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I Have Herpes... And I Still Love Myself

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I'm a 23 year old female and I found out I have herpes about 2 weeks ago. I'm currently going through one of the hardest times of my life, completely unrelated to herpes, because of a huge drunk mistake I made 2 months ago that was extremely public and I'm going to have to deal with the legal ramifications of that, as well as not knowing if I'll still have my job once the dust settles. So I've been dealing with the emotional toll THAT event has been taking on me, and now I'm having to deal with the fact that I have herpes. Even typing this out is difficult.


I haven't had sex with very many guys, but the last partner I had didn't tell me that he had genital herpes until after we had been having protected sex. I was initially incredibly angry with him, but I tried to understand his position and how difficult the "conversation" must've been, and I forgave him. We had protected sex a few more times before it ended due to circumstances completely unrelated to herpes. I had no signs or symptoms up until about 3 months ago, when the itching started. My doctor chalked it up to a bad case of BV because I hadn't experienced lesions and he hadn't seen any. He prescribed me an antibiotic and the itching went away briefly. Then the tingling started, and a few days after the tingling a painful red sore the size of a dime popped up and went away after a few days. I've been experiencing itching and tingling since then but no lesions. I requested an STD panel, and when I went back to get the results 2 weeks ago, I came back positive for HSV1 at 17.80 and positive for HSV2 at 0.17 (which I'm aware is a low positive.)


I'm not sure if all of the other things going on in my life are making this herpes issue seem small, but I'm actually doing okay with coming to terms with this new condition. I have moments where I internally freak out at the thought of having to tell my next sexual partner about this, and I'm terrified they'll think I'm "dirty" or "damaged goods." I'm trying to focus on embracing my feelings while still acknowledging the truth. I feel dirty, but I know this happened from doing something natural that EVERYONE does. I feel unattractive, but only when it's 2AM and I'm staring at the ceiling overthinking things. I feel lost, but nothing has really changed except for this really annoying skin condition.


The thing is... I have herpes and I still freaking love myself. Sometimes I let it get to me, but for the most part I'm just trying to focus on the things I love about me. And I know when I meet the man I'm meant to marry, he won't love me "even though I have herpes." He'll just love me for me. Hell, maybe he's up late on some forum trying to soothe his soul just like me. Who knows?


I would love to get in touch with some folks who are willing to chat on the days where self love is a little harder than usual.


Also... does anyone have any experience taking BHT as a treatment option?


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BHT the food preservative?

I've never heard of it as a treatment for anything, but you can get it cheap in junk food like cookies and chips, haha!


Anyway, welcome to the community.

Damn right, love yourself!

I'm really gald to hear your perspective is one of resillience and strength.

You are right that there are many things that are a bigger deal than herpes, and that list will grow longer as time goes on and herpes becomes less of a psychological burden.

As far as the other, bigger situation,

Good luck. I guess the best you can do is what you're already doing. Accept the circumstances, be determined to endure and not let it make you feel like it's hopeless.


Keep looking forward toward a positive future.

At times, we all need to think about the negative stuff. But don't dwell on it longer than you have to in order to stay sane. Try to steer your thoughts toward how great the future will be, and how it will be soon.

And definitely reach out if you need an ear to bend.


For treatment, I'd recommend getting a prescription for valacyclovir (or equivalent) for supression medication. It's proven to help prevent outbrek, transmission, and reduce severity and length of outbreak. Damn near a wonder drug for me.


I stuggled with not being able to sleep and controlling my thoughts (always have, before herpes. Still do, sometimes related to herpes, sometimes not).

Try to get up out of bed if you know you aren't going to fall asleep any time soon. Do something that keeps your brain at a low idle and your heart rate low. For me, that's dishes or a walk around the block, or a small snack. Focus on driving your thoughts toward things you want to do the next day, or on the future. Positive stuff. Avoid anything with a screen like TV or your phone, because it makes you stay up longer and lose track of time. Avoid the urge to plot and plan how you will handle things, that task is reserved for buisness hours only. Nobody ever made good decisions or had a great idea when suffering bouts of sleepless insecurity. Get up, engage chill mode, think about buying a puppy, but don't actually do anything or accomplish anything. Just get yourself re-ready to sleep.

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