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Please tell me Im not completely nuts.


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I guess Im writing this because Ive been having a rough few days. Even though I feel like Im handling this all pretty well for only being diagnosed a couple months ago, I think ive reached the depression stage a little later than most people. I guess its finally starting to hit me that things arent going to be the same anymore. I feel like a completely different person. The way I talk to people I meet, the way I cant even look at a guy without thinking "He wouldnt want me anyways, I have herpes." Its just following me around all day every day.


My initial outbreak was textbook. Flu symptoms, back pain, fever. All of it. At first I thought I was just tired, but I knew something was up. I have an incredible immune system. Not even a slight cold or stomach bug in years. Then there was the swelling. Then the bumps. I remember sitting in the shower absolutely knowing without a doubt I had this. I wasnt even surprised. I had so many clues that I couldnt trust my sexual partner but I AVOIDED them. I was scared of being alone. So I called him and told him I had symptoms and he confessed he had them as well as revealing he was sleeping with four other girls and not using protection with any of us. Dont worry, I had the doctor run a full std panel and luckily, it was negative for anything else (at least for now... thats the part that gets me). I sat in that doctors office in so much pain for hours because I couldnt get an immediate appointment and was waiting for a cancellation. I knew the best way was to go in with sores so the doctor could diagnose me and swab it. I was miserable. I had so many of them and it hurt to walk (although I have an insanely high pain tolerance and took it like a champ, thank you) my doctor looked at them and was like, "yep. Thats herpes. Heres a prescription for acyclovir and lidocaine cream." (Which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) It cost me 50$ for a tube but I swear to god, it was worth every single penny. I was leaving on a two week vacation right in the middle of my first outbreak (terrible timing right?) Lidocaine cream saved me. I was able to enjoy myself because I was completely numb down there and my trip ended up being incredible. Two weeks later, I had positive swab results and a little emailed pamphlet from my doctors office telling me how to take care of myself while a nurse confirmed over the phone that I had herpes like she was talking about the weather or the chicken she made for dinner the night before. It was all very unceremonious and surreal. I remember telling my best friend that I just wanted to get past the physical pain first and then work on the emotional part after I got through it. I guess thats whats leading me to write the rest of this, Im trying to work all this out.


Im blaming myself for this because it really is my fault that Im in this boat. Why couldnt I just love myself more? Why did I basically whore myself out to some guy who didnt even care about me? I am a cautionary tale to parents that you should love your daughter more, and tell her she is valuable and worthy of love. It makes me realize how big of an effect my childhood and teen years had on me. I had two fathers (biological and step) reject me. My dad left me and never really made an effort to get to know me when I got older. He had a new family, and a new daughter and I was just basically a memory of his past. My step father is possibly the most horrendous person ive ever known and emotionally abused my brothers and I for the 15 years hes been married to my mom. I just had to say that. To put it out there that I nearly a completely damaged person. All I knew was rejection, so naturally I picked men who did the same things to me.


I am barely starting to undo all the damage at 23 years old, but better late than never right? Maybe now I can have a chance at a good relationship in the future. Im terrified though. I had this idea of what my life was going to look like and now I have to scrap that and start all over again, having no idea where Im going or what I even want anymore because herpes has made me question everything in my life. Is it safe for me? Is it worth my time? Will it hurt me later? Will I benefit from whatever it is? Everything requires extra thought now. Which I suppose is a wonderful blessing in disguise, but I cant help but resent it a little. I hate that this happened to me. I hate that Im going to wear this badge for the rest of my life because I was too stupid and weak to stand up for myself and not allow someone to use my body and not respect my heart and take care of it.


