When I was first diagnosed with genital herpes I was terrified.
In fact, I was feeling a lot of things at that time: anger, sadness, hopelessness, unlovable.
I spent the next year and a half focusing on healing all of these emotions and herpes.
I refused to believe herpes was a permanent visitor in my body. Part of my journey healing herpes from my body was physical, while the other part was very much emotional and mental. I looked at all levels of who I was and committed myself to being honest and vulnerable, not only with myself but also my partners.
It’s an incredible journey I still am on, and one that has totally changed my life.
Here are some of the awesome things herpes has taught me:
1) I’ve learned all about alkalinity.
I learned all about the alkaline diet, what it means, and how it affects the body. I learned an alkaline diet is a key component in keeping the body healthy and disease away because disease cannot live in an alkaline environment. I was able to experience this first hand when I went on a 100% alkaline diet for two and a half months.
During those two and a half months I had no outbreaks at all and felt the best I’ve felt in my life. I found articles and books stating that if one stays on an alkaline diet for six months to a year herpes would leave the body. From my experience and research: I believe it.
2) The importance of a reduced stress lifestyle.
My herpes is triggered majorly by stress. I had to figure out fast what causes me stress, what is good stress vs bad stress, and how to handle stress better. I found myself using yoga and meditation a lot, but I also focused on reducing the amount of stress in my life in general. I found myself planning my days in more relaxed ways and when a high stress situation was coming up I would plan for it. For example, when moving I would start the packing process early, take time off work, etc.
3) What healthy sex means for me.
When I engaged in the sex that gave me HSV-2 I wasn’t engaging in it from a healthy place.
I was having sex because I felt lonely, deserted, unhappy, and just generally, was in a state of low self-worth. The sex temporarily made me feel better but overall I felt worse. Add on getting diagnosed with genital herpes a few days later, and, well, I felt like no would ever love me again.
I’ve learned healthy sex means having conversations with my partner and talking about a lot of things I wouldn’t have made a priority in the past. It means having a partner who is willing to engage in these vulnerable conversations as much