Living with genital herpes for nearly 14 yrs

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    Hello. (I realize after writing this all out how long it was but please bare with me) As my title states, it will be 14 years I’ve lived with herpes this coming year. It has been a very hard 14 yrs. I am finally reaching out after all this time because I have never come across a person in my situation that can relate and understand. I never talk about it or very very rarely talk about it with anyone. If I do mention something, its very broad and the conversation is over after a minute. A few people in my life know but they will never understand my feelings. This is my first ever attempt at a support group. I hope to find women who share my experiences and feelings and to be able to actually talk about it.

    I guess I should start from the beginning? I started dating a guy I had no business dating. I was 18 about to graduate high school and he was nearly 10 years older than me. It was a rebound from my first ever boyfriend who broke my heart. I lost my virginity to him just shy of my 17th birthday. Any way, I only dated the rebound guy for 3 months. I wanted to call it off after 6 weeks. He was emotionally abusive and would throw things at me but made sure they never hit me.I never broke up with someone before. It took me another 6 weeks to distance myself and finally call it off just after graduation.

    I had my annual OB appt a month or two later and we randomly checked for STDs. I was heart broken when she called me to tell me I had genital herpes. I reached out to my first boyfriend to let him know and he tested negative. There was only 1 other person I called and freaked out on him, crying and yelling. He had an indication that something could be up but never told me. My first boyfriend and I rarely used condoms. Bad habit learned and carried on on to the rebound. I was 18, right out of high school and thought my life was over at that point. I have always been self conscious, shy and had body image issues. I was also an undiagnosed depressed person. Well after finding out my new diagnosis, the depression got worse. For years up until recently, I was told its just anxiety, your not depressed.

    So I’m 18, starting college and finding out I have genital herpes. I focused on my school work and regular work. It helped by keeping me distracted. I did not have sex again until after I turned 21 nor attempted dating anyone. I was ashamed. At this point, a lot of things changed in my life. Right after my birthday in January, I found out I had thyroid cancer. Benign thankfully but still cancer nonetheless. Had my surgery in June and went back to work after 6 weeks even though the doctor highly recommended I was out for 3 months. I worked at a pizza place prior to surgery, living on my own and had a car payment. I was barely making it by as it was. I immediately started working 2 jobs. I barely slept or ate. If I did, it either pizza or food from the gas station I also worked at. By the time my meds were adjusted correctly from the surgery, months later, I had gained 80lbs in that time frame. Maybe 6 months? While all this was going on, I started sleeping around. A friend I had shared my secret with said I need to live my life and I did not have to tell ppl I had it as long as I was safe about it. So I did just that. I started drinking heavily as well that year. Going to the bar any chance I got and going home with whoever bought me drinks. I refer to it as my slut year. We all have them I suppose.

    Well the year ended, my roommate and best friend was going to move in with her boyfriend. So here I am at the end of my 21st year, past broke, slight alcoholic, slutting around, and 80lbs heavier. I ended up moving back home with the parents before Christmas in 2012. Here begins the severe depression. I also stopped having sex again at this point. I slept any time I could, ate my feelings and hid myself away from the world. I had lots of friends. I stopped talking to all of them except my 1 best friend who has always been there for me. Fast forward to 2015, I started school again. Still havent dated or had sex with anyone. I graduated in 2017 and started a job right away at a medical office. At thia time I started to feel a bit better so I tried dating again. My first date was late spring in 2018. I was so nervous. I had a panic attack on my way to meet him. I couldn’t breath, I was shaking, sweating and crying uncontrollably. My bff calmed me down but was still shaking when I meet my date. It went ok and I ended up telling him on the second date. I didn’t want to waste his time with me and liking me if he wasn’t ok with the one part of me. He was the first guy I had shared it with. He took it ok and we talked for awhile but never went anywhere. Still haven’t had sex at thia point.

