You are an amazing human. There is nothing that will ever happen to you or that you can do to ever change that- ever. You are considerate, thoughtful and utterly perfect. Don’t let anyone, yourself included, tell you any different.
I just had to get that off my chest, first.
The truth is, having herpes can suck- and in the beginning, just the knowing, in and of itself, SUCKS. More than the symptoms, more than an actual expression, the knowing and the over-thinking is absolutely handsdown the worst part of the diagnoses. The feelings you are feeling? They are important and common and the mourning and sense of loss often needs to occur, but don’t let it linger.
Please read more here about Shame and Herpes and don’t just think of the bad things you bring to the table, think of all the amazing things that you have to offer. You are not a diagnosis, a series of letters attached irrevocably to your name. You are a complete, amazing and wonderful human with a fuckton to offer and anyone who can’t see past HSV simply isn’t meant to be with you.
As far as HSV goes, for some it can actually be a kind blessing in disguise, it sounds utterly counter-intuitive but hidden-albatross (one of many amazing herpes blogs on tumblr!) says it perfectly here:
- I take into consideration my daily activities and how it affects my health. As the saying goes, what you do everyday means a lot more than what you do once in awhile. Because herpes slightly suppresses one’s immune system and the likelihood of an expression increases when one is stressed, it is really important to keep in mind how I treat my body. What I eat, how much I exercise, how stressed out I am, etc. Before herpes, I never really paid much attention to my body; know I am a lot more aware of what is going on.
- My dating life is more well thought of. Usually when someone becomes diagnosed, their first consideration is the fact that no one will ever love them. That is not true. Definitely not true. If someone really loves you, they’ll accept you 100%. If it wasn’t for the herpes, I would have gladly stepped into a relationship even if I knew the guy was either bad for me or was a complete douche-bag. However now having herpes, I have to take into consideration someone else’s health. If this person is a good person, is logical when it comes to arguments and whether or not they’ll accept me after the fact.
- Herpes allowed me to accept the ideals that I thought were wrong. Before I was diagnosed, I had thought that only sluts/whores (which are terrible sexist terms by the way) had/got herpes. Of course, that is not true. The herpes simplex virus can be transmitted via physical touch, not just being intimate with an individual. It also allowed me to re-evaluate sexism in society and the lack of proper (health) education that individuals have. Herpes made me realize how inconsiderate and closed minded I was. Now, I am definitely a lot more accepting of others and willing to understand the irrational victim-blaming syndrome.
Now I’m not stating herpes is amazing and that everyone should get it just ‘cause. But I just wanted others to understand that herpes isn’t so bad. It really is all about acceptance, understanding and patience with one self.
Earthwindandherpes goes on to echo that sentiment and I’m here to tell you personally that past the initial devastation? Past the countless hours tracking the #herpes tag on tumblr and sobbing, or becoming enraged with every new ‘I hope you get herpes’ adage, I pressed on to become a happier healthier human and you will too.
Herpes makes you take better care of yourself and be more picky. It weeds out those who just want to fuck and fuck with you, for whom anyone would do, to those who truly love you as a whole and complete human and are willing to take that risk because you are 110% worth it.
For me and I think many others out there in tumblrland, HSV was the catalyst which initiated my love for safer sex and sex positivity for everyone. It can make you empathetic and hyper-aware of the devastating lack of good information out there and the misinformation floating around everywhere. Other people are talking about HSV for you, speaking from a place of fear or ignorance or a history of being lied to. You don’t have to let them speak for you.
There are so many myths about herpes.
One myth includes one of my favorites- lil baby things. And guess what? You can definitely have kids with an HSV diagnosis!
The fact is:
Many people living with herpes give birth to healthy babies. However, if you have herpes it is important for you to let your healthcare provider know so he or she can monitor you for symptoms. If at the time of your labor you have any sores on your cervix, vagina, or the skin around your vagina, or if you’re experiencing symptoms like tingling or burning, your provider will recommend a caesarean section to prevent transmission of the virus to your baby. If you don’t have any symptoms, you can safely have a vaginal delivery.
