Herpes Opportunity logo
Informational Blog
Support Forum
Start Here!
H Opp Weekend
Herpes Videos
Lifestyle Guides
  Herpes Opportunity logo
Informational Blog
Support Forum
Start Here!
H Opp Weekend
Herpes Videos
Lifestyle Guides



First Day and Trying to Stay Upbeat

I'm a 30 year old man who tested positive for HSV 1 and had my first outbreak genitally recently.
I first had symptoms of a UTI, painful urination minutes after the last time my girlfriend and I had sex. I told her about it right away.
2 days later, the painful urination continued and blisters appeared on one side of the shaft of my penis. I flipped out for a few minutes, call ed my girlfriend to inform her and told her to get a test done for herself, then I left work to get tested. 4 days later, the results of the culture were positive.
Today is the first day waking up knowing the bad news. I decided to keep being the great person I am, and not to trouble myself with how I contracted HSV. I'm fortunate that my girlfriend took everything about as well as anyone can, and that she is supportive.
To be perfectly honest, before the test results came back, I considered suicide. Instead of dwelling on the idea, I called my Dad and told him I probably had HSV and needed him to talk to me about anything unrelated, like work. He was great about it and spent time discussing the particulars of our jobs. I felt so much better that I decided to catch up with my brother and my Mom, too. I told each of them, and let them know I don't want HSV to be the main point of discussion. By the time my test results came back, I wasn't in shambles about it. I called the 2 other people I had sex with in the past year or so and left voicemails telling them to get tested. Trust me, leaving those messages was easy once the voicemail beeped, and it made me feel better. Also, saying the words out loud (even for the first time) will not conjure up any bad karma, or break some innocent part of you. Yes, the thought crossed my mind that I never wanted to say the words out loud. If anything, it helped me get my self pity out of the way faster.
Since then, I have had several conversations with my girlfriend about it, and we had a good date tonight. I feel shame and guilt for having HSV, despite never having cheated or slept around, ever. But I won't let it break me, and I won't let it ruin my ability to enjoy good things I have. If anything, I am yet more grateful for the positive things in life.
While I'm still not sure if my girlfriend will want to stick around, 100% honesty has allowed her to keep her freedom to choose, and I think she appreciates that. I have told her I will understand if she gets mad about it, even mad at me, and wants to vent, or more likely, that she feels like I'm not worth the risk (however slight the statistics make it seem). So far, she has been nothing but caring and supportive. I am lucky as hell.
I have a great career and am wrapping up some college classes next month to finish an associate's degree.
HSV doesn't get to decide who I am.
Please consider this:
Always 100% disclose immediately, well before any contact with effected areas, regardless of outbreak status. I won't take away anyone's freedom to decide for themself, no matter the rationale. Someone took my choice away from me and it sucks, I won't be that person. There is no excuse, it's a matter of moral right and wrong. Consent matters, do not remove someone's ability to provide consent. This isn't just a skin condition, it makes people feel bad when they find out they contracted it, and it throws a hell of a curveball into their identity for a while. Please be a decent person and offer those who like you enough to be close with you the ability to choose.
HSV doesn't make anyone a bad person. Diseases don't make demons. Taking away another person's right to consent makes demons.

Thanks to those who read all of this TLDR content. Like everyone, it helps to write the story down where someone else might read it.

What I'm not sure on:
Is it possible that I also have HSV 1 orally and am asymptomatic, despite a pretty clear genital HSV 1 outbreak?
Or would one outbreak tend to aggravate the other?

For those who want to know what a knowledgeable doctor puts an otherwise healthy 30 year old male on as a treatment plan:

What I'm doing now:
Valacyclovir 1000mg x2 daily for 10 days. Then, 500mg x2 daily for 10. Then 500 x1 forever.
Turns out I get high blood pressure from meds if I take it without food, so snacks are cool.
Washing my hands like a surgeon every time I touch my junk to take a piss.
Hand sanitizer, before and after meals, restroom, etc...
Breaking the habit of touching my face at all, ever. Don't need an eye infection too.
Pause on the gym until this outbreak clears fully.
Vitamin C, Vitamin B complex. Not crazy high doses, just a multivitamin type thing.

