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Negative with no hope

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I was recently diagnosed and I am still raw with emotions, so this is going to be negative. I am a 42 year old female with genital HSV-1. I live in Colorado. I am a perfectionist, or at least I was. Now I am...just damaged.



I have never been that "positive" person. I have a habit of picking THAT guy. My dad is a bipolar and was verbally abusive growing up. My ex husband was a cheater and left me 4 years ago, for a friend of mine. The last thing he said to me when he left, was call me if you need to have sex..."I don't want you sleeping around and getting an STD". Yes...he is a real winner. I am better off without him and I knew that when he left and know it now. Never in a million years did I think I would get an STD. I've never slept around and have always been the "boring" girl and basically a prude.


Everything changed in early April. I was in a serious relationship and he seemed like "the one". We had the STD talk. He was STD free and so was I. To be honest, I think I was going down that same path. When I look back, he was the wrong guy and I know I am better off. It is hard to stay positive when you feel like you will be alone FOREVER. I started having pain after we were together. I brushed it off like it was nothing. A few days later, I had blisters. Of course it was Saturday night and I had no options for care. I knew what it was. I work in the medical field and I am a provider. I got into my OBGYN first thing Monday morning. He said, you knew what this was before you came in but we will swab it anyway to confirm the diagnosis. He was compassionate. "Do you know how many times I have this conversation everyday"? He told me I wasn't alone. Days went by and I was so miserable. My worst fear came true later that week. I was positive for HSV-1 and negative for HSV-2. My outbreak lasted almost 3 weeks. I had to put my happy face on and get out of bed everyday. Why me? What have I done to deserve this? I was put on this earth to help people and this is what I get in return? I get to look forward to being alone and isolated.


I haven't had another outbreak, thankfully and I know that I may never have another one or they could be few and far in between. It's not the outbreaks, its the diagnosis that makes life seem unbearable. I don't think I can ever date again. I don't want to be responsible for giving this to someone else. Yes, I may find someone that can look past it, but there are no guarantees that we would work out and I would be responsible for spreading this. Trying to date and find someone was hard enough before, now I have this. I feel like a liar. If I went back to online dating, I'm "selling" myself as a certain person and then they find out who I really am. I can't do positive singles...I work in the medical field and I don't want people to know that I am positive. I am 42 years old and I have zero hope that life will get better. All the abuse in my life has caused me to have low self esteem and depression. Now I have this and somedays I just don't feel like I can go on. I know that's stupid. My symptoms are mild and yes I realize this is a skin disease, but i am not capable of seeing the positives. I read all of the stories and I still am not capable of seeing the positives and how I will be "that girl, with that story". I only see the negative right now and I just don't know if I have the strength to "be happy". I do have a counselor and one friend that knows. My family doesn't know and I don't have any other support.


I am sorry this was so negative. I really hope to be that person that supports everyone else someday. I am not suicidal, I have just lost all hope. I am an extrovert who is stuck in an introverts life now. I need to be with people. I have isolated myself from the world (except for work). I have trouble even getting out of bed. I don't feel like I can date or will be able to find someone that will want me. It is impossible to meet people, everything is online. I don't feel that online is an option for me anymore.

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I feel the same way..... I've had oral cold sores since I was a kid. I have tons of resentment against my mother for giving them to me. I was with the same girl since I was 16 to last year when she was unfaithful. She also had hsv1 so it was a non issue. Now that I'm back in the dating life it sucks. I have a girlfriend who I disclosed I get cold sores to and she says it's no issue and if she gets it she gets it but all I can think is how much she will hate me if we dont work out. I am terrified to perform oral sex for fear of ruining her life. If we break up I dont know how I'll go about dating. I may just stay single but I really enjoy companionship and having someone to come home and share my life with especially someone I love. I feel like I'll go crazy if I have to spend my life alone.


I also have noone at all to talk to about this. I've discussed with the gf a couple times my fears and the possibility of her getting it but she is unphased and says she probabaly has it to but shes never had any symptoms she can recall. I also dont feel comfortable letting her know just how much it effects me. I tried talking to my mom but she just thinks this is no big deal and that I'm making something out of nothing. Cant talk to any friends about this because then I'll be the joke that has herpes. Luckily as I've gotten older my symptoms arent enough to be visible but I can feel them.


