I have herpes. ‘My heart is beating outside of my chest, terrified at the very thought of speaking these words aloud, still after all these years. But I want to share my pretty little secret with you.
I have herpes.
Such a simple little sentence. 3 little words, but so hard for me to say.
For a long time, I didn’t even call it that, I couldn’t even say the word, herpes. I would call it X. I would write in my journal, X. X everywhere. X marked the spot.
I don’t know why…no, we’ll I do know why. At the time, I felt dirty, ashamed ummmm yeh that word was really hard to hear, it was hard to accept.
I felt like it was so unfair, that I had been so careful and I had take precautions and I didn’t feel like THIS should happen to me. I was so young ummmm
Now I can look at it and see that my reaction at the time was as if I had a death sentence and I can see and put it in perspective and see that it hasn’t ruined my life but at the time, as a young woman I certainly felt like this was going to ruin my life, how would I ever tell a partner, how would I ever have a healthy loving relationship, who would want to be with somebody like me.
All of those questions that I think a lot of people go through when they have experienced anything that has some kind of stigma attached to it.
You know it was heart breaking to me. I felt violated…
When I interview people on my show I ask them about their different adversities and struggles and the one question I ask is ‘what do you feel was taken from you’.
And for me, I felt my freedom was taken, my youth. Because I wasn’t free to just meet people and have fun in relationships, to get to know someone.
It took away the joy of getting meeting someone and getting to know them and finding out if it would go somewhere. And it didn’t take that away, I did because that’s how I ummm reacted to it and, and the hold it had over me.
You know, I, I allowed that to happen to me though, I let it have that hold on me and I can see that now.
It’s something that is always there for you and you always have to think about it.
That was why I choose to share my story, that ‘I have herpes’ I thought that if one person could know their not alone it would be worth it.
Just know that we are never alone, there are so many people going through what ever it is that you’re going through. That was why I started the show. I wanted to interview people that would tell their stories and share what had once been a dirty little secret that held guilt and shame for them and they were not able to share that and in not sharing it we hide who we are and we carry those feelings of guilt, shame and dirtiness in some way when were not able to talk about it.
Since sharing this video and my story, many have reached out asking for support. I have created a playlist of videos on how I have ‘the talk’, dating with herpes, living with an STD, shame, stigma & secrets amongst other things. Click here to watch the free resource videos. You can also watch my TEDx talk ‘you’re only as sick as your secrets‘ here.