If you are recently diagnosed, see a primary care physician answer their questions and be honest with them. Then, listen to what they tell you, have them repeat themself if you need, or write stuff down.
If you don't have insurance and are concerned about cost, find a doctor who will work with you. They aren't crooks, most doctors care and want to do good.

What I'm going to do:
Focus on goals and dreams I have always had.
Show appreciation for the people I have told and their support.
If my girlfriend leaves me: I won't get mad, she has the basic human right to decide. 100% disclosure immediately, well before contact with affected areas can happen. Yeah, that means lots of loneliness, rejection, and probably some sadness.
If contemplation of suicide returns, or depression bears down: group therapy, counseling.


  • Second day update:
    The anti viral (valacyclovir) is working really well.
    Having a meal with the dose helps a lot to keep my blood pressure in a normal range.
    If you're curious about numbers:
    Normal = 110 to 120 over 60 or 70ish
    Dose without food = 157 over 90ish for about 45 min
    Dose with food = high 120s over 70ish

    That is a big difference, I highly recommend having a meal before you take meds.

    Things are still going well with my girlfriend! Woo!
    She has not been able to get tested yet, but hasn't shown symptoms.
  • Day 3 update:

    I had been planning to tell my girlfriend I love her for probably 2 or 3 weeks now.
    Unfortunately, I had trouble finding a good time to do it. Then I found out I was having some strange symptoms and put the idea on pause. When I tested H+, I knew I couldn't tell her I loved her while also disclosing right away because it would seem like a desparate attempt to convince her to stay with me.
    So, I had to wait on it yet longer. Going through the emotions and being strong and supportive for her, just like she was doing for me.
    Finally, it felt like she had gotten enough time to think about it clearly, and decided to stick with me herself. I thanked her for being so good to me and for helping me deal. Then I finally got to tell her I love her!
    She knew I meant it, and knew it wasn't a ploy to convince her not to leave me.
    She knew because I had been so honest from the day we started talking, through noticing there might be a problem for me, when I was sure I had a problem, and when I was diagnosed.

    Honesty, yo.
    Honesty counts above all else.
    I got to tell my girlfriend I love her because I never hid anything from her. Especially when it might be a deal breaker for her, I told her everything right away.
    While it never crossed my mind to hide the problem when I was realizing what was wrong, I do realize I could have probably tried to hide it. And we talked about that fact.
    If I had tried to hide it, she would have known something was off. She would have asked, and it would have been devastating for her to find out that way. Or worse, that we had continued to have sex, or I had avoided it with clever excuses.
    If that had been the case, she definitely would have left me. She would have been heartbroken, and I would have never gotten to tell her I loved her in a way that she knew it was true.

    Honesty. Immediate, unfiltered honesty gave me the chance to tell her. And it gave me the chance to hear her say it, too.

    If you need a reason to disclose, there you go.
    You can be honest and happy, or sneaky and sad.
  • Day 4 update:

    My girlfriend seems to be in as normal a state as I am by now. I'm really grateful for that!

    I recently learned it is common to feel a super strong attachment to the first person who accepts you, knowing you are H+.
    I will have to take a step back and make sure I am not putting her on a pedestal. That could ruin an otherwise happy relationship.

    Work and school are still hard to keep organized, with too much of my "mental workbemch" taken up by being concerned about herpes.
    I probably should have taken a few sick days so I could keep up with school, but I am also preparing to go on a business trip soon. I didn't want to make sacrifices of professional success on behalf of a stupid, shitty disease.

    I am responding to antiviral very well and my out break has been relatively tolerable, so another thing to be grateful for.
    Now that I am mostly healed and my immune system is getting the help of meds and a modest amount of vitamins, my "lizard brain" (the part that freaked the hell out when I realized I had herpes) should calm the F down already.

    I'm going to be proud when my mid term projects get graded highly and my business trip is a success, all while handling some bad news.

    My attitude of
    ::Come on body, be tougher::
    From exercise has really helped me deal with my first herpes out break.