Theres alot of us out there supposedly but I never see them and it feels like were the only ones that have it. Wish I could help you out but theres alot of us in the same boat. I do know that genital hsv1 is supposed to be better than oral hsv1. Less shedding, less outbreaks, and it isnt something everyone can see on your face. But I know that isnt what you wanna hear.

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I appreciate your response. It’s nice to know I’m not the only person with these negative thoughts. One moment I’m better and thinking “screw this”, followed by immediate tears and the feeling I’m isolated from the world. How can 1 in 4 people have it? I don’t know one person. I know people don’t advertise it, but really??!!


I sympathize with you and what you went through with your previous girlfriend. That’s tough. Infidelity is a hard thing to go through. I also understand your apprehensions and concerns regarding virus transmission and dating. Maybe try talking to her again and explaining your concerns, just like you wrote them?? Maybe just revisiting the subject would be good for you. I wish I had a better answer and advice, but I don’t have experience dating and having HSV. I can tell you that my partner had no visible cold sores when we were intimate. My HSV-1 was from asymptotic shedding. I don’t hold him responsible. He didn’t know (at least that’s what he has told me and I believe him). We just didn’t work out, partly because I haven’t been able to deal with the diagnosis and his lack of support through the process.

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I think the same thing all the time...... if you go hsv1 in general the advertised statistics are 50% of people from age 14-49, so that's 1 in 2...... I have worked with 60+ guys for 12 years and only seen 1 other person have a visible cold sore. I did catch 2 putting some abreva on but they never had a visible cold sore so I guess they are like me and can feel them and apply the cream before anyone else can see them. Including me that's 4 out of 60 people.......... most of the guys I work with are man whores to. It's literally a joke how few women I've slept with in my life. And alot of the guys I see go to bars and cheat on their wives or are single and with a different girl every weekend and I wonder how i got stuck with this disease from my mom being an idoit and thinking it was alright to kiss me with a cold sore..... I wonder how accurate asymptomatic shedding is because I can feel one when noone can see it and the skin looks fine. I can still feel the tingle or nerve pain even if it never develops. Maybe I'm also just hypersensitive to it for having it so long.


I really wonder how accurate the statistics are and if they just make them sound good so us that have it can try and sleep at night. They say 1 in 2 have hsv1 and 1 in 5 have genital herpes but it seems like they always follow it up with and 85% of people dont even know they have it. So are they just pulling these numbers out of thin air?! I know noone wants to go around advertising they have it but dang where are all these people....... I read so much on here where people find love and other people that dont care about them having hsv but I just feel like with the statistics being supposedly so high how could we have trouble finding someone that already has it? If you have ghsv1 finding someone with oral hsv1 shouldn't be an issue since you shouldn't be able to transfer it to each other. But I know the depression and shame asking the question is there.... I never tell anyone its herpes I just say cold sores because for some reason people dont seem to equate the 2....


My main concern is if she was to get it from me would it totally destroy our relationship. I know I disclosed and I literally told her you know being with me you could get herpes and ruin your life but she is still here for now. Last time I freaked about it she said next time i get a cold sore I'm gonna lick it. But I know things change when you actually get it and i would be as supportive as possible and do everything I could for her to help her through it but I know she would be depressed and I would be filled with guilt if it ever happened.


I guess that's what this forum is here for is us to find other people to talk to about all this.

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I’ve never met anyone with herpes. How awesome is that...I’m the first!? The statistics floating around do make you wonder. I work with a bunch of uptight medical professionals, so I really doubt anyone would admit having it. The thought of dating seems impossible. I feel dirty and undesirable. My hairdresser today told me she wished she had my body and I was so lucky to be me...little does she know. She DOES NOT want to be me.


I hope you figure out the girlfriend thing. She seems really supportive, which seems awesome to me!

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Yea the guys that I have seen with it are all oral herpes and I had to catch them putting stuff on it. Genital is alot easier to hide. Never in my life have I ever seen anyone admit they had it. I did get std tested after my divorce and I did tell people I'd had a cold sore before so I tested positive for that kind of herpes but everyone is like oh yea well it's a form of herpes. I left it alone but in my head I'm like nope its herpes.... there isnt any real difference..... I was surprised how noone really said anything about it.


