Jump to content
  • Want to be a part of a supportive community? Join the H Opp community for free.

    Welcome to the Herpes Opportunity Support Forum! We are a supportive and positive group to help you discover and live your Opportunity. Together, we can shed the shame and embrace vulnerability and true connection. Because who you are is more important than what you have. Get your free e-book and handouts here: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/ebook

how does one begin to love themselves after a blow like this?

Recommended Posts

Forgive me if I sound dramatic, but I am 33 and newly diagnosed with herpes. It has totally blindsided me. Not that I don't know how I got it. But I am still in that phase of beating myself and blaming myself for my poor choice. And he didn't even care about me the same way that I cared about him. And I am also sad because I wanted love so much that I settled for less than I deserve. But now that I have this, how am I supposed to begin to repair my already bad self-esteem? I wonder about someone loving me for me in spite of herpes. I know that things could be worse, so please bear with me. I am only one month post diagnosis. My question to the group for those who have had herpes for awhile is how did you begin to pick up the pieces and truly come to terms with the disease and begin to truly love yourself more than you ever have? (if that was an issue). How do you stop "shaming" and blaming yourself? I want to be married and I want children and I feel I have so much work to do before I could be in a place to receive healthy love.

Link to comment

Hi....Lovingmyself....great name by the way.


Well, you are only one month post diagnosis so be patient with yourself. Most of us had the same feelings as you when we were first diagnosed. Herpes is a very emotional virus...LOL..that is, a lot of emotions come to the surface for someone post diagnosis.


I am 7 month post diagnosis and I can tell you, it does get better. The first few months I could barely get out of bed because I was so upset. I inched my way to month 7 through therapy, ugh meds (I hate to say it), this site and forgiveness.


So I will tell you what worked for me in my healing process (which is still going btw) and maybe it will help you too:


1) I went through the motions of healing even though I was stubborn and nowhere near ready to forgive myself. That is, I thought therapy would help, went to 2 appts a week, I couldn't get out of bed and was depressed about diagnosis, ended up on low dosage of antidepressants (may not work for you, seek medical advice here), slept alot. I took everyone's advice that therapy and time would help me and went through the motions at first hoping eventually my mind would catch up.


2) I found this site and began reading and reading people's experiences and realized I was not alone. This is a great thing because having herpes can make you feel really lonely....at least it did for me....and I realized if complete strangers were going through the same thing, I was not abnormal; and also if complete strangers were kind enough to take time to write me back, then eventually someone who "knew" me would too. Special favourites on this site are Herry the Herp (really funny, read his posts) and WSDancer (she knows tons and is a really wise and genuine lady) and I just read and read until one day I looked forward to reading their new posts and advice.


3) I started doing something artistic to still my mind. I was googling and overthinking everything and I used writing a journal to help dump my emotions and eventually it became a very artistic process. Doing something artistic usually requires feeling instead of thinking and this really helps I find when you are dealing with a virus that causes your brain to spin like that. I chose writing, someone else could be painting, dancing, drawing, sculpting blah blah, you get where I am headed....


So I would say these 3 things helped still my mind and got me on the right track. Sometimes you have to go through the motions of healing and then your heart catches up.....


You will find love, you are young, first, get your physical symptoms under control, plan your health strategy, then do 1 to 3 and you will be on your way....


Lots of people on this site have found love post diagnosis, why would you be any different than any of them? If you have self-esteem issues, hey! we all have them to some degree, herpes is your wake up call to work on them and help yourself.


It takes time, feel free to vent on this site...lots of people here that are wonderful people.


Good luck!

Link to comment



Hello friend :)


First, you are having a very normal reaction to the diagnosis.... for many, the emotional toll is worse than the physical.


It sounds like you already had self esteem issues, and H just acts as a magnifying glass on your already fragile soul. Part of the remedy is time ... just getting used to living with it and realizing that (for most of us) it's just a plain nuisance skin condition in a really inconvenient place.


One thing in your favor is this site - for people like myself, when I was diagnosed 30+ yrs ago, I had no support system and minimal information (much of which was inaccurate anyway as they didn't know much about it then). Read all you can, ask any questions you have, and rant if you need.


As for blame and shame, that is just the human brain messing with you ... we humans have a so-called "advanced" brain ... but the trade-off is that we are really good at convincing ourselves that we are "bad", "unlovable", etc ... Brene Brown did a couple really good Ted Talks on it this (links below).



Some great quotes from her talks:


If we can quiet it (shame) down and walk in and say "I'm going to do this" we look up and the critic that we see pointing and laughing 99% of the time is who? US! .... Shame drives two big tapes... "Never good enough" ... and if you can talk it out of that one .. "Who do you think you are?"


