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How do I cope with this?

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I’m a 25 year old female. I’ve never been the type to have casual sex until this past summer. I had one ulcer pop up that I thought was just irritation from pads bc I seem to get one almost every time I’m on my period. I took a blood test and came back HSV2 positive. 5.16. I have no idea how long I’ve had this, I have no idea who I got it from or who I could’ve passed it to. I feel more anxiety around the thought of who I could’ve passed it to and how my love/sex life is going to be from this point forward. I’m so depressed. I just wanna lay in bed and do nothing. I’ve been forcing myself to go to the gym and I’m going to redo my bedroom with the help and support from my mom and sister (both of whom I’ve told about my diagnosis). I just feel disgusting and overwhelmed and like I’m in a horror movie. As someone who has been a hypochondriac her whole life, I was not expecting this test to come back as positive. I was just thinking it was me overthinking the worst, per my usual. I’ve cut everyone off, my temper has been so quick lately, I have no energy, I just feel lost. I don’t know where to go from here or how to deal with this. I feel like all my joy is gone. I want to cry all the time. I just started being confident in myself and loving myself and all of that is down the drain. I feel 2 feet tall. And like I’m carrying around the world’s biggest secret by a ball and chain. I just feel empty and numb. Please God someone help me to feel better. I just need support and advice from people who deal with this too, considering I can’t talk about this with anyone else. I feel like I have a permanent dark cloud over my head these days and I can’t seem to shake it. 

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Hey there @Virgeaux,

I hear you, and I want you to know that you're not alone in feeling this way. The diagnosis can hit hard, especially when it's unexpected. It's okay to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and pissed off at the world. But remember, you're still you. Herpes doesn't define who you are or your worth. You're the one who gets to do that. 

It's good to see that you're taking steps to engage with your surroundings, like hitting the gym and redecorating your room with your mom and sister. These activities might seem small, but they can be powerful in helping you reclaim a sense of control and normalcy. And talking to your mom and sister about your diagnosis is a brave move – their support will certainly mean a lot during this time.

Feeling like you've cut everyone off is a common response (like no one else really understands, right?), but remember that you don't have to carry this alone. Connecting with others who are going through or have gone through similar experiences can provide a sense of camaraderie and understanding that's hard to find elsewhere. I myself was gobsmacked when I started talking to close friends about it more openly and they would open up to me about hard, shameful things going on in their lives that they had been hiding from me. It brought us all closer together. As human beings. It just normalized the truth that everyone suffers in their own way, and everyone feels so alone in their own way.

As for your emotions, it's absolutely okay to feel all that you're feeling. Grieving the life you thought you had is a process, and it's important to give yourself the time and space to do so. Confidence and self-love might feel distant now, but they're not gone forever. They might look a bit different now, but they're still there, waiting for you to rediscover. In fact, as ironic and backwards as it may seem now, the time after my herpes diagnosis (after my own dark storm cloud eventually blew over) was filled with more love and joy than I had even before my diagnosis. Because I was forced to look deeper. 

You're stronger than you might think. It takes time to adjust, but you'll find your way through this. And that dark cloud you're feeling? It might seem like it's here to stay, but clouds do move on. It's in their nature. It's weather. Reach out to others who understand, seek professional guidance if needed, and remember that you're not defined by a virus. You've got this – one step at a time.

Sending you a virtual hug!

Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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Thank you so much for your kind words and taking the time to respond, @mr_hopp . It was actually my sisters idea to join an online community to help with coping since she and my mom can’t quite help me as much as they want to because they have no idea what exactly I’m going through. Today has felt so up and down. I started the day off being indifferent and then I was laughing and then reality hit and I felt down again. I’m going to spend time with my best friend tonight (she also knows of my diagnosis) and she is so on board with helping me get back to a healthy mental space. I do have so much support, but it’s still so easy to feel lonely right now. Im taking it day by day, that’s all I can do. I go to the doctor tomorrow for a follow up chat and get more information from her regarding HSV-2. I hope to feel well soon and I’m taking steps to do so. It’s so hard to do though when I know so many people are so ignorant and uneducated on this virus. I think people should choose to educate themselves so if someone chooses to disclose to them then they won’t make that person feel bad about it when they’re already having a hard time grappling with it. Again, Thank you thank you thank you for your response. You are a kind soul. I look forward to being a part of this community. 

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I understand what you’re going through. I’ve had hav 1+2 for 5 years, I got it when I was 25 as well only difference is I am a man. The first thing I did when I found out was tell the 3 other people I had been sleeping with in the time I started sleeping with the person who gave it to me. They were all extremely supportive and appreciated my honesty, thankfully none of them had gotten it.

Personally I went through a heavy 6 month depression afterwards and thought I’d struggle finding sexual partners and even a romantic partner. I’d be lying if I said it was easy, but it does get easier. In my experience since getting it I dated someone for 3.5 years who had herpes as well and currently have a partner who I’ve been seeing for 10 months who does not have herpes. And I’ve had multiple sexual partners in the stint between them. To my surprise being honest and communicating about it even to just a casual hookup I haven’t been turned down. Each time I had the conversation it got easier. I won’t tell you that you won’t get rejected, I just got lucky. But if someone doesn’t respect you and your situation, I promise you they are not worth your time. 
I’d say the most important thing is be aware of your body and mind as far as what happens during an outbreak. As far as I understand everyone is a little different even tho there are some common symptoms physically but I have also noticed some patterns for me mentally as well. As you become aware of them talk to someone you trust about them and also anyone you’re having sexual relations with at the time. Honesty and communication are the next most important things as far as your own health and safety goes and your partner(s) as well. 

I know you’re struggling but things will get better with time. In the meantime do some nice things for yourself and spend time talking about your feelings around this with those closest to you. Feel free to talk to a therapist as well, that has been a huge help to me. As your confidence builds put yourself out there again, you do not need to tell everyone you are interested in, but when you know there is a connection and you feel things moving forward, just politely ask the person if you can tell them something important in a safe space. Be confident and honest with them, I pray you never get rejected and definitely not rudely but even if you do don’t let it break you down. It doesn’t reflect who you are or you’re worth as human, it is only their own insecurity and lack of understanding. You ARE worthy of both sexual pleasure and love! Be patient and love yourself even with herpes because it is not the end of your life, it does present some challenges and frustrations but it will only make you stronger and a more beautiful person on the other side.

You are not alone, and thank you for sharing, I know how hard it is. Take care and love yourself 😊


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