    I won't cling to false hopes that this is the last I've heard from herpes.
    I will cope. I will be RegularGuy. I will achieve what RegularGuy before H+ wanted to achieve.
    Annual Raise cap is still in my sights.
    Associate's degree is still within reach.
    Girlfriend is still on board for staying serious.

    It's not a bad hand to be delt at all. Grateful.
  • Day 5 update:

    Today is a good day! Most have been, despite finding out I was definitely H+ less than a week ago.

    Things are coming together for my business trip. My two mid term projects for college are turned in early.
    Finding out I have herpes truely has not stopped me from being myself!
    It's a problem. It's painful. It's depressing.
    But it hasn't stopped me from doing what I planned to and accomplishing goals.

    My girlfriend is still there, and still supportive.
    She finally got herself tested today.
    If her blood test is negative, great!
    If it's positive, at least I know I didn't transmit it to her (because I tested negative 4 days ago).

    That will be a conversation, but not an accusatory one. No matter what.
    Shit happens.
  • I should clarify,
    I tested negative in the blood test for titre, which would mean I've probably just contracted the virus very recently.
    I am in fact H+ according to the culture test, which is very accurate.
  • Day 6 update:

    Alright, I have to admit to myself that this diagnosis could be a challenge in the future.
    I'm still on track with work, school, and the relationship.
    But before I was diagnosed, stress was my breakfast.
    Stress made me an unstoppable machine in the gym, on projects, with hobbies.
    I would wake up, remember all of the tasks I need to accomplish, remind myself that I'm awesome, then start making phone calls, purchasing gear, selling used items I didn't need, helping family and friends knock out there errands.
    I have always been a "not enough hours in the day" guy.
    At the end of the day, I'd generally be exhausted and drop into bed like a ton of bricks.

    But stress can cause health problems for a healthy person, let alone someone who is H+.

    I feel like I have lost an important part of my being.
    I fear that some day, probably soon, probably on this trip for work, that I will not be able to use stress to achieve. I'll face failure because I can't push myself in all ways like I could without triggering an outbreak.
    The day that happens, I will be more sad than I have in a long time.
    Aggressive, uncompromising, tenacious RegularGuy might just be in my past.

    I fear stagnation. I fear lack of achievement. I fear failure in the tasks I choose to take on.

    Will "Zen" RegularGuy stack up when the cards are on the table during this trip for work?
    I fear not.

    Do I risk pushing myself to extremes of lack of sleep, overwork, indomitable spirit, and insatiable hunger for achievement?
    Or do I let fear of an outbreak prevent me from feeling like I had laid down my best efforts?

    Valacyclovir, do your magic.
    Stress mode RegularGuy is going to need your help.
  • I just wanted to jump in and say that IgG tests miss up to 30% up existing HSV1 infections, so while you *probably* recently contracted it, there's a chance that you're one of the people int hat 30%. Ella Dawson, whom is internet famous for being open about having genital HSV1, is in that 30%. I heard her on a podcast speaking about how one doctor tried to insist she didn't have it because her level was not conclusive and she was like no bro, I really do.. You certainly can't deny a positive culture which she had when diagnosed.

    Also in reply to your most recent post, everyone's body reacts differently so you never know until you try! What triggers OBs for some, doesn't for others. And since genital HSV1 *tends* to recur less often, these things may not trigger you at all. Especially being on Valtrex
  • @ash2018
    Thanks for the information!
    I will have to look up Ella Dawson.

    However, considering how definitely obviously I had a first outbreak. I am certain that I contracted herpes very recently. My titre count from my own blood test being low is most likely because it had only been a couple of days since I had contracted, and it will probably increase (however there is no need to blood test again aside from clinical curiosity).

    I'm actually more conflicted and more angry than I was when I first noticed the symptoms, or when I was diagnosed.

    I will move forward like I always have.
    Just angry for now.
  • What you've been feeling today, @RegularGuy, is very normal and expected. I know I cycled back and forth through all of the stages of grief for quite a while. I once saw a graph about grief and instead of showing a straight line trending upward (toward healing), it was zig-zagged.....some days good, some days bad, but when looked at comprehensively, the trend was going up. For some reason I always found that really comorting.

