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Anxiety after disclosing to a friend ruining my friendship


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Hi guys, I found out I had herpes last fall and was totally devastated. Since then I have not grown close with anyone or had sex, mostly out of fear. I live in a tiny, tiny town with a very close group of people, and everyone always knows each other's business. I feel like I'm too young to have my business all out there (I'm just 20 and from the conversations I've had with men my age, it seems like they're not even willing to educate themselves about it) - so I'd like to keep my status private until necessary.

 

I joined this website then, did a couple therapy sessions, wrote a lot, and kind of figured I had mostly moved past the constant grief and anxiety the diagnosis first brought on. However, a couple weekends back, I got really drunk and ended up disclosing to one of my two best friends. She was supportive but I could tell she was shocked and freaked out (our mutual friend gave it to me).

 

The problem is, I thought disclosing would make me feel a lot better, not so alone. But if anything I feel worse! I can feel myself sinking into a depression, and I am so anxious all the time I'm having trouble eating. And the worst part is, for some crazy reason, I am actually feeling bitterness towards her... it's like now that she knows what's really going on, I can't stand to put on a brave, happy face around her, and it comes off as anger and jealousy that she can continue to go out, have sexual relationships, date freely, while I feel awful about myself and totally stuck. She didn't do anything wrong but I feel so terrible and guilty about feeling this way. I thought disclosure would make me feel better, but it's just led me to see again how different and isolated I feel, and that makes me angry. I feel like, even though she offers to talk with me, it freaks her out and she can't possibly understand all the stigma I'm feeling.

 

I've scheduled more therapy for this week and I've tried to explain to my friend why I feel this way (I barely understand), but I can't even be in the same room as her without feeling like some sort of monster or untouchable in comparison. Really feel like crawling into a hole :(

 

Anyone have any help or advice? I hate feeling this way.

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Hi Seafoam,

 

Sounds like you've hit the wall of the hurricane and it's stirring some pretty sharp emotions up. That's normal. We've all been there, so take a deep breath because there isn't a member of this forum who can't relate to what you're going through right now.

 

First, you're not a monster. Well, maybe you are. You don't have a profile picture, so for all I know you have 6 arms, 400 large, very sharp teeth, 8 eyes, horns, and claws for feet. If that's the case, well, you're a very nice monster. If that's not the case, well, you're not a monster.

 

Now, you told your friend. That's good she's there to support you. From what you wrote, it doesn't sound like she's being mean or cruel to you about it. Of course she's shocked...but she's shocked because she's thinking to herself "If this could happen to her...it could happen to me." She's also probably trying to figure out how to support you, so be her guide and let her know how she can.

 

Why can't you go out? Why can't you have fun? Why can't you do the freaky deeky with the hottest guy in town? Nothing is stopping you except your own fear; it's a fear you're allowing to become a prison. Granted, you'll have to disclose when you get close to someone, but, after what you've just been through, don't you want that person to be someone who cares about you, loves you, and wants you for more than just a romp in the hay? I'd think so.

 

And, while I know it's going to be tough to find a guy your age who isn't going to be bothered by it, I see story after story every week of girls in their early 20's saying they've met the most amazing guy who wasn't even fazed by it. Get out there. Your guy is waiting for you...and who knows, maybe he has a secret, too? He might be overly possessive of the remote control, or have a toe jam problem, or, he might still suck his thumb. We all have something we want to keep secret; love is finding someone you want to share those secrets with.

 

Try some meditation. I do Tai Chi. Others do Yoga. I have one friend who drinks a bottle of Jack and sits in a corner reciting Shel Silverstein all night long. Whatever works for you. Just find some activity where you can give your thoughts a rest and discover all the things inside you that are beautiful, sexy, and charming.

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As herry said, there are ALOT of guys/galls out there who honestly dont mind about someone having h!

On a side note, my sis knows this chick that has h as well, and she's very ... uhm... ok no nice words for this particular girl, she's with a different man almost every weekend... point being tho.. she informs everyone shes about to be intimate with of her "condition" and has honetly NEVER been turned down!

imo... doesnt matter who u are, "monster" or not, dont let h be in controll of the sexy woman u are!!!!

Because lets face it, we're all a "catch" !!!