I feel like Im swimming out into the ocean with no lifeboat or compass to guide me back to shore. Ive never been actually scared of the future before but all of a sudden Im afraid Ill end up alone or constantly be abandoned and rejected. Im afraid of all the sharks and the tides and the sun and the saltwater. Im afraid Ill drown. Its exhausting to try to keep yourself afloat, swimming to keep your head above water. Sometimes I want to just let go and let myself sink to the bottom, but I keep thinking of future me. What would she say if she were here? Would she tell me that somewhere in the future, she is happy and loved and safe? Will she let me know how beautiful my life is where she is? That I have everything I could have ever dreamed of and even more? Or will I be miserable and lonely and have nothing to live for? Will I end up testing positive for HIV later? No cute little babies that I can love and protect and inspire to be strong people. No family of my own. I wish I could just get a glimpse of her life for one second so I know that I end up okay. That it passes and that I wont be lost at sea anymore.


So I guess my herpes story is still being written and I havent even reached disclosure or any of the rejection Ill most likely have to face in the future. The last 6 weeks has felt like 6 months. Its passing so slow and I know that I have so much left to go through. Im only one outbreak in and no sign of my next one yet. Im sure its there, waiting to remind me that Im not superhuman, that this is with me forever whether I like it or not. Its easy a couple months in to pretend ill be okay when I havent had to suffer through another outbreak yet or tell someone I want to date that I have this and potentially see the look of horror on their face. I feel so completely terrified. So thats why I turned here. I needed to tell someone what Im feeling so I dont feel like Im going crazy. Maybe some of you feel the same way I do or felt it before and can help with some words of wisdom. Either way, I had to let it out. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to. Its amazing how empowering it is to be able to say it out loud for people to listen. Thank you. Really.

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You are certainly not nuts. I'm really sorry that you've been treated so horribly by the men in your life. I can relate to a degree. You can learn from your own post. You don't have to live the worst case scenario. You can have a beautiful life. Many, many people with H do. You are wise for your age. You can definitely find a wonderful man to marry and you can have children. I just had an HIV test myself. It was many years overdue but I have terrible luck with guys and I haven't been with anyone. An ex-boyfriend was doing drugs so I broke up with him. He owed me money and came over to give it to me and ended up in my bathroom for 3 hours. I called the police, at the advice of his son. I heard the police office say "So you shootup?" I don't remember if I had an HIV test back then or not. So I am okay. I am sure you will be too. One thing that helps my depression is walking. I was really in a bad way before I started walking. I think I look a little younger too. It's good for so many reasons.


Keep the faith. Things will get better. Keep us posted!


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You're not crazy! I can relate to a lot of those feelings, especially the feeling of regret about getting this. I am a serial monogamist and fell for a guy who didn't want anything serious. I convinced myself to see where it led like so many of my friends do, even though I have never just casually slept with anyone, and ended up with herpes. I told him and he was initially supportive, then fell off the face of the earth - despite being my downstairs neighbor, he intentionally avoids me and my attempts at communication. Possibly the hardest part of herpes is forgiving ourselves for whatever led us to it and remembering that, in both of our cases, this was not something we chose or had the knowledge to decide about, and that doesn't reflect badly on us but on the men who were dishonest with us. We are both young (you're 23, I'm 26) and I'm confident that as long as we are good people at heart, a good person is bound to see through herpes and whatever other minor things we have going on and love us for who we are... when we are both healed and ready for it. Until then, we'll have missteps, we'll have outbreaks, we'll have good days and bad days, and then one day we will meet someone who accepts and loves us and this will feel like a distant, bad memory. :)

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Thank you Rogue for writing you perfectly encapsulated what I am feeling. This is my first day on here - I was diagnosed yesterday - although my ordeal initially started 5 years ago. I was initially diagnosed through a blood test when some symptoms started after I slept with my boyfriend for the first time without condoms. Then I was told no I didn't have herpes - but that it actually was an autoimmune disease. That was about a 2 year period of the uncertain phase where I visited 9 doctors until a specialist said I had an autoimmune disease. She put me on medication and I thought I had been successfully treated. Then no outbreaks or symptoms for 3 years until one day a few weeks ago I had an outbreak - but it didn't feel like the normal autoimmune symptoms. So I went back again and was told it was in fact herpes. Oh my god all of the angst and worry and devastation from the first diagnosis came flooding back.