    Soon after my diagnosis, I remember reading how coffee and nuts triggered outbreaks in some people and I started to panic...."WHAT? NO COFFEE????" Happily, I have continued my daily coffee consumption with no adverse effects. Everyone's triggers are different, they may very well change over time--especially once your body gets used to the virus and/or the antivirals have had a chance to work their magic, and you may be pleasantly surprised to find that the go-getter version of RegularGuy is still very much in the game. Perhaps on the sidelines for a short break, but by no means kicked to the curb.

    I've really enjoyed reading your posts and am impressed with how well you're able to articulate your experience and recognize the smallest shifts in thoughts and perspectives. Let yourself be angry, my friend. This is just a speed bump for you. {{hugs}}
  • @HikingGirl
    Thank you so much for that!
    It was so well said, and extremely helpful!
    I know I have said I'm not here to be a burden and I'm not looking for a shoulder to cry on. But damn, what you wrote is a big deal to me!

    I didn't update today because I'm still feeling the same, though my anger has cooled a lot.
    I still feel conflicting emotions and they are very strong, but I am not breaking at the seams.

    Next time I update, I will have more to bring to the table than just self-loathing and hatred. That's not who I am, that's not the choices I make.

    To those who have or will read this thread looking for something to gain. Gain that you are not going to fall apart because of herpes. While things are different now, and you feel different than you did, you will never stop being who you are (unless you choose to, good or bad).
  • edited September 2017
    I totally understand the wave of emotions. I had my first outbreak at the beginning of June however my IgG was also a definite positive so who knows how long I've been carrying the virus. I've been with my fiance for over two years now so it was quite the shock to say the least. I highly recommend looking up Ella, she's awesome. In the first month or two I watched her videos pretty much daily to lift my spirits
  • Day 7 Update:

    I skipped a day because I was in a very negative place mentally and emotionally.
    A couple of speed bumps with work and not feeling too great about myself got me in a dark mood. I usually take my mind off stressful things by watching a good horror movie or two, so I did just that last night. It helped me get some sleep, but I was still down.
    I decided to get up really early today and get some extra work accomplished. Once I knocked out a couple of tasks, I felt better.

    My coworkers have noticed something isn't clicking for me like it used to. It's comforting that they are dialing back the pressure for me by picking up some slack, but it certainly can't stay this way.
    I know they view it as doing it for the good of the team, but I can't become a burden. Not that there is any realiatic reason to worry about it, but I want to keep my social status as a driving force, rather than an ass in a chair.

    Turns out this trip is perfectly timed. Thank Fing God!
    I'm healed up, I have my daily meds ready, and I feel ready for a change in scenery.

    Remember that you can be down about your bad luck. You can hate your situation. You can feel bad about yourself. But you can still strive for all of your goals, and in the process, regain the sense of identity finding out you are H+ takes away.
    Not everyone will experience it the same way I am. You may need more time to gather yourself up, or heal, or feel like you can pick up all of the burdens you used to carry.
    But it's not the end of your success and achievement.
  • Yesterday should have been day 8.

    Day 9 update:

    I didn't want to post about negativity and sadness.
    Don't read on unless you are prepared to get a little depressed.

    Woke up today to a text from my girlfriend asking me to call her. She wanted to talk about H stuff.
    It got me in a pretty miserable mood, and I was feeling really down.
    Not her fault, but it was hard to get myself motivated to take on the day.
    Thankfully, my brother happened to need a hand with getting some of his errands knocked out, so I offered to help. That made me feel a lot better about things.

    I think about herpes a lot. Every time I talk to my girlfriend. Every time I see someone I am attracted to. Before I fall asleep. Every time I use the bathroom or the shower.
    I'm afraid to shave my pubic hair, which used to be part of normal daily hygiene. I'm afraid I might be shedding the virus on my razor and spread the infection. So I haven't shaved in weeks.
    It's infuriating, depressing, miserable.