We are our own worst critics. You say you made a "poor choice" ... and now you are beating yourself up for it. So think of it this way.... if a friend came tot ell you that she has realized she had made a poor choice around a guy, and she just found out she had Herpes, what would you say to her? I bet you would hug her, tell her she is still a wonderfully beautiful person, and that any guy with half a lick of sense would love her regardless of H. So take yourself into the bathroom, look in the mirror, and tell yourself that right now. Be gentle on yourself. You did nothing wrong.... you were just a human being, being human.... looking for love from someone else because odds are you need to work on self love. And you are FAR from alone. A whole lot of us on here have H for exactly the same reason *points at self*. So be gentle with yourself....ok??


If you put shame in a petri dish it needs 3 things to grow exponentially - secrecy, silence, and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame into a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can't survive.


That's why you need to come here .... and if you have people that you trust that you can confide in, don't keep yourself completely in the closet... having a few friends who you can talk to (and who will show you that you are still beautiful and lovable) is healthy. Keeping it all in and not getting support is one of the worst things you can do.


And take it from an old timer, you can and WILL find love my friend. We have TONS of successful disclosure/love stories on here..... mostly with H- partners. You can children (I have 2 grown daughters who are H-free), find love, and live happily ever after.


For now, take each day at a time ... we're here for you ....






Link to comment

You know what? Many many people are in the same boat as you. We all made a decision that got us here but none of expected this, who does? You're only human. I think just about everyone who is sexually active has made the same mistake... meaning most people have taken a chance. It's just that most people are lucky enough not to get it. Many people have even been exposed to it multiple times but they'er just lucky enough to have a good immune system, and they're probably walking around thinking that they're something special because they don't have anything. You haven't done anything that most people haven't already so don't beat your self up. There are so many people out their just like you, you are not alone.

Link to comment

Hello @lovingmyself2014


Dancer is absolutely right about this site being in your favor. I was diagnosed 27 years ago and all the info I got from the doctor was on a tri-fold pamphlet. There was no one to talk to. I lived in almost total silence about it for nearly 10 years. When I finally got online I discovered others who also had H. I eventually attended some meetings at a local support group. I had finally started to learn about H and found out I wasn't nearly as alone as I thought I was. Look on the bright side, after one month your already 10 years ahead of where I was at when I was one month post diagnosis. (If that makes any sense.)


As far as marriage and children go, don't sweat it. My wife is also H+ and we have 2 daughters and H was never a factor in either births. I would say that after the first year your going to have a pretty good idea how H will affect you as far as outbreaks and prodomal symptoms go. Once you have a handle on that you will be in the drivers seat.


Hope this helped in some small way at least. It will get better.

Link to comment



When you said above we humans have a so-called "advanced" brain, it reminded me of something Robin Williams once said. "God gave men a brain and a penis, but only enough blood to use one at a time." I suppose the fact I find that funny means I have a rather warpped sense of humor. Or I'm up way passed my bedtime...

Link to comment

Thank you all! I already feel the support! I think I feel my processing is crazy and I am having all of these emotions because I am also dealing with the fact that I am also trying to find a job as well. Worrying about job uncertainty as well as dealing with a new diagnosis is not easy.


Also, I have only experienced the prodomal symptoms. I have never had an actual outbreak with lesions, just a tingling sensation. In fact, I had to see three ob/gyns before the last thought to test me for herpes. That's when I found out that herpes wasn't included in a normal std panel smh!!!!!!!! I am definitely seeing the connection between stress and diet already. Any recommendations on how to get rid of a sugar addition? I know sugar is a big suppressant to the immune system, and I am struggling with giving up my "comfort food"....lol I know I prob just need to reduce it. Currently I have sweets every day smh!!!!!!


I think I also struggle because of my religious faith. I definitely was not supposed to have sex before marriage and I feel like herpes almost "dirty's" me.I don't feel that God is punishing me, but I do wonder if I will be able to find a Christian man that will be able to look past that. When I write that, I know that if they are a true Christian, they are supposed to love like Jesus and love unconditionally, but I struggle. I just have alot of things going on: the new diagnosis, my self esteem, needing to find a job to pay my bills, etc. I definitely feel that once I figure out the job situation, that maybe everything else will be easier to deal with.

Link to comment

I think I also struggle because of my religious faith


Why am I not surprised??? I could see it all through your writing ... One of the reasons I became an Atheist was that I didn't feel that I could support, or wanted to be supported by, any religion that tries to scare and bully me into being a "good person" ... I realized I could be just as "Christian" in my life (as far as how I live with my fellow human beings) without someone telling me all the things I'm doing "wrong" ... like having pre-marital sex (which isn't hurting anyone). I'm not knocking your faith, but I AM saying that perhaps you may want to look at how you allow it to affect your self-worth. I'm pretty sure that if there IS a God, SHE is not condemning you for not saving yourself for 33 years + for marriage ;)


I do wonder if I will be able to find a Christian man that will be able to look past that.


