power away from them. I currently do teletherapy and it helps me so much!! 

Please know you are not crazy or bad or dirty. One of my friend's parents both have herpes, and my friend didn't care at all! If anything, your children would probably just say, "okay, mom" if they found out. But then again, there's no reason they'd ever know or find out anyways! Your husband made the choice to stay with you and understood fully that he could contract herpes, and he did. And he's okay with it!! You may feel guilty, but there's nothing to feel guilty about. Love is SO much stronger than OCD and herpes worries!! 

Stay strong!! ❤️ You can get through this ❤️.

Blessings,

Grace

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Thank you again for responding to me. I feel like I am starting to talk myself off the ledge but I still hold a lot of fear associated with herpes. And I don't think I've still 100% accepted that this is my life after all these years. I wish I didn't worry about these things. I envy people that don't.

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Hello!

Of course, I am happy to help! 🙂 

I am happy to hear that you can calm yourself. It is very hard to accept herpes, but acceptance is so healing and very very liberating. Sometimes we are mad at ourselves and the person who gave it to us, but honestly forgiveness has helped me heal immensely. Even though there was nothing to forgive myself about, it still made my heart feel lighter to know that I unconditionally loved myself even though I had herpes. I forgave myself, I accepted myself. And that really makes all the difference. Even if you don't feel like you accept and love yourself, start saying it to yourself. Practice it. Practice self-love, and eventually it sticks! 🙂 

It will get better!  I am sending you happy energy and positive blessings ❤️ 

Please reach out with any questions, or if you need support!!

Peace,

Grace

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Grace thank you. I also read another post you commented on and saw that you couldn't be seen for three days after your outbreak started? The SAME thing happened to me. And I was so sick, had a REALLY bad primary outbreak...lesions everywhere. So this might seem like a weird question but..it wasn't dangerous for us to have to go those days without antivirals was it? Like there is more virus in us or something? I always wonder if my herpes would be more under control if I had been able to start antivirals right away....

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Hi!! 

Aw I am so sorry!! Yes, it is so painful. I also had really bad lesions. I was only 19 at the time and I honestly had no idea how to handle it. 

However, I don't think not taking the medicine made it any worse. Like, your body doesn't have 'more' herpes in it than if you took the medicine. The antivirals help with speeding up healing and stopping the virus from shedding and producing active outbreaks, so I don't know if it would make a difference. I'm not a doctor, however, but I don't know if not having the medicine or taking it a few days into the outbreak would reduce or improve the amount of virus in your body. 

I had an outbreak a few months after my first and I didn't have access to my medicine and the sores went away eventually. It was a small outbreak, but it still healed and got better, just not as quick as if I took the medicine. 

However, it isn't dangerous to not take antivirals, unless the outbreak is causing you severe pain. You would suffer, definitely, which obviously isn't good!!! I don't know if it's dangerous, though. I would ask a doctor!! ❤️

Regardless, please know you are not dangerous. You are safe!! And clean. And good!! 🌼❤️🌱

Sending you happiness and comfort!! 🌄

Blessings,

Grace

 

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