As a doctor, transformational coach, and 20-year carrier of the herpes virus, I have the unique opportunity of openly talking about the emotional pain and stigma that a herpes diagnosis brings.
I start all my coaching calls with a quick meditation, to center my clients and to have them receive a glimpse of peace and tranquility. After they become more conscious of their breath and their thoughts slow down a bit, I ask them to tell me their story about living with herpes.
For many women, this is their first opportunity to disclose their deep, dark secret of herpes and with it often comes tears and despair. I sit quietly as they share and open their hearts to a stranger, whom they know will not judge them. I too had to tell my story for the first time when I was 23 years old and I remember how painful and humbling that story was.
After they are able to share their whole story from past to present, I tell them that we are going to take some time to look into their future. I ask them to “wave a realistic magic wand and tell me what it is that they want to create in the next 6 months to a year in terms of health and romance.”
It is at this very point when the phone line often goes silent and their voice quivers, their breath becomes choppy again and tears start pouring down their faces. Many women are nearly speechless at this point because the thought of their future seems bleak.
They start by sharing everything that they DON’T WANT, like the…
–SHAME of herpes
-feeling DIRTY or DAMAGED or
-constantly thinking about the symptoms of herpes
And then I ask again with a loving voice and an open heart, I ask…if that is what you don’t want, what do you want?
It is so hard for them to answer this question about their future, for many of them have absolutely given up hope.
With some guidance, I ask them if I were to have asked them before their diagnosis, what would they say. Many then say that they actually want a loving relationship and partnership. They want open communication, a companion, someone to love them and someone to share their lives with. Many also would love to start a family and have happy and healthy children.
With some coercing, if they are single, I ask….if you could, would you want to get married someday? And then the truth comes out….
They would love to say Yes To The Dress
and yet the fear of rejection, isolation, feeling dirty and shameful or fearing that their secret might get out there stops them dead in their tracks.
That is what I often serve on my first conversation with women with herpes.
Hope, Healing, and Happiness are still available for any woman with herpes.
While you might not want to get married, herpes should not keep you from living out your dreams of vibrant health, love, and partnership.
I forget who said…”Without a vision people perish” and yet I know it is true.
Wherever you are on your journey with herpes, I am here to tell you that it is time to start dreaming again.
Start by asking yourself these questions
1. What do I want?
2. What would I need to believe to create this in my life?
3. What actions would I need to take?
It all starts with a little bit of hope and a vision for what you really want.
I was diagnosed with genital herpes at 23 years old and I thought my life was ruined. I am here today to tell you that I am living the life of my dreams, happily married and raising an amazing little girl.
I would never have thought this could be a reality.
If you are a woman with herpes in despair, start dreaming again and then take one action today in the direction of your dreams.
Reach out and get the support you need.
There is no cure but community.