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The importance of anonymity in your healing journey?

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Someone reached out to me who is writing an article on the importance of anonymity in online communities like ours and I thought I'd share my response here.


In order for us to truly be able to work through the shame that stigma can trigger, it's absolutely vital for us to feel safe to open up and tell all. Through opening up, we not only get to share with an understanding and compassionate community (which normalizes our shared experiences), but we're also able to begin to release what has felt like our own solitary burden to bear. 

Then a magical thing can happen ... an alchemical process that transforms shame into opportunity for connection. An opportunity for us to be accepted for who we are *behind* the thick wall of shame. And ultimately, an opportunity to accept ourselves.

Especially in these days of the internet not feeling so private (even in places where it absolutely should be), having true privacy and anonymity is paramount for communities like Herpes Opportunity. Anything less is grounds for paranoia and holding back from sharing ourselves. (In fact, just the other day someone messaged me asking "Are private messages really private?") Fear can lead to closing ourselves off, which can lead to isolation and paranoia, which can lead to a downward spiral of self-loathing and depression. On the other hand, safety, connection and compassion creates an an okayness with the nitty-grittiness of what it means to be human.

I'd love to hear your personal experience, too.

What is the importance of anonymity and privacy for you in your healing journey?

Note: This 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. 

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For me, having the ability to come here and read the truth of what people are dealing with, how they disclose, how those disclosures go, learning about different ways that people cope, their stories, etc...is beyond valuable. If we didn't have anonymity, surely many of these stories and helpful posts would not exist and I would have felt SO ALONE when I got the call that my bloodwork came back positive for HSV-2. I can guarantee that I would not have shared my story if I thought that someone could trace it back to me and my identity.

I am STILL terrified of disclosing to the new man I've just started dating. The one disclosure I had before ended in the man backpedaling, deciding he just wanted to be friends...even though now he regularly texts me and wants to hook up. So, I guess he got over the 'fear', but I'm not okay with being with someone who judged me so readily, so he can pound sand. Sorry for the sidebar. BUT, what I'm getting at is that without being able to read how others do it, I would have NO idea how to disclose, and I would be a lot more scared to disclose than I currently am...I am pretty sure that I would not have even stepped back into the dating world without this site...and the anonymity that goes with it.

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