Just curious...what if EVERYONE knew that you have herpes?
  • kitcattatkitcattat
    Posts: 32
    I was thinking the other day, what if someone, somehow, told everyone you know that you have herpes? For me, all my closest family and friends know I do, because I trust them. If it got out to an aquaintance of mine, I have no clue how I would react...I think I'd be a little freaked out especially if it were ALL my aquaintances. I want to be a part of changing the stigma about herpes and all, but man, if that came out so fast like that I can't help but freak out. I guess I suppose it would also make a difference if I were the one to tell everyone vs someone else telling everyone. Anyways, I'm just curious to see how everyone would react to this. Any thoughts?
  • GREAT discussion, K! What if everyone knew? Welcome to my life. ;) Everyone knows I have herpes. And I've never felt more free around something I used to be completely tied up in knots around with shame. And yes, it will happen on your own time, following your own gut and heart. And I can tell you the shadow of the scary monster projected onto the wall of the imagination ends up being a tiny mouse once you turn the light on. ;)

    "Worst" case scenario: Everyone in the world knows you have herpes. What then? All the people who would judge you and have horrible things to say and who would believe a simple virus should mean all these horrible things about you wouldn't be in your life. The people who see it for what it is, a simple, overly stigmatized virus, will stay by your side. It's a pretty damn good filter if you ask me. And for the record, I haven't had the kind of rejection where someone I knew as a kind hearted person who I want in my life reject me. Maybe I've been super lucky, and maybe that's just how it is. Sometimes we spend so much energy trying to control our life out of fear instead of letting it happen how it will by following what we feel is right and enjoying the ride from a place of curiosity and excitement.
  • Honestly, I think in a way it might be better if more people knew.

    It would definitely show me who is worth keeping around, and who is not. I also think I'd have more motivation, more drive to prove that herpes isn't the end of the world. I think it may also be beneficial in that it would help me in my healing, to realise that this isn't something so shameful that needs to be kept quiet at all costs. I'd find a way to show people that there is a way to happiness in any circumstance, and that they too, can triumph in spite of their perceived limitations. In any case, I hope to move in this direction regardless of how many people know or don't know.

    It's personally helped me out a great deal to find people who openly discuss having herpes (thank you, Adrial )) and I wish more people (such as celebrities, whose stories really could reach a lot of people, and help end this ridiculous stigma) were brave enough to do the same.

    That's my two cents. :)
  • WhoopsiDaysiWhoopsiDaysi
    Posts: 236
    Great discussion. Personally, I have no issue with everyone knowing. Good thing since I have talked about it on Facebook and I am on You Tube! But really, if the topic comes up, I tell people. Strangers, friends, family. Interestingly enough though, the one person I cannot bring myself to tell is my son. I find that interesting. For me there is somehow still shame around that to tell him. I gave him the lectures on being careful because some things you can get "for life". AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaand here I am. I will eventually have to tell him. I will feel better because I really don't like keeping things from him. But really, if the whole world knew, I would be okay with it. I am more uncomfortable about people knowing I have been married three times than I am about having herpes. To me it's no worse than people knowing if I had cold sores or diabetes. It's just a medical condition. If they choose to reject me because I have herpes, well, then their absence isn't really a huge deal. People will judge me in any event. If it's not herpes, it's something else and their opinions are their business, not mine.
  • kitcattatkitcattat
    Posts: 32
    Adrial, I love the shadow of a scary monster on the wall analogy. That is exactly what it is! :) When you're in the dark it's really scary thinking oh no, all these people are going to reject me, they're going to judge me, how awful! When in light/reality, it's only a tiny mouse, a good filter as you said! I always forget the bright side of it though :/

    How did it feel when it first got out to a lot of people? I imagine that for me it would be very uncomfortable...especially if it wasn't me telling everyone! I think that I am probably more afraid of someone telling everyone I know as opposed to me telling. I feel like in that instance it would be that person adding to the stigma and not getting the right information out. If I were telling everyone, I would at least know I'm getting them the CORRECT facts and maybe they'd see me in a different light? Idk.

    Heart of Gold, I agree! It would be awesome if everyone knew. My fear is the telling them part... if only i could just skip through that to the part where everyone knew and had either accepted or rejected it already. Also, I think it's fine telling the people I am close to, because I can trust that if they are really meant to be that close to me then they will accept it. The part that is not fine, is telling those acquaintances, those people you don't know how they'll react, because of the unknown factor. And I don't know why I would care about them more, because it's not like they're huge parts in my life, but it's just scary thinking about it still.