I do know some people in the medical field and from what they say it's an extremely promiscuous job field. Lots of doctors and nurses hooking up. You would think there would have to be some STDs getting passed around but I'm sure noone wants to admit it.


I have the same shame and undsrairable feeling. The worst part is there is people that do desire me but I just feel like I'm a walking infection on the planet and that I should be celibate or something...... when i got my divorce lots of people tried to set me up with daughters or sisters or in laws and I couldn't date any of them because how do I tell them hey if you've never had a cold sore theres a good chance you could get one if you stick with me. Based on my one experience it's a little easier with a stranger. I've been very blessed in my life and I have a nice house and nice things but I feel the same disappointment with having hsv..... what's it matter if I have this stuff if I can never feel clean with someone or why do I even workout if I still will have mouth herpes....


One thing I read about disclosing with genital is just say it's a cold sore but down there and it's less contagious than having cold sores on your mouth. I know people seem to respond alot different to calling them cold sores vs herpes. Also you could ask if they've ever had a cold sore before. They say it's extremely rare to get the same form in more than one place. So you for instance would have a hard time catching it orally. But that's alot easier said than done I know, when I told her I was all terrified but some people say it's no big deal. We had talked for a couple months before we kissed so it seemed a little easier for her to stick around when she liked me alot already. I actually did it when she made a herpes joke and I was like well I think most people have herpes so...... and when she asked if I did I said I've got a cold sore before so yea..... another good thing for you is you can kiss people without worrying about transmitting it if you wanted so you could let your relationships go a little further before you tell anyone so you can have a better chance at them liking you for you beforehand.

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I don’t know about the dating thing. I really couldn’t find “the right guy” before this, now it really seems impossible! I’m not terrible looking (I don’t think). I guess guys aren’t attracted to me. I really doubt that “attraction” will improve with this diagnosis. Everyone seems younger than me or much older. There is no happy medium.


The oral versus genital thing...I read if you have one you can’t get the other, if it’s the same type. Both still suck. You can’t hide yours if you get an outbreak, I can.


...but I have to use condoms for the rest of my life (every guys dream. Add that to my desirability). IDK, they both suck. Herpes sucks!

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Well I obviously haven't been great at picking partners either so what do I know. I'll be 30 this month, I've got no kids, I've been divorced already and I'll have had mouth herpes for over 20 years...... seems like a winning combination. The good thing I've got going is whenever my mom says anything about grandkids I get to say well maybe you should have been a responsible parent and not gave your child herpes because now nobody wants to make babies with this. Lol


Yea condoms arent alot of guys favorite things but alot of guys dont mind em. And genital hsv1 shouldn't be an issue to someone who really wants to be with you since its generally 1 outbreak or just 1 or 2 a year and it's pretty mild I've read for men. If a man does any real research on it most people say it really isnt bad just the stigma. I feel like maybe in downplaying it though because I have it and I'd want someone to look at the best case scenario if it was for me. I cant say I would tell a girl I'm in if she said she had hsv2..... I cant ever kiss or have oral sex without the risk of giving a girl herpes...... I dont know any girl who wants to spend the rest of her life without either of those. I read up on dental dams and the overall consensus from women was I'd rather get herpes than have a man use that on me again...... didnt give me much hope there....

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I don't have much to contribute here that hasn't already been said.

But, from a guy's perspective on dating:

We tend to seek someone who has bragging rights in career, Independence, confidence, physical prowess, good sense of humor (the dude kind, yeah, there's a difference), and ability to hold a conversation about a variety of topics. A solid demonstration of one of those qualities offsets a lack of another to some degree, but that's the formula a lot of guys are looking at.

Looks are a factor, but only for about the first 20 or so seconds that it takes a guy to decide if a woman is approachable. Once you lock down a date, you can rest assured your chances of physical attraction are about 90%, barring any shocking personality trait.

Carrying this oppressive burden of a lack of self admiration and feelings of inadequacy would be that shocking personality trait that leads to a failed date.