Having lived through this once before I can also tell you I'm having the EXACT same thoughts as you are, Rogue. It's like you took the words right out of my mouth.


I too, am so mad at myself for lowering my standards. I just wanted to be loved but even when I would find evidence that my boyfriend was cheating or lying he would insist he wasn't lying. I would say "just tell me the truth and we can work on whatever it is" and he would always insist he was telling the truth. I was always so careful and told him before we slept together without condoms that we both had to be tested. He then told me he had been tested and was clean. Little did I know he was lying - he knew he had herpes. He even had an outbreak that he lied and told me that it was thrush or something and that he'd had it for years. I ended up finding out the horrible truth about him years after we broke up - from his current wife. (Yes shes got even worse self esteem than I do.) She found my number because he had been cheating on her - when we both compared notes and she confronted him, he finally came clean about his years and years of lies. He admitted he'd cheated on both of us with multiple girls, that he was a sex addict, had a lying problem, etc etc. I was horrified - I'd had a good upbringing, traveled the world, was educated, spoke several languages, had a great job - how the hell did I fall such a low life? I'd never been confident dating - for some reason I always suffered from low self esteem. I always suffered from feeling "less than" others. After years of therapy I know it came from the way I was treated by my parents although it wasn't anything too severe. They didn't abandon me and they always gave me everything. They loved me and were good parents but never really instilled confidence in any of the kids. We argued a lot, they were very strict, and they were very punitive. I too felt like damaged goods. For whatever reason all 3 of the children in our family lack confidence where are love lives are concerned. We are all in our late 30s and early 40s and single. It's so sad as my siblings are amazing and kind people - we just didn't get that kind of positive reinforcement or validation that creates self worth.


The worst part is that I dated this shady guy from ages 36-39. I too was afraid of being alone and wanted children. Im now 42 and feel like the old unmarried spinster doomed to die alone. I've always wanted to be a mother and all of my friends (with children) tell me what a nurturer I am and what a great mother I will be. I guess the horrible thing about herpes is that the fear of our future is the same whether in your early 20s or my age. I feel like "who's going to marry me now, the 42 year old never married spinster with herpes?" I was holding out hope that I would eventually win out over my longstanding insecurities and meet someone, settle down, and hopefully have children (or adopt) but I feel like this happening to me is the final blow to my dream for my life as well.


Thanks for listening...



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Wow, so many things I can relate to on this thread. I think my parents screwed me up too. There are a lot of kids in the family who never got married. I'm 55 and never got married but I still have hope. You always have to have hope. I don't think of myself as a spinster. I call it what it is. I have had very bad luck with guys my whole life. I've been in a couple of abusive relationships. My first relationship (I was 19) was ruined by fear and OCD. I just realized last year that I got herpes from him. I thought I got it from another boyfriend from the 90's who claimed to have herpes about 2 years into our relationship.


Everyone, we are all loveable. I have seen lots of love stories on here and on Facebook and other places. I just went on a date with a guy and told him. He didn't abruptly end the date. In fact, he wrote some messages to me on POF and ended one with "xoxo". Then he got cold so I don't know what's going on with him. He did the same thing to me last year.



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I'm really sorry to hear about all the terrible things that have happened to everyone. On behalf of men everywhere I apologize for those few who have hurt you and wronged you in the worst way. I don't understand why people lie and cheat especially if they themselves have had it done to them. Its never easy getting over the fact that you have herpes because now your standards are even harder to get met with those in the H community. I'm trying to work out my emotions as well right now. I feel really alone because I don't really have any reliable friends and I still have feelings for my ex who pretty much wants nothing to do with me after contacting each and expressing feelings for one another a year removed from each other. The only thing I can truly say is to hold your heads up high and persevere. Thats all anyone can really do. It is tough, there is no doubt but you will get through it and you will find that special someone in your life. Believing is part of making things happen and not just always working hard. As the old saying goes...When the going gets tough, the tough get going. =)

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