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New member.. Coming to terms with H...

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It's taken me awhile to do this because I've been kinda of brushing H under the rug and ignoring it. I'm posting because I've felt alone and don't really know who to talk to or if anyone can relate.


Back in October, my body was going through some hormonal changes.. I had just gotten off the shot, had my first period and somehow also managed to get a really bad yeast infection at the same time (sorry if thats TMI). So I went to the doctor to get antibiotics for this "yeast infection"... and without asking me, she sent in a sample of a sore I had for herpes testing. A little bit more than a week later I got the call that I was positive for herpes. I screamed and hung up the phone.. I didn't have the heart to ask which type or what to do. I felt sick immediately and went home and cried for hours.


I have been with my current boyfriend since March... and have had a few other partners before him and I've never shown symptoms or had sores until October. It broke my heart. I was confused and angry and I didn't know who to blame or how to feel. Since then I've had 1 or 2 outbreaks every month and I just recently started on Valacyclovir. Not knowing if I got herpes before my current boyfriend hurts a lot because I feel horrible at the thought that I might have given it to him without even knowing. He's been very supportive through it all and we have both agreed to not blame each other because that will just harvest negative feelings towards each other.


One thing H has changed about my life is the way I go throughout my days. Even though I take valacyclovir on a daily basis, I still get outbreaks from a few notable things. If I have an emotional episode (crying my eyes out, fighting with someone) then I will most likely get an outbreak within the next few days. If I'm overly stressed, I'll get an outbreak. After or around my menstrual cycle I expect an outbreak. Even though I expect it, I still get sad when I see it because I just remember the feeling I had when I got the phone call that I was positive.


Overall, the outbreaks aren't what's hurt the most. It's the challenges I feel mentally towards everything. I have only told a handful of people... Not even my family. I know they would be ashamed of me because of the stigma behind H. And I know even if I educated them on it, they still wouldn't accept me. I'm so scared of people knowing and finding out because I feel like they will view me differently. The people I have told about it have either educated themselves or taken the time to let me educate them, and they realize that it isn't what the media paints it out to be. They still love me for me and they always check up on me to make sure I am handling life okay.


I still struggle with accepting H. When I think about it or see my outbreaks I get so sad or in a horrible mood. I feel sick at the thought of hanging out with someone who knows I have H (even my friends) because I think when they look at me thats all they will be thinking about. I hate the thought that I have a permanent STD. I hate the stigma behind it because I KNOW people would treat me different if they knew. I hate when people make insensitive jokes or comments (without knowing I have it) and I just have to brush it off. Rationally, I know it isn't the end of the world. When I read the facts about how common it is I still didn't feel any less alone. How can I come to terms with this?


It's been quite a few months since October and even though it hurts less it still hurts and I am tired of being so ashamed and disgusted of myself. Any tips or advice would be really appreciated.

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I’m sorry you’re hurting, @sadgirl111, I’ve been there. For seven months following my own diagnosis, I was borderline suicidal and didn’t feel worthy to talk to strangers. A couple of thoughts that crossed my mind as I read through your post.....


It’s not uncommon to have more frequent outbreaks when you’re new to herpes. Your body is till trying to get a handle on it. You may find that outbreaks are much less frequent a year from now, so hang in there. You could also try a different antiviral. My outbreaks are very mild, but even so, Valtrex basically did nothing for me, but acyclovir has been fabulous. Might be something to consider. No doubt it must be really hard to get a break from thinking about herpes if you’re consistently dealing with symptoms.


It sounds like stress is a trigger for you. Not much you can do about your hormones and menstrual cycle, but this might be an opportunity to try some new things to manage stress. Maybe that looks like more sleep, more healthy foods, exercise, journaling, time with your friends, meditation. I had just started exercising regularly about 4 months before my diagnosis, and thank god for it, because it realy kept me sane. Even in the last couple of months, after my dog passed away and now I’m having to sell the house I’ve lived in longer than any other, I’m buying a condo, I’ve been sick, I’m doing the job of three people at work......that stress and the grief have caused me to really slack on my exercise routine. As a result, I’ve been feeling really down and not myself. I forced myself to yoga this morning and when I got home, I realized I was actually feeling pretty happy. It finally dawned on me that the lack of exercise is really contributing to my sadness and anxiety right now. So whether it’s exercise or something else, find what works for you.


Finally, and I know this is getting a little woo-woo...I definitely believe in a mind-body connection. If sweeping things under the rug is a common coping mechanism for you, you might feel better spending some time with a counselor. Not only are they wonderful listeners....way better than even my closest friends.....but you might find new ways of dealing with stress. Seeing a therapist has such a negative stigma in our society and I think that’s so unwarranted. Adrial has said that getting herpes has a way of bringing all of your shit (baggage) to the surface. It feels terrible, but it does present us with an opportunity to deal with some things we may not have dealt with yet or even known how to deal with.


I’ll be sending some good vibes your way that you can get some relief! {{hugs}}

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@HikingGirl thank you so much for this thoughtful response. it means the world to me that you care enough to type all of that out. Since i've only started having OBs since October, i will keep hope alive that the frequency goes down over time. I decided that in two or so months if i'm not seeing any improvement I will switch medications (like you recommended, thank you). you're definitely right about needing to do more to relieve my stress and i will keep that in mind too. exercising usually helps me a lot too and i stopped working out recently because of my new job so i should try to get back into it. and i agree with your mind-body connection idea. i used to see a therapist for other issues I had and it can definitely help. right now i just need to teach myself acceptance (of having herpes) and learn to not let it overrule my life. i just need to remember that it doesn't define who i am. and finally, i'm sorry to hear that you have so much on your plate right now, but i want you to know that you're not alone either. you can overcome any struggle you face. thank you for being so insightful and caring.

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