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@seafoam

 

So heres the deal my friend. Your friend is freaked out because she can't wrap her head around the fact that someone she loves and respects could get herpes, and it's made her realize that maybe some things she believed in may be wrong. And that's a scary thing. So perhaps you can educate her. When you can help someone understand something better, it helps you to understand it better and it brings you a sense of doing something for the good of another ... and maybe that will help you to get over your upset with her ;)

 

@Herry made a great point :

 

We all have something we want to keep secret; love is finding someone you want to share those secrets with.

 

We've previously discussed this on here many times... that "closet" we have all been in. I have a friend who is in her later 50's, who has many men who are attracted to her, and her "secret" is that she has "baggy skin" over her knees and cellulite ...yet she is slim and beautiful and she just can't believe anyone will love her with those "faults" ... we ALL have something that we feel makes us "unlovable" ... Herpes is just one of a myriad of things that that we can feel will keep us from finding love. And it's ALL untrue. ;)

 

Here are some links for you to peruse ... I hope they will help you get it that this is just another speed bump in your mental and spiritual healing. You are lovable and worthy of love.... you just have to learn to love yourself first ;)

 

http://herpeslife.com/if-you-live-your-life-in-fear

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/1754/im-out-of-the-herpes-closet

 

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/3296/this-is-water-this-is-water- Choice

 

Rejection (your friend didn't reject you but her reaction has affected you as if she had:

 

http://herpesopportunity.com/podcasts/Herpes-Opportunity-Never-Rejected.mp3 (adrial)

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201307/ten-surprising-facts-about-rejection

 

Herpes facts video

 

 

 

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Thank you guys so much for the quick responses! Y'all are awesome!

 

I think my insecurity about going out is just a bigger self-esteem problem in general... this particular friend always wants to go out to clubs, bars, concerts, etc, and while I'm fine to do that once in a while, I don't really like to go out with her because of all the attention she gets (twice we've gone out on double dates and at the end both the guys asked her to call them and not me.. ouch) and how intoxicated she gets. I think most of it revolves around body and personality issues I had before I even got herpes.

 

@Herrytheherp - thank you so much for your suggestions, especially the practical ones! I used to meditate every day but my time on the cushion has been severely lacking lately... certainly a connection to how I'm feeling now. Fitness is also something that's helped me a lot - feeling like I'm not a victim of my body, but instead that my body is powerful and active.

 

@Willow - that gave me a lot of hope! I'm really happy to find out there are people out there brave enough to disclose like that and not be turned down. I think maybe after my first few disclosures it will be easier. thank you for your help <3

 

@WCSDancer2010 - I think you're right. This friend is particularly well-educated on the subject but not really in a way that focused on big-picture or having it occur to someone you love... she's a hypochondriac who used to do all this scary reading on herpes after hearing the 1 in 4 statistic, and she's very bad about joking about it or saying it's the worst thing that could happen (the other week she actually said she'd rather go through an unplanned pregnancy than have herpes.. imagine the look on my face) - but hopefully this will change now that she is aware of my situation. I love the point you made about this being a speed bump in my in my mental and spiritual healing. I guess this is especially scary because it's the first situation that I can't change (although my feelings about it can, which is awesome). Previously any tough situation I came up against could be solved by moving, switching schools, ending relationships, etc... but this is the first time I've really had to teach myself to accept a condition that is going to affect me for the rest of my life. Thanks for all your advice!

 

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(the other week she actually said she'd rather go through an unplanned pregnancy than have herpes..

 

Next time someone says that, remind them that a baby IS attached to you for life (unless you adopt it out..and even then, you know he/she is out there and it HAS to affect you in some way) ... and take it from someone who has a 25 yr old who is not talking to her right now, they can cause you just as much pain and suffering as Herpes...just in another way... AND, you may have to deal with an asshole Baby-Daddy for the rest of your life. Thanks but I'll take Herpes over an unwanted pregnancy any day. ;)

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And yes - Herpes can help you to grow through so many situations. From what you say, it's acted as a magnifying glass on your insecurities (very typical BTW... you are far from alone there) AND you are seeing that you can learn that you sometimes have to accept the hand you are dealt ... that's a great life lesson right there!

 

(((HUGS)))

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