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Needing to Vent about Herpes.


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I find myself in my early twenties, assured that my luck of not having an STD is running out. I, unlike so many of the stories I read, am not the most virginal or improbable of tales. I slept with many people, often times caught up in the heat of passion. Often times neglecting those familiar warnings of safe sex. Over the past two years I began having the 'Safe Sex Talk' before sleeping with someone. If I wasn't going to use protection I was going to at least ask when the last time they were checked, who else they had slept with, if they knew of any STDs they or their partners could be infected with. I thought this was enough. Not only asking these questions, but getting a pap smear every year - I thought I was at the height of maintaining my body, my sexual practices, and being a responsible adult.

 

A monogamous relationship isn't something I have ever wanted. The idea of being that helpless and vulnerable to a single person never appealed to me. My senior year of college I decided to go to a different country for a semester abroad. During my stay I had an ex write me. He told me a girl I had slept with had slept with him recently. That she had told him he had given her the virus. I was skeptical. I knew this girl and her practices and was extremely doubtful that I could have been the initiator in this situation. I let a month go by, with half-promises of getting myself checked out. While the self-deception was being played out I fell in love with a beautiful boy. He became an all-encompassing part of my life and thoughts. He felt the same way about me. In a way his sweet words of justification pacified my worries and pushed the idea of having the virus from my mind. "I've heard that when people get herpes it's debilitating..." "You would know if you had an outbreak." "It's probably not the case with you..."

 

I have tried to be honest with him about it from the beginning. I told him the first time I got the letter from my ex. I told him again when I got the confirmation that my ex had it. I got the blood work done in the foreign country with the assurance that I would know a week later what the diagnosis was. That week was hell. I went through so many emotions of guilt, denial, embarrassment... But nothing was worse than the idea that I would lose this wonderful person in my life to it or that he would resent me for giving it to him. His words still reverberate in my head, his optimistic thoughts of me not falling prey to it. I wonder if after all he has done to convince me and himself, if the diagnosis will be an even heavier blow. He told me before that this "won't change anything". I'm not sure I believe that. I have not slept with him since I went to get blood work done. We both know why. We both realize this looming question even without speaking it aloud.

 

This morning I sat next to him as he was waking up. He asked me if I loved him, and I responded I did. He said he didn't believe me, that something seemed wrong. I told him that I was concerned. I was getting my results today. There was a staggering silence between us and it took all the strength I had to keep from crying. I told him he wasn't obligated to stay with me if it came back positive.

 

It did.

 

I wrote him minutes after receiving the news. I told him how much I loved him. How I know the decision to be with me is his to make and how I couldn't imagine keeping the truth from him.

 

At this point I don't care that I have herpes. I care about how I affected other people. It is so easy to fall into the trap of blaming the person who gave it to you. It's so easy to point that finger. It's also easy for me to see it pointing right back at me. I don't blame my ex for hating me (as I likely gave it to him in the first place). I don't blame my current lover for rejecting me (STDs aren't something you can just expect people to accept). On some level I feel I deserve to have herpes. That I'm immoral, irresponsible, stupid and that this outcome was inevitable and reflective of my reprehensible nature. I just hope I can find the strength to keep myself from wallowing in this pit of despair and self-pity.

 

I think the first step is just to say it: I have herpes. I tested positive for HSV II.

 

I know that 1 out of 5 sexually active women have it.

I know that 80% of those who have it are unaware of it.

I know that I am now in that unhappy percentage of people who have and are aware of it.

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It's early days for you, 64th. It does help to own it; and to forgive yourself for whatever you are judging yourself for from your past. I have found it invaluable to have ways of releasing emotion, highly recommend you (and everyone else here) check out EFT, loads of free stuff on youtube; or www.emofree.com; or The Emotion Code. Easy to learn stuff and very effective for clearing the emotion we go through on our journey. It's helped me enormously.

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Thank you both. And thank you for the site recommendations. I've had a lot of anger to deal with. Normally I'm pretty good at keeping my emotions in check, but this has thrown me off my guard.

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64th ... thank you for venting here! Hearing you on these boards actually has me feeling relieved. Through all the pain, I can hear the self-care in your writing. I want to hug you. I want to tell you it will be better. And I understand how it is right now for you. In this moment. It feels like being disempowered, angry ... and I convinced myself of the same thing: I totally deserve herpes. I judged the shit out of myself. I'm dirty, irresponsible, stupid. Check. Check. And check.

 

And I'm really curious ... do you really feel that way about yourself deep down? Or is that just that shaming voice that we all have camping out in the background of our skulls? (Gotta love that voice.) ;)

 

Much love, 64th. I'm glad you're here. And we're here for you. To vent. To celebrate. And everything in between. Take care of yourself through this process.

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The biggest hug 64th :-) very cool that you could unload here, and with such clarity and intergrity. It is early days for you but I can feel the strength behind your words and I know you will be ok - it's such a rollercoaster of emotion and thoughts right now.

 

You aren't alone, I've felt the same. It has got soooo much better and I can't believe how far I have come from the crying and lonely person I was months ago when i was diagnosed.

 

Whatever the outcome with your man...you have been honest and acted with integrity with him..never be ashamed of yourself because of herpes as it has revealed the kind of person you truly are. You should be proud of yourself :-) another hug because i think you soooo deserve it. x

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@H_Opp: I guess there's truth to those feelings on some level. I'm trying to stay positive (in more ways than one *bad dum tsch*) about the situation. There is a lot of shame associated with it. Talking to my ex about it makes me put it in perspective though. He, unfortunately, is much more fatalistic about it.

 

@lelani: I appreciate the kind words but I still feel guilty as hell about it. And I still need to discuss it with the various people I have slept with over the past year. I'm so not ready to do it yet and every day that passes makes me feel more guilty about it. I am glad to know these feelings won't be permanent. I've read your story and to see how your mindset has changed is refreshing and encouraging.

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64th...they aren't just kind words..they are the truth. Stop feeling guilty because all those people you have to talk to are just as responsible for their own sexual health. They are just as likely to have contracted it from someone else as from you, and if they decided to have sex with you without the talk or after it...they are responsible for the outcome, too.

 

It is really hard to go back and tell people but integrity will feel better than guilt, no matter how hard it is to take that step. Break it down to one at a time. We all make mistakes...what we do after we realise we have made them is who we are. You are on the path to do what feeling right to you. Be kind to yourself. x

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"He, unfortunately, is much more fatalistic about it."

That sucks that he's so negative about it. Although that doesn't dictate how you should see it for yourself, mind you. You get to determine that for yourself (and I get that's what you're doing in this post right here, right now).

 

You know how it's not really about the thing but about how someone reacts to that thing? Perfect example: You know, I've actually seen real, actual human beings beat the SHIT out of their steering wheel and dashboard, screaming at the top of their lungs while they're stuck in traffic. They're yelling at everyone else who is stuck in traffic along with them. They're yelling at this horrible fate they now find themselves in ... But it's not traffic that's making this lovely person angry. It's how that person is deciding to SEE the traffic. From this person's perspective, the traffic ITSELF seems to be bent on seeing him suffer ... but that's not really the case, is it? Traffic is just traffic. But this guy sees it as a war to be fought. The guy chose to get in his car and drive.

 

Some people see life that way.

 

Whether it be traffic or herpes or anything else that falls across their path. You get to decide.

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