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I tortured myself for years around this whole genital herpes thing. I went through plain denial, I played the victim, I told myself I was worthless, I carried around enough shame to put Donald Trump down. I wasn’t strong enough to have the herpes talk, to tell the truth to everyone I was with, even though I was as safe as possible so they wouldn’t get herpes. The inability to find the strength in myself to do that hurt more than anything.

I realize now that it was ultimately my decision to put myself through all of the pain and regret. It was a subconscious decision at the time, but a decision nonetheless. I had the blatantly wrong belief that having herpes meant that other people would see me differently, in a negative light. I made that my reality.

So now through much self-reflection, I realize that those emotions and beliefs that I used to blame on herpes were already inside me, just deeper down in a place I didn’t regularly get to. Herpes only amplified those feelings of shame and self-doubt and lack of self-love. I have seen over and over again in my life that one’s pain can also be one’s gift. Working on the root of the problem (my own core values and feelings about myself) helps the negative associations with herpes start melting away; and when I think of helping others recognize the same thing, I get shivers down my spine and giddy excitement rushes through my body. We’re on the right path.

So that is why I am writing this today. The reason is twofold … one, I want to remind you that going through your pain is a doorway into deeper self-reflection, and that coming out the other side of that pain can lead to new awareness, self-growth and self-appreciation if you’re open to it … and two, I want to continually remind myself of what I have discovered so that I won’t soon forget.

And to be honest, there are times when I still go through my negative spots as anyone tends to do, but those times are much fewer these days. I’ve found that it’s only when I go into unconsciousness that I allow those old self-defeating thought patterns to kick-start themselves back into usage. When I snap to, I am reminded of what I have found: that I am as worthy as I believe myself to be. Herpes or not. And you are, too.

So you probably have already got it by now; this isn’t really about herpes at all. Herpes is the tool to help recognize something deeper. It’s really about you. Are you ready? Let’s start now.

What this blog is not

If you are brand new to herpes and want basic information on the virus, there are some awesome resources out there, a few of the major ones being WebMD or ashastd.org. Here are some great (free!) offerings for you to speak to a knowledgeable operator directly:
(919) 361-8488 (M-F, 9a-7p EST)
(206) 344-2539 (MWF 6:30-9p EST)

What this blog is
This blog serves as a roadmap to not only living, but thriving, with herpes. Herpes will hold you back no more. We will be going from the central premise that you are the focus in your life, not herpes. In a way, you can take “herpes” and then substitute it with anything that you perceive as negative in your life and the core message of this blog will still have relevance. And it’s a message that has been shared throughout the ages in many different ways in any of the self-help books you pick up (sorry ahead of time for giving away all of their endings): you’re whole just as you are. You belong. Yes, right now. Not only that, but these writings are about using herpes as a tool for living an authentic life. You might notice some repetition, or the same things said but in different ways; as they say, repetition is the daughter of learning. G.K. Chesterton said it another way: “We need to be reminded more than we need to be instructed.”

Ultimately, we know that we deserve happiness on some level, which is why we might feel so much pain … if we didn’t know our potential to feel good, then we wouldn’t feel bad. The opposite of feeling great isn’t feeling horrible … it’s feeling indifferent. Feeling bad means there’s still that part of you that knows there’s something more.

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  • #1 written by Lisa
    about 8 years ago

    Gosh – I totally agree – but… it’s hard to get where you are! Sometimes I feel like words are all I have… and your right – you snap out of it and have to dig deeper within yourself…. it makes you a stronger person for sure. I wonder how can you stay in that happy place and move forward by not taking a few steps back?

  • #2 written by reservedextrovert
    about 8 years ago

    This is an awesome blog! Thank you my dear! What I am reading here reminds me of the positive, not defined by herpes attitude I had when I was first diagnosed…I was a mere baby in my twenties…lol. I spoke of it freely, I educated and enlightened folks when I could, I did not ever hang my head, and I did not expect people to shun me (probably because I would not have shunned them…funny how we project). Then one day a friend pulled me aside and said I should stop running around telling people I have herpes…I should realize that it is embarrassing and gross and that nobody wants to know this information. I was stunned…I felt so foolish. I immediately zipped my lips and began to feel worse and worse about myself. Now at fifty-something…I’m a …well, a reserved extrovert whose lip is still zipped on the subject, and I still feel foolish…but now not because I have herpes and I dared to talk about it but because I realize I let this world steal my joy. I’m glad I found this blog…thanks again!

  • #3 written by admin
    about 8 years ago

    Wow! This made my day! I totally agree that the negative power (embarrassment, shame, sadness) that herpes has over us has everything to do with the fact that we keep it so under wraps. If we start tellin’ it like it is, then people recognize it’s not as big a deal that people have made it out to be. Thanks for the comment!

  • #4 written by reservedextrovert
    about 8 years ago

    I have noticed though that most folks feel all ashamed at first and then learn to loosen up…I did it the other way around…leave it to beaver doin things “bass akwards”…LOL…there’s one thing that can NEVER be taken away from me though and that’s my sense of humor…my daddy gave it to me and I swear I hope I die laughin’…I’m going to spread the word about this blog…chat soon!

  • #5 written by Lori
    about 8 years ago

    Reservedextrovert: I loved that you said when you were in your 20’s that you spoke of your herpes freely! … How refreshing… because really you were acting normal and not ashamed. If we all were able to talk so freely then it wouldn’t be such a big secret… meanwhile so many people have it and most people (in the U.S. anyway) are to afraid to talk about it because std/herpes = sexually promiscuis or slut or loose… meanwhile anyone can get it and herpes does not equal bad it just means that we have a virus. Ahhh and yes … so good to have a sense of humor about it.

  • #6 written by Lynn
    about 8 years ago

    So I’ve recently, like 4 days ago, discovered I had HSV-1 genital herpes and I’m still in high school; just got my first real boyfriend who was unaware he had it orally and well … I’m sure the rest is assumable. This blog has really made me look at this in a new light. I still have my amazing boyfriend who kept his cool about it when I didn’t. I freaked out and I realize this worrying was pointless. Its just a skin condition that does go away even though not completely. My sex life, though not really started isn’t over and I still can have sex with protection and not during an outbreak. I did compare myself with others and I guess I’ll take the outbreaks, if anymore, as they come. But its thanks to this blog that I realize that I can still have a normal life and sex life given the right precautions.

  • #7 written by admin
    about 8 years ago

    Lynn, thank you for sharing yourself like that. I would love to talk with you about what you may be going through. It sounds like you definitely have a great and positive outlook. Remember that it’s a process and that you have plenty of people to help you if you need it. I would love to be one of those people for you.