As far as medication goes.
I personally took a holistic/alternative medicine approach, but Planned Parenthood is AMAZING as well for anything from treatment to lydocaine shots to incredibly important emotional support as well.
Planned Parenthood Upper Hudson:
I’m under 18 and I don’t have insurance. Will I have to pay for my visit?
Most uninsured minors, and many students over 18, can use our health centers for free, either by qualifying for a no-pay rate on our fee-scale or by signing up for a free health insurance program here in our office. (Click here to read more about the program.) We can’t guarantee all services will be free in all cases, but we will do everything we can to make sure you can get the services you need.
I have insurance, but it’s through my parents. Will they find out about my visit?
Different insurance companies have different policies, but many send home an explanation of benefits (EOB) that list visit details. The best way to know for sure is to call the customer services number on the back of your insurance card and ask.
If your insurance company does send out an EOB, and confidentiality is an issue, UHPP can often help you sign up for free, confidential coverage in our health center. Click here to learn about the programs, coverage, and eligibility, or call (518) 434-5678.
This is from Planned Parenthood in Upper Hudson, so please make sure to check here for a local Planned Parenthood and Here for a family planning clinic in your area .
As for slut-shaming?
It happens. But your sexuality is no one’s business but your own, and anyone who tries to oppress or suppress the fact that you are a beautiful, sexual human being (much like we all are) is speaking from a place of shame, ignorance or displaced morality that has absolutely nothing to do with you. Anything anyone has to say about things that don’t affect them? It’s typically them reciting the dialogue they tell themselves, it’s sad, but don’t be scared of them.
Understand that they’re just scared. Scared of how strong and awesome you are to express your sexuality despite having to deal with more than they might have to. Scared of your ability to possibly see through them. Scared that your existence might change them. Scared that your ability to get past whatever shame they hold onto somehow speaks volumes about them, but it doesn’t.
Don’t concern yourself with the shame of others. Work on you, be in the moment. Take care of yourself shamelessly. Love yourself without limit, even when you don’t feel worthy, even when other people might tell you you don’t deserve it. Even when it seems selfish and self-centered and absolutely uncomfortable.
You can think in the future about this amazing child, that exists only in your mind’s, future and health, but put yourself first. Realize how caring and thoughtful you are, but how detrimental and draining it truly is to worry.
And your parents?
They can know when the time is right. Which will be exactly when you’ve told yourself you can handle it or when you truly need the support. Parents can be an great asset and addition to your team and if you believe that they will be, by all means let them, but if it is better for your health to not stress yourself out then it is not your responsibility to tell them.
If you choose to inform them, tell them that you were diagnosed with HSV and it sucks and you can understand if they need time to digest it for awhile but you are dealing with it as best you can and you are looking to be at peace. Anything they have to add to your quest to love yourself again is much welcome, but you have already tore yourself apart enough and you have no more room for anyone else’s shame.
Do it somewhere private with an easy escape route and, if you think that they are going to explode or cause you further pain- end the conversation.
It is not your responsibility to justify yourself as a being worthy of unconditional love to them, and furthermore, it’s not your responsibility to enlighten them. You know them best and as you’ve said they are closed-minded, be open to the idea of them astonishing you with love and acceptance, but be prepared to shut the door on any shame they want to pile on.
Herpes attacks often when you are stressed out, when your body cannot take anymore assaults to your immune system. Remember that always. That unnecessary stress, more than you need or can handle, it simply is no longer worth it. Herpes gave me this beautiful gift of a zen attitude because I know my body cannot handle my affinity for self-loathing and taking on too much.
Invest in yourself.
Learn the Secrets of Self Loving and quiet your mind to thoughts of everyone else’s feelings and needs and think about yourself. Put on your own oxygen mask first, because you need it, because you’re worth it.