Not that I mean to criticize you at all. I am certain you have heaps of desireable qualities. You just need to see then in yourself and learn to show yourself love and respect again. I struggled with this after my diagnosis. I also struggled with being a mediocre date before I contracted HSV. I had to work on how I conducted myself to protray confidence, not arrogance. I had to learn to show that I respected the other person better, rather than just trust that my genuine reapect internally would be read through my poor body language.

This was all despite my physical fitness, career success, positive attitude, accepting nature, and sense of humor. No body cared to get deep enough to see thise traits because my body language and first impression were pretty horrendous.

The same might not be the case for you. You might have zero of the obstacles I had. But you have some, otherwise, you'd be killing it in the dating world, with your clear awareness of your own thought process and your intelligence to be able to communicate it!

Maybe a step back from dating, to get closer to loving yourself is necessary. Maybe some dating tips will help, but if you don't have affection for yourself, other people will pick up on it and wonder why.

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I will be 43 this month. Happy birthday to us!


In general, HSV-1 has less asymptotic shedding, but again...that’s how I got this crap, so either that’s a lie or my karma SUCKS! I’m sticking with the theory that karma is just out to get me. You seem to know when you have outbreaks, so you have that going for you. I have only had my primary outbreak and I pray I never have anything like that again. It wasn’t like what you read online, it was worse. I have been in the sun, been unhealthy, stressed, and I sleep less than 4 hours a night. If my body can survive this lifestyle, I don’t think I will have another outbreak.


You have a faithful girlfriend. Enjoy being with her. It sounds like she really likes you. She is looking past the herspes, so keep that in mind when you are beating yourself up. I wish I had the opportunity to be someone.

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RegularGuy thank you for the advice. I do have low self esteem, so you are correct there. I’m not sure that will improve after contracting HSV. I wish I had self confidence, but at my age and with this now, I’m not sure that will ever improve. I know, I’m the same person I was...but that wasn’t all that great before. So I’m back to low self confidence that has been amplified by having HSV now. How does someone improve and gain self confidence at my age and with all of this? I don’t exactly live in a booming singles town either. As for dating...NO WAY can I get back on that horse! There’s a definite break and probably permanent break from dating given my lack of self confidence and new diagnosis. I think self confidence is one of those genetic traits but also a learned trait when you are young. I had neither.

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It's not uncommon at all to feel like you might not have much to offer someone else.

I questioned my own worthiness, despite all of my hard work to be desireable.

I didn't realize it until a few years ago, but I spent almost my entire 20's feeling like my effort, time, and affection were not worth very much to anyone. Then, I decided to start getting serious about viewing myself as a very worthy and valuable person, despite what management at my job, or women on dates would lead me to believe. I made a career change at 26 - 27 and started seeing that my treatment at work improved significantly, that helped me to see my worth (as a man often defines himself very heavily through his career). I began to see that my time was very valuable, a few minutes of my care and attention could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in a customer's decisions to make purchases or ask for repairs. I started to look at my personal time that way, too.

I wish I had learned that sooner. I wish I knew I was a really great guy, with intelligence and charisma, and good morals. If I had known that when I was 20, I would have had a much better experience dating, at work, and all around.

You'll find the same about yourself. You finally start doing what you should have done years ago, and find your true measure of worth is much higher than you ever thought.

Having been diagnosed with HSV isn't going to stop that realization from happening. At worst, it will delay it. But, no matter what, you will wish you had seen yourself as valuable and worthy much sooner.

Start right away.

List the things you like about yourself. Write them down, say them out loud.

Remember to tell yourself all about that list every day. I have been doing this for a while now. Whenever I'm feeling down, I spend several days or weeks or years every day. I look in the mirror and I recite something good about myself. It seems silly, but it's worked for me.

Being hard on yourself can sometines be a good kick in the pants to make the changes you need to be the person you deserve to be. But being hard on yourself for no good reason is only going to slow you down from being who you deserve to be.


Cultivate your own affection. You have accepted some hard truths about yourself, but don't get stuck on that stage of growth. Too many people do, and it's a damn shame. The world could be packed full of decent, kind people, if we could all learn to be the way we deserve to be, feel the way we deserve to.