    I took a shower before heading into work like I always do.
    I looked at my razor and thought, "nope. Thats risky"
    I washed my hands after washing my junk and literally broke down.

    I'm terrified.
    I'm ashamed.
    I am afraid of touching my dick and spreading the virus accidentally, even just to wash myself in the shower.

    I run through the math constantly:
    HSV 1 sheds for about a total of 2 weeks through a year.
    If I shave every day until (assuming I live to be 60), I will statistically spread the virus 60 weeks, or 420 times possibly while shaving.
    In a relationship, I had no reason not to have sex every day. Now I'm terrified by that desire.
    420 random lots to spread the virus over 30 years

    The math, and knowing that I know what it means is reassuring that at least I am aware.
    But the chances of it actually happening if I don't heed the warning the math provides results in 100% chance of making things worse.

    That's why I break down.
    I am afraid of touching myself, when I used to be proud of my body. I had hammered myself into shape that I loved.
    I am miserable now.
  • edited September 2017
    It IS just a skin condition.

    The problem isn't herpes, which 9/10 on the planet have. The problem isn't you. The problem is stigma. That's what's causing you to flip out. You will likely find that after the first outbreak, you will be fine. That's how it comes for the vast majority of people.

    Go look up Adam ruins herpes on YouTube. Show it to your girlfriend.

    You might not be able to get this message because you are so worked up right now, but I guarantee you will come to understand what I'm saying in the future is reality. Intimacy is not dead for you. Go look at my ladies' man herpes disclosure success thread. Since I got diagnosed with herpes, I've had sex with over sixty girls . All disclosures.

    Your girlfriend will have to relax too if she's freaking out and look at the facts about his condition, not the stigma. If she can't hang, that's a drag, but there are many other more level headed girls out there that won't let some minor thing like herpes bust up a meaningful relationship.

    That's it. You aren't going to let this skin condition stop you. You are going to be fine so chill out.
  • @hippyherpy
    I know you're right, and I'll get over it.
    Just a bad morning is all.

    I'm not trying to make anyone else feel things, or have pity.
    Just putting the words somewhere I know people can see them as therapy.
  • Day 11 update:

    Seems like day 10 got lost in the aether.
    This was a good weekend.
    I budgeted and convinced myself to spend a little extra this week on some dank travel gear for my upcoming buisness trip. I rarely give myself permission to spend money outside bills, gas, and food. Having a list of very specific items with very specific features gave me a something entertaining to hunt for throughout the weekend.
    Funny how something like searching every store for something like a small power strip with surge protection and a power filter built in can override feelings of shame, self-loathing and hatred.
    Keeping myself engaged and hunting for results has been a major contributor to feeling like myself.

    So far between work and hobbies, it seems like I can continue to use stress as fuel. I'm not sure if valacyclovir is doing all the work in this department, but I intend to stay on the medication until side effects become an issue.
  • edited October 2017
    Bro all this stuff is in your mind. Herpes ain't shit. Really. Look at the stats. Billions of people have it. BILLIONS.

    You get rare cases of people having bad outbreaks and trouble with it but that's tiny minority.

    The more you make a big deal out of it, the more you are doing yourself a disservice. No need for that.

    You're going to come out of your confused period much stronger than you might imagine.
  • Day 12 update:

    My mind shifts back and forth pretty frequently.
    I am able to feel how I used to feel about myself occasionally, which feels good.

    I don't know if it's apparent, and that I'm being redundant, but:
    Precision is important to me. Excellence is important to me.
    I dwell on all of my many errors long enough that I am probably guilty of being hard on myself to the point that it's weird and not really an advantage.
    Coding (in the computer programming sense of the word) is all about it. Troubleshooting is all about it. Computers are all about it.
    Precision and excellence.
    When a machine or a computer is not precise and excellent, we notice immediately.
    When your work computer runs into a snag, it makes you impatient and probably angry if it happens regularly.
    When an app on your phone crashes, you feel betrayed.
    You expect everything to work as advertised, and when the lines of code don't break down into logical instructions properly, you feel let down.
    I expect the same from myself. I feel the same about myself.
    That only part of the whole deal, but that's something that took me a while to feel for long enough that I was able to put it into words.
    Herpes is now a permanent problem, and I feel imperfect.
    Obviously, I was very much imperfect before, but it was always in ways I could change. I could go to the gym, eat better, study harder, commit more time to work, help others, break my bad habits, become more social, become more friendly, be more honest, be more open, try harder, learn from mistakes.
    I never stopped. Every inch of improvement added onto the last and I always had much further to go.
    Herpes can't stop all of that, but
    It will always be the source of imperfection I can't fundamentally change through will power and effort.
    What a new problem to have.