    I have talked to a lot of men. I never knew when the correct time was to tell someone. I was online dating and my thought, again, was to not waste their time. So I would share with some of them after we talked for awhile. Some very terrible things were said to me over and over again. Depression spike again. I stopped dating. I tried on and off over the years since then.

    Jump again to Oct 2019. I had bariatric surgery. My weight was out of control and tried many things over the years and could never lose weight. I was nearly 280lbs. I started losing weight and felt a bit better. Another jump to March 2020 and covid. I worked in a specialist medical office. We could not close. My coworker left for another office in may and I ended up being the only receptionist until october. I was alone for 6 months in a busy office. A lot of things fell to me. Correction, everything fell on me. The doctors would come up to me asking how to order something. I was having problems with how I spoke to some patients but I was so stressed, started gaining weight again and my boss was horrible. One example, doc wants a CT on a patient who just found out they had cancer at 4pm on a friday. These require authorization from insurance. I had a part time girl who came in on Wednesday and was told by my manager that it can wait until so and so came in on Wednesday. Said patient then calls Monday afternoon or Tuesday asking for an update on CT scan. I would be the one to say it wasn’t even started yet and this obviously upset the patient. I started an HR case against her. She wrote me up 2 times after that within 6 weeks. It put me on probation which I got through just fine. 1 month after it endes, 6 months after the HR case, I was fired for basically asking a patient a question to determine the urgency of it. I was devestated. This was the beginning of 2021. Begin another spike of depression.

    2 weeks before I was fired, I went on a date for the first time since 2018. It seemed to go ok and he was ok with my secret. We had sex. This was the first time I had sex since the end of 2012. Its the end of 2020. I called it off after 3 months. He wasn’t for me At this point, I was unemployed, super depressed and had no idea what to do with life. Thankfully I had a part time job already but it was only 8 hrs a week. I knew I needed to speak help for my depression. So after years and years I started seeing a counselor and doctor. Finally diagnosed as depressed. At one point my mommy mentioned phlebotomy as a possible career. There was a huge shortage do to covid. Its been 1 year at this point. I looked into and met with an instructor about taking a course. I signed up to begin in October 2021. I took the entire year off to focus on myself. I still worked part time and was able to pick up some hours but no more than 20. I tried a few different meds throughtout the year. I started taking one around the time I started school in October. I have been on it since then.

    Begin year 2022. I get hired on the spot as a phlebotomist in January. I’ve been excelling. I finally found the right path. My depression medication has been a god send. I have never felt this good in my life. I am happy, most days. I dont get easily angry or upset. I really have never felt so good. Its amazing to realize that I’ve been undiagnosed for so long. Things may have been different. I started dating again, talking to more men than I ever have. I did go on a date recently but still havent had sex since beginning of 2021. Its been almost 2 years.

    Overall, thats my story up to now. For the most part. I am still struggling mentally with the genital herpes. For as much time that has passed, I still feel ashamed and disgusted with myself. I still get told or called terrible things by people and I cant help but agree with them because I already feel that way. Im nearly 32. My last boyfriend was when I was 18 and ive had sex with 1 person in the last 10yrs. I am scared of relationships. I dont know how to be. I accepted so long ago that I will just be alone and no one will ever love me. I still feel like that still sometimes. I try not to be in that mind set but its hard to break something you truely believed for so long. I am trying to get out of my comfort zone since I’ve started feeling better about myself. But now I feel extremely lonely and almost desperate feeling. I still feel disgusted with myself most of the time. I just want someone to talk to when I start having doubts and bad feelings regarding my herpes.

    I know this was super long and if you read all of it, thank you for listening. I just want support from someone who truely understands how I feel about this part of myself. Thank you again for listening.


    Hello Ann. My name is Cathi and I just joined this group and I have been living with this disease for almost 40 years. I have also lived with the same embarrassment shame and feeling disgusting about myself for all these years. I am disappointed to see that you had no replies or encouragement from this forum. I was also hoping to find some support and comfort here. I would love to chat with you further if you’re still a member on this! Hope you’re doing well.

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