    Whoopsidaysi, that's kind of what I was thinking along the lines of is Facebook.... if I could just post stuff on there that I post on here, i think people would understand me a little better. That is interesting that you haven't told your son, and I think that is a whole different relationship too than any of the one's I'm even thinking about. Along the lines of you not wanting to tell someone you've been married 3 times rather than herpes, I think I don't want to tell people I have herpes because It brings up a whole Pandora's box of other issues I don't want to discuss that go along with it. So maybe it's not even herpes Im even all that worried about?

    Thinking about how herpes if a part of you, like another quirk about you, is something I need to focus on. Instead of separating it from myself....welll theres me, then there's herpes me. Just some thoughts I had.
  • WhoopsiDaysiWhoopsiDaysi
    Posts: 236
    kitcattat, herpes brings up all sorts of issues. I have come to just accept herpes as one more thing to know about me. There used to be two of me - the real me and then the herpes me. Now we are one and the same. I think it's normal because at first it's something that we really don't want to accept as part of ourselves so we try to reject it and put it out there. I just had my first OB after my diagnosis and this time around it was no big deal. I loved myself through it and it was no different than having a cold sore or the flu. There was no judgment or fear. And you know it cleared up so fast. Before I used to be absolutely obsessive and in fear of every little twinge or whatever that could indicate an OB. Now it's just "meh". I found that really interesting.

    So, it sounds like you maybe are feeling like it's not just the herpes that is the issue but things about yourself that you don't want to face? Feelings are complex and sometimes herpes is sort of a magnifying glass on all the stuff we are trying not to face about ourselves. It has been a gateway to so much healing for me. But it was messy and really not an easy journey to begin.

    Thanks for the discussion. How are you feeling now? What thoughts come to mind? What do you think it would feel like to post on Facebook about your experience with herpes? I am curious as to your thoughts.
  • kitcattatkitcattat
    Posts: 32
    Yes whoopsi and combining those parts of yourself is definitely not an easy process!!! Nor should it be! I just hope I can come to that day sometime soon, because I know all this pain and emotion HAS to be worth something in the end!

    Yeah, last year when I was diagnosed with herpes, was a tough year. Broken off engagement, struggling with my career, drinking problems, acceptance and self confidence issues. All lead up to my herpes diagnosis and that on top of everything else....so herpes brings up a lot of issues for me. It's funny reading through these posts on the forum it seems that everyone else is on the same page. It's not herpes that they're really concerned about, just all the issues of self worth. Why does it take herpes or something dramatic for us to deal with these things? Crazy!

    I don't know about posting on Facebook. Like I said, it scares me the most to have those random acquaintances knowing and judging. I don't think I will ever be sooo out in the open about it, because I believe that if you wanna know all my skeletons/issues/whatever, you should put in the time in getting to know me. I'm not just going to dish it out to whoever is holding their hand out. I also feel like I wouldn't want to be "herpes girl". However, I do want to tell more people that I am close to. And maybe if someone ever brought up something about herpes I could chime in and say well I have herpes.... I still think I have a lot of growing to do and gaining of confidence to get to that point though. ALSO if someone were to tell everyone for me, like say post on Facebook, then I would be absolutely mortified at first, but then get on and accept it. Set everyone straight. I know after the initial shock of it all, it would be a huge weight off my shoulder not having to hide the elephant in the room!!!
  • BeckieBeckie
    Posts: 71
    I think about this often. During one of our discussions, Adrial described the stages of disclosure that he's gone through, and I really get that for myself. I took a big step with the YouTube video - if people want to find this out about me now, they can. But am I bringing it up in conversations at work? Not yet. I've been so close on a number of occasions, but it just hasn't come out. My family and close friends all know, but I can sense telling my co-workers may lead to new opportunities....and I guess I haven't been ready for that one. So yeah, on some level, I haven't been ready for everyone to know. But I really want to get there. And I'm hopeful that the H Opp weekend will be just the remedy for getting me over this hump. Thanks for bringing this up for discussion...it's good to type out how I'm feeling about it all. Hugs!! Beckie :)

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