There are things you can do to try to find your admiration for yourself. As an example:

After my diagnosis, I healed physically but was too down to go to the gym again. I did start exercising again, and there were times where it felt futile (both because I had gotten weaker from taking time off, and because I felt imperfect with HSV). But it became productive again quickly. It became my zen, my chi, my gathering of energy, and my sense of self again.

I combined that with reaching out to people close to me for support. I didn't beat around the bush, I told then I was feeling down about myself and needed some help.

I also began transitioning into a new diet, nothing too extreme, just less fast food and more home cooked meals (until just a couple weeks ago, now I'm on a pale-like deal).

I kept trying hard at work to do a good job, and kept doing the things that made me feel fulfilled. Like, writing, singing in the shower, keeping my home clean.

Doing those things not only made me feel like myself, they made me feel like I was still making progress on myself, not repairing damage.


I also made a plan to do something exciting for myself, using a little bit of my savings. I took a trip to see a band I love in concert and it helped me to look forward to doing more exciting things in the future. To know there are all kinds of great things waiting for me to chase them.


Don't vow to take yourself off the market. That would be a terrible to all the guys who are looking for someone who is intelligent and empathetic like you clearly are (and I bet, a lot more, too).

Instead, vow to work toward earning your love and respect. You deserve it, the people you care about deserve it, the guy you're going to fall for deserves it.

Vow to change the things you know you can, that you need to.

Vow to accept the things that are irrefutable, proven fact, not assumptions or perspectives.

HSV might be a fact, but your projection of fear and despair upon your own future is a perspective.

You deserve to feel like you have lots to look forward to. You deserve to know it's true.

Don't let this muddled self-image fool you, it's all temporary and untrue.

Don't let fear decide your actions or your opportunitues, it's an errant instinct that just feels strong temporarily.

Don't preclude yourself from the good things you could, and should, have. That is the worst injustice you can enact on yourself. To take away your own happiness willingly. A damn shame.


Decide the person you want to be.

What does that person do daily? Imoressive things, I'm sure.

How do they view themself? Highly worthy and valuable, I bet.

Why are they so great? Because it's who you deserve to be.

What's the real difference between you and them? Maybe a little focus, will, and effort. Maybe 10 minutes in the gym clothes a few times a week. Maybe a kind gesture or small, helpful offer to a loved one each day. Maybe a stricter sleep schedule. Maybe more time for fulfilling hobbies, and less nerve-racking worry. Maybe a positive self-image and a big boost to confidence each day through incremental progress toward your goals.


I'm not saying you haven't tried any of this, or that you aren't doing it right. I'm just saying, make the plan if you haven't already, and stick to the plan you make. Life is a series of slow, incremental movements toward progress. There is no great final battle, there is no epic finale. There is only one day, one choice at a time. To either do what you know you need to, or to ignore what is right for yourself.

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I really do wish I could be more like you. I have been trying to work on my low self confidence and was considering a job change. I was actually doing great, things were looking up. My boyfriend and I were talking about marriage, I was looking at jobs, I felt attractive. I got a counselor to ensure I would keep progressing and then life happened again and I got a big fat slap in the face. Everything came tumbling down. Herpes came into my life. My self confidence has hit an all time low. My weight has dropped and not in a healthy attractive way. My boyfriend left. He needed time to think...and then nothing.


Every time I work on myself and start to feel attractive, worth the effort, or the least bit positive about myself...karma hits. It's like life is telling me I am NOT worth it, STOP trying. Having herpes is something I just don't know I can get past. If the people I love (family, friends, boyfriends) treat me like they do and then life just refuses to "give me a break", why would I or should I keep trying?


I have just hit that wall, AGAIN, I am not strong enough for this. I want to be, but I don't know that I have the energy. I know everyone has there stories and mine is no worse than anyone else. We are able to handle a certain amount of stress and some people are just better at it than others. I have lost babies (one even on my birthday), I have lost a close friend to suicide, my husband left to be with his girlfriend (who happened to be my friend), I've been hospitalized for some freak virus my kids gave me and took away 8 months of my life, I've had my own father insult me and tell me he will see me in hell, and worst of all I got Herpes, and then the person I thought was my soul mate left. Most of this is within the last 4 years, some before. I realize I am only 3 months into my herpes diagnosis and I am still healing from that. Other than this group, I don't have anyone.