    I think about how so many people clearly find reassurance that they could change or maybe one day will change something they don't like about themself.
    I think about how the things I have changed about myself have made me feel like I was becoming the person I want to be.
    I think my reassurance, personally, is that I was never so naive that I actually thought I'd be complete. That I will always be working to change things about myself.
    So, herpes will always be a thing I don't like about myself. There will always be other things I don't like about myself that I'm working on, or planning to work on next (when I get the hang of keeping what came before it in check). While, unlike my nervous habit of picking at my fingernails, or my inability to be friendly and open with people, I will never change that I have herpes. But that will just be one more thing that isn't excellent.

    Today's update is extremely personal in that I don't expect anyone else to identify with most of it.
    I hope that isn't off putting, but I can guarantee this isn't the first time I have been that.
    I have been the changes I have made in myself. Intentionally.
    Herpes is a change I didn't choose.
    But I said it a few days ago, and didn't think about it until writing this post:

    "Change isn't synonymous with loss."
  • @hippyherpy
    I think you're right dude.
    I appreciate the perspective that you are able to offer, it makes perfect sense.
    I don't want anyone to think that what I'm writing down is advice, or normal, or wise.
    Having a place to write my thoughts down where they will probably be read is just a kind of therapy. Unfortunately it isn't good enough for me to write this stuff where I know that no one will read it.
    I hope it isn't poisonous in some way.
    I hope that at worst it's a bunch of useless garbage, or at best it's occasionally useful.

    I'm not trying to encourage anyone to think the same way I do. I'm not trying to justify anything.
  • I can totally identify with what you're saying. It's tough to accept that no amount of diet, exercise, education or sheer willpower will ever make herpes go away. I don't think I ever really knew how how that elusive chase after the ideal (aka perfection) ran my life until I got diagnosed. It's a part of me I think I'll be processing and coming to terms with for years to come! In recent years, especially since my divorce, I've had a similar/parallel issue come up with aging. It's easier (for me) to forget about being in your 40's when you're in a relationship. Suddenly, once I was single, I saw the impossible expectations for appearances everywhere. But I can't turn back the clock either. It's a tough pill to swallow some days! Pretty much the only thing that has brought me some comfort has been reading Buddhist philosophies on attachment on suffering.
  • edited October 2017
    You get colds right?

    "Getting colds" never goes away. Do you get hung up about that? Do
    You sit around dreading your next cold? Do you let the idea of getting a cold get you down?


    And colds are often much worse than herpes and happen more frequently than any outbreaks. Most people get ZERO herpes outbreaks and the majority of people who do only get one initial one and maybe another.

    Everyone gets colds and almost everybody has herpes.

  • @HikingGirl
    Remind yourself that most men are attracted to most women. I know the pressure is there, but much of it is directly related to growing up in a world that surrounds you with unobtainable standards for beauty. CGI and airbrushing and millions of dollars in camera equipment and surgery have made it that way.
    And all it really counts for is that it makes breaking the ice harder.
    But I get your point, that running into something you can exercise or diet or habit into the ideal is just a fact of life. So damn true.
    I will have to look into the philosophies you mentioned.

    Dead on with the idea of not fearing a cold. Which is way more communicable than herpes.
  • Day 13 update:

    It was much easier to be at work today.
    I am glad I didn't take any time off. I wasn't sure if I was demanding too much from myself, but herpes literally never stopped me from being physically able to do my job, or my school work, or any of my hobbies.
    It would have been totally reasonable to take some time off to get my head in order, but I don't think that would have helped me personally. In fact, continuing to go to work has helped a lot more than I thought it would.
    The best part is that everything is still a solid green light for my upcoming trip for work, and I take a lot of pride in that. I will be proud when I can tell those who know I have herpes that it never stopped me from succeeding in the goals I set for myself.

    So, today was a really good day.
    Being reminded I have herpes when I use the bathroom didn't hurt. Being careful to wash my hands after washing my junk in the shower is starting to feel routine.
    I'm still not confident about shaving my pubic hair yet, which bugs me, but it feels more like a minor annoyance. I will shave that jungle, but not quite yet. I'm still nervous about shedding on my razor and spreading the virus.
    Any word from those who have had herpes for several years or longer?
    Do you shave your pubic hair?
    Do you fear spreading the virus that way?
    Obviously, if I do shave, it would be affected area last, which will be backwards for me, but no big deal.

    It's true what the people who have known for a long time say:
    It gets easier. It's not a matter of each day being better, it's a general, shaky trend over time.
  • Day 14 update:

    2 weeks since the day I first woke up, knowing I have herpes.
    My coworkers seem to notice that I'm out of my minor slump. I don't think I actually slipped as much as I had felt like I was. Reviewing what I had actually missed or not accomplished and the list was:
    I failed to respond to 1 email, asking if I was up to date on paperwork I had already submitted. Not even a thing!
    And I thought I was way behind on all sorts of things I had needed to do!

    The psychological impact of herpes really is a monster, but it's not an end to anything, really.
    I can still use stress to fuel my ambition (probably thanks to valacyclovir and the support from this forum, and the people close to me).

    Now I'm about to go on this buisness trip and really test how hard I can push myself. Worst case scenario, I won't be a prodigy, I might have symptoms and will throttle back to get more sleep. That's not going to be terrible. Disappointing, maybe, but in no way would it put my career at risk.

    I think my struggle to control my thoughts and mood so that I can keep working and doing school work helped to work my mindset into a more positive state (minus a few really negative days...), and I think that also probably helped me heal more quickly from my first outbreak.
    Stress to perform, stress to achieve are different brands than stress about health and identity.
    Of course, them medication helped a lot on both fronts:
    Valacyclovir provided some really rapid results, and also acted as a security blanket that I would be okay long term.

    My updates are going to probably become less frequent while I'm traveling, but I plan to continue to write these updates. It has been helpful in working through some difficult emotions and moods.

    I know it's all a lot of TLDR content.
    Maybe someone will read this and be assured that what they are feeling isn't crazy. Maybe they will identify with some of the changes my state of mind has gone through, and feel more confident that herpes won't ruin them.

    I'm honestly still nervous about shaving my pubic hair, but I'm determined that I will shave it eventually as a matter of principle. Unless I learn that shaving is rediculously risky. I haven't researched it yet.
  • This will probably be my final post in this thread for updates.

    Day 24:

    It took a couple of weeks to start feeling like myself. In some ways, I won't ever feel the same: every time I see someone I am attracted to, I think about how herpes has changed things for me.

    Herpes in no way limited my abilities on this work trip. It was turned out to be extremely stressful by nature of the problems and circumstances I faced, and there was a witch hunt initiated for a couple of days that I had to be careful not to place blame on anyone else, and to assure powers that be that I was doing the job the right way. I was able to put in at least 13 hours a day, and use stress as fuel. In the end, I continue to br able to pursue goals to the fullest of my ability. The trip ended up being a major win for my team, with me leading the charge. I am very glad I didn't let concerns about my diagnosis stop me from giving my best. I even managed to do all of my homework, two quizzes and a paper while traveling (mostly in the airport during a long layover). Herpes held no power over me in any way in those pursuits.

    So, rest assured that you are who you have chosen to be. The challenges herpes presents are mostly psychological. If you continue to chase down goals and work hard, you will achieve success.

    I learned something very important while away.
    Diligence, will power, and determination are everything. A friendly attitude helps, too. But no matter the challenges you face, if you pick it up with your own two hands, and own it, you will be better off than if you had given up or ignored it. 100% of the time.
    Own that you have herpes, decide what you're going to do about it and do just that. Then keep chasing the goals you had before you knew, and keep finding new ones.
  • You’ve come a long way in 24 days, @RegularGuy! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.
  • @HikingGirl
    Thanks for the support while I dealt with a really stressful and volatile few weeks. I am certain that reading about other's experience and advice has been, and will continue to be, a major factor in my continuing efforts to regain my sense of self.
    I want everyone who reads this to know that my intentions have not been to brag, or to garner sympathy at any point. The only intent here was purging emotional overload, documenting some of my experiences, and laying out a loose set of criteria for myself to gauge my own mental state.
    I would like to think that someone else who has shared similar moods, emotions, and contemplations could find some assurance that they are in fact not breaking apart, and that their purpose both for themself, in society, or in God's eyes hasn't changed a bit.
    And good words for anyone in any situation, do your best to make plans for the future that excite you! Use those plans as a point to focus on, and let yourself occasionally indulge in the feeling of anticipation. It will keep your well for internal conflict deep, and your personal resilience strong.

    Thanks to those who read and took it with a grain of salt.

    If you find yourself back tracking in mood, that happens, it's okay to feel down.
    If you find yourself having trouble setting aside thoughts of anger, or shame, or self-loathing, reach out to someone you can trust like family, friends, or therapy.
    Do things that make you feel genuine pride in yourself. And feel proud again!
  • Day 45 Update:

    I am actually doing pretty well these days.
    I still feel guilt and shame when I think about sex sometimes, which I guess gives me some perspective on how people raised to be ashamed of their sexuality must feel. It's totally lame and not awesome in any way. Sex used to be good times all the time.
    Stupid virus.
    My girlfriend has been awesome in helping me deal, but I know she feels bad when I turn her down for sex. I don't offer any explanation about it, but I know I should. At least so she knows it's not a lack of attraction.
    I'll have to have that conversation eventually...

    Other than that, I have been helping my brother deal with his schizophrenia a lot lately. It has been hard on him. He has very real, very traumatic hallucinations that include visual, audio, and tactile.
    I think he is dealing with some post traumatic stress, and that is making his disorder more difficult to manage.
    I am grateful that he is not like the other schizophrenic people I have met. He has good hygiene, cleans up after himself, takes care of his own medication doses, and keeps his apartment neat.
    But it is an absolute monster.
    It certainly puts herpes in perspective.
    Unfortunately, it has me absolutely exhausted from stress and lack of sleep.

    Aside from that:
    College degree is in the bag.
    Work rolls on, annual raise is on the way next month.
    Girlfriend remains a really great lady.

    I think that focusing on being there for the people close to me and chasing goals has made dealing with herpes less shitty.
    It is a stupid damn virus, and infuriating that it is so epidemic (or pandemic?)!
    It still angers me that I contracted herpes while in a monogamous relationship after having known each other for months with a really great girl who is smart and responsible.

    But none of that defines me. It's just stuff that happens.
    Bottom line is, I'm doing alright.
  • @RegularGuy I have thoroughly enjoyed reading m this entire post. I can relate to every single thing you felt, aside from the gf part. As a single, 40 yr old woman, I was mortified to find that I had contracted H, especially since I am not sexually active and haven’t been in quite some time. Even when I was, I always used protection. YES, I am 2 mths in from learning I am H+. Some days I feel “normal”, other days I feel unbearable guilt and disgust about myself. It’s a daily struggle, but eventually I’ll get the hang of it all.

    Thank you for such an inspirational post, even if you didn’t mean for it to be.
  • @lostandconfused99
    I think many people share similar things when they find out they have herpes. It has been reassuring to me to know that others have had similar experiences. More so that others have had it longer and feel less of the negative stuff.
    I'm glad you feel like you are on track for getting the hang of things!
    Keep being your kick ass self, herpes doesn't make the slightest difference in who you are!
Sign In or Register to comment.