Isn't Christianity about forgiveness and understanding that we all make mistakes? A "Good Christian" won't condemn you for your ...er... "transgression" ... besides... really, saving yourself for marriage may have worked in the time of the Bible (just like many of the other ways they dealt with things back then) but I don't remember seeing "Thou Shalt' Save Theyself For Marriage" in the 10 Commandments" Remember they got married a LOT younger back then and thus maybe it made sense to make sure that the young girls didn't get sexually involved too early, and it was much more important then to also have "pure" blood within the family because of inheritance issues and the culture of the time. See, this is the thing, we live in a different world ... we don't get married until at least our 20's-30's now (where back then you were a Spinster if you were over 20 an unmarried back then) ...


Besides, there are PLENTY of good Christian men who have Herpes themselves, promise ;)


Just a thought ... I'd be tempted to go back to the other 2 Dr's and let them know your diagnosis so that they think to test for H when someone presents with nothing but Prodromal symptoms ... it's sort of a way to pass it forward to someone else so that they don't have to go through multiple mis-diagnosis in the future.


How to cut out sugar? It's an addictive food substance that is in front of us all the time. The best thing is to not have it in the house... if I have cookies in the house, or chips, they are gone in a heartbeat. So I just force myself to walk past them when I shop ... or I buy one *small* bag a couple times a month as a treat ..... but that's it. Replace it with things like fruit and healthier snacks if you need to nibble.




@Ihaveittoo ...


That is one of my favorite quotes ... it explains men perfectly ;)



Link to comment

First, I'm sorry you have to deal with H. Most of us here would agree that learning we are H positive truly is one of the most emotional things we've ever had to face. Personally I'm just shy of 3 months into it and I really struggled in the beginning. Depression, thoughts of suicide, fear, insecurity....ah the list is long. I struggled so much that the bf who gave it to me broke up with me, damn that hurt. He didn't have the patience and empathy that I needed (but that's his issue and another story).


Back to me...the challenge for me is I've always been a fighter. My family/friends would describe me as strong, independent, fearless. I fought to get out of a bad marriage to save my kids from years of emotional abuse. I fought financial issues (hmm, that seems to be ongoing lol). When my 18yr old daughter was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I fought that too. These were always battles, I didn't accept the status quo, those were times when I needed to be strong and fight. And I'm really good at it. In the early stages of my diagnosis you can probably find a post of me saying 'I'm fighting to survive'. The problem with that (for me anyway, everyone is different) is this isn't a battle to be 'won'. There is no "yes, I survived that divorce" or "yes, she's 3 yrs in remission and healthy" (all good things btw). I can't go to my friends and say yep, I survived herpes, see how strong I am? I'm a badass fighter.


I had to learn acceptance. And guess what, in that sentence there is no word fight. So now all of a sudden the skill I had (and perfected), that got me through tough times, wasn't the skill that was going to help me now. I had (and am still working on it) to learn to accept. This is my life. I can't wake up every morning and think, ok, what's my plan, how will I fight this today. Because it doesn't work with herpes. It can't be my primary focus, my battle, because there isn't a round to be won. What there is, is a new life to accept. And I can either choose to accept, or continue spending time and energy on trying to fight. And let me tell you, that is freaking exhausting.


So when you asked....How am I supposed to repair? For me I guess there isn't a repair, there is an accept. And when you get there, it feels good, light and almost joyful, because you don't have to fight or repair, there is no fixing you. You are beautiful. Accept it :)

Link to comment

Agreed ...@diversgirl ... that is sooo inspirational.


Yet again we see Herpes as a teacher ... it brought you the "Opportunity" to learn how to stop fighting and start LIVING ... and maybe that's exactly what you needed in your life.


So glad you are finding peace and acceptance my friend. It's pretty freeing when you get there, isn't it???



Link to comment

Thank you @diversgirl, @WCSDancer2010, @ihaveittoo, @whitedaises @angelina. Your posts really helped me out. I have my moments of positive and then those moments when my negative sinks me into a hole. I know I need to be kinder to myself like you suggested and to know that It gets better. And not to shame myself and learn how to accept this.

Link to comment

Glad to hear it helped. This forum is full of wonderful people who struggled and/or are still struggling and some have come out the other side and are richer for it.


Oddly enough, now that I have been exposed to people on this site be aide getting herpes requires so much emotional growth, I find people on here are so much more compassionate and have great emotional depth.


Use this site. It will really help

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...