Maybe as I get further in to accepting this isn't going away, maybe I will be able to work on myself. Maybe I am too scared to try to work on myself anymore. Life just beats me up every time I try to feel better about me and stop focusing on helping others. People take advantage of me, but life gets worse when I try to "focus on me" or improve my inner self.



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You're realization that all of your effort to work on yourself and make progress toward goals have been interrupted, or defeated, by life is actually really common.

You're not the first person to question whether what brought all that pain and misery down was the act of trying.

There is a voice within each of us that is full of doubt. It is rooted in fear, shame and often, laziness. It tries to convince us that our goals are not worth the effort, that we are not worth the effort. Either because we are incapable for some reason, or because our goals are unreasonable.

That voice is wrong. It can be powerful and compelling, but it is wrong.


I've fallen victim to it plenty. I think we all have.

At one time, I accepted that I'd never quit smoking cigarettes because I wasn't strong enough, or because I enjoyed it too much, or because I didn't deserve to, or because I just need like one more.

I tried to quit smoking a hundred times and each time I failed within a year or so.

Broke up - start smoking

Lost my job - start smoking

Car accident - start smoking

Life threatening illness and no medical insurance - start smoking

Because my compulsion, but also because of my low sense of self-worth.

"Life kicks me? F*** you, life. Come here, cigarettes. Help me replace my contentment with satisfying self-harm. That'll show life I didn't care in the first place."

Then I'd get hooked again, and my reaction (as dumb as it is) would honestly be, "O cruel fate! Why have you chosen me to sate your morbid form of entertainment?"

While it's true that events may have been out of my control at some point in these scenarios, and my reaction may have been understandable... There was always a point where I was flat-out deciding that I was not worthy of my own effort and affection. I replaced affection with self-pity and effort with excuses and rationalization.


Now, I'm not at all saying that what you're experincing isn't real. It is very much real, and no doubt very difficult. To be put through so many extremes, it's understandable that you would search for answers as to why fate chose you.

Personally, I don't believe in the story of Job. God, fate, the universe doesn't pick people to suffer for good reason. It seems the evidence is that really bad things can happen to really good people. And for no purpose other than they just happened, and now that person has to deal with it.

But, it's all too easy to list the things that hurt, that bent you until you thought you'd break, or that were so unfair and unjust that you never would have imagined a person like you would have to suffer like that.

It's a self-destructive habit, though. Dwelling on the experience more than you absolutely have to. Listing all the things that made it hurt. Reading down the list of reasons it wasn't fair.

Doing that too often only keeps the anger, sadness and pain sharp and fresh. It also stops you from so many other things that are important for your present and your future.


I honestly believe that nobody should ever sit down and list all of the things that made them hurt, or made them mad. Dwelling on the feelings and painful events only forces you to experience it all over again. And I know that, if I wanted to, I could probably remember every terrible detail about some of the things I've endured. Probably in real-time, if I concentrated on it. Because they are ingrained in my memory forever. Clear, painful, and vivid.

But it doesn't help me figure out anything I don't already know by now. It doesn't change anything I've decided I'm going to do from here on. And it definitely doesn't make me feel any better, or make any more sense.

So instead, list the things you have that you can appreciate. Qualities in yourself. The few things, or people, you have that are important to you. The future that you well could have. Those matter so much more than things that happened. They matter more because what you like about yourself, what's important to you, and where you want your life to lead are the best factors to help decide what you should do now. They are actionable, they are guiding, and they give evidence to what your own answers are for the questions like, "What do I do now?" "How will I ever feel whole again?"

Certainly, dwelling on the memories of the pain, sadness, anger and injustice of the past will not provide those answers. Because, if it did, you'd definitely have figured it all out by now. We all would have.


I know not having someone physically there for you makes it so much harder. I'm glad you reached out here, at least. We are all in your corner, cheering you on. Please lean on us as much as you want to, please keep giving yourself another chance, and another. Because you're worth it, whether you know that right now, or whether you will remember it again soon.

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