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Lost with herpes


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Everyone is asking me for answers and I don't have anything to say. 

I found out I had herpes two weeks before I started what was suppose to be my last year in college. I've spent the last four and a half months trying to keep going, but as the semester has just ended, clearly I failed at that, too. I've never finished a semester below a 3.2, never failed a course, and was the one who urged everyone to use condoms. I volunteered twice a week in the testing and awareness center. Yet, all my friends are still fucking raw on first dates and I'm the one at home burning all alone and crying myself to sleep every night. 

I made below a 1.5 this semester and dropped over 20 lbs without even noticing. I can't get my grip on this. It's all I can think about. All day every day. I'm currently going through my third outbreak and I thought I was doing better until this. The flashbacks to everything are so clear. I'm so angry at myself. I used a condom but everyone knows herpes doesn't care how safe you are, as long as there's the skin on skin contact that I was craving. 

I try so hard be positive but as the semester comes to a close its clear I won't be graduating this year and I have a lot of explaining to do because this is so unlike me. How do I say I failed easy classes that I like because I simply couldn't get out of bed? And when I did find my way to classes, I was completely zoned out? The weight loss is what I really hate. I hate all of this. He showed me all his paperwork and told me he was clean. The fact that I have permanently altered my physical and chemical make-up is so mind blowing to me. I feel like a slut, having sex with people I didn't know. Everything else has gotten lost in this spin. I feel like me as a woman is worthless now. A man is suppose to want to touch me and enjoy it, not get up itching with blisters for weeks after. I don't want to go home for the holidays. The questions that have been coming all semester will only intensify. 

To make matters worse, feelings between me and a friend grew. After months of great conversations and long nights just talking, he told me he wanted to hold me all night. Eventually I let him. It felt so good to just be held, no kissing just breathing and sleeping together. We've since both kind of backed off, but I'm not upset because I'm terrified of him leaving me because of this anyway. I feel like it would throw me even deeper if that's possible. Just the possibility of it has stressed me out so much, the thought of having the talk ... I refuse. I hate wanting or needing anybody or anything, and at the same time I know that's not human. I'm so lost.
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I am really new to this as well, so I'm not sure if my advice will help at all. But my ex who gave me herpes left me the week before midterms, and it was a struggle to finish out the semester, but I did manage. You shouldn't be so hard on yourself in my opinion. This is a really tough time, but it will get better. Listening to these podcasts really helped me a lot! Just showing me that herpes doesn't define a person, YOU define who you are, or who you want to be. Yes some people may run when you tell them about herpes, but the ones who don't run, they will be worth keeping! You just have to be strong, and know that with time it will get better. You just need to keep going on with life, don't let this silly skin condition keep you down. You are obviously smart, with doing well in college prior to this all happening. So you have the power to make a good life for yourself, you just have to realize it. And if you need someone to talk to, I am always open for talking, this forum has helped me a lot in this past month. So don't think that you are alone.

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zmbgl88 - First off, my heart goes out to you. I want to hug you and hold you. You deserve to feel what you feel. If it helps at all, all of the thoughts and feelings you are currently going through, I went through in my own way. Being pissed off at the world, thinking it's just not fair that I got herpes when everyone else seems to be having all sorts of flagrant unprotected sex; I felt totally alone and cried myself to sleep at night — at least when I actually allowed myself to FEEL anything at all (denial kept me from feeling everything, a general feeling of numbness and emptiness was my default for a while). And as I look back on that now, that was part of MY personal process of healing. As weird as it sounds, it's healthy to feel angry, sad — actually FEEL it. Grieve what you need to grieve. Feel what you need to feel. Lean on who you need to lean on. And realize that you will feel happiness again. Be fair to yourself. Love yourself amidst all those voices of shaming and self-defeat. Know that those voices aren't the truth, they're just your unfair judgments of yourself. You are worth it. You are beautiful. 

And as far as your logistical situation about school goes, I would suggest you talk with a school counselor (or a nurse at your health department) about what happened. Your school may give you an academic break. Assume that people will understand you and will help you. Be open to people caring. No one can help unless they are given the chance. Reach out. Just like you did here on this forum. Take care of yourself, okay? And let us know how we can help support you during this time. Much love. :)

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • This content 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. 

Helpful resources:

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ArtIsTheSearch - Wow, where did you come from, bro? So appreciative to have you be a contributor here. You are so right on. All your points are well put. You clearly have such a big heart, ready to give it. The fact that you are going through the same thing AND want to help others at the same time shows the kind of person you are. I love it. Thank you for being here and sharing yourself like you do.

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • This content 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. 

Helpful resources:

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  • 1 month later...

ZMB, seriously I feel so terrible that you have had to solider through this. Try to remember everyone walks wounded in one way or another — ours is just medical. People have something to say about our virus because of where it is located on the body, not the severity. Medical practitioners do not even consider it a serious condition, which is part of what can be confusing to us as patients. Now remember this will not break you, okay? It will not. We are social creatures, wanting to have a partner in this life is NORMAL. Everyone wants that. Although it can feel as though you have to redefine yourself ... that is not the case. HERPES DOES NOT DEFINE YOU!  

 

I hate saying "I have herpes." Like somehow I'm just existing ... no, we are all LIVING with herpes. Take the power away from this virus, girl. Having herpes is NOT a moral failure; you're not dirty or tainted. We are all here to honor our situation regardless of the pain. I'm here to talk any time, because I know what it can feel like to be alone. Do your homework, check out my post of natural remedies and please please please don't give up. And when you feel like you're going to ... remember how many people are in the same position, going through this, living with this every day. 

Finally (and I cannot stress this enough), THE RIGHT PERSON WILL NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR VIRUS! They will understand, read up on it, make smart choices, and love you no matter what. I'm living proof — I've dated men with herpes, and men without herpes. At the end of the day, it does not matter. 

 

Trust your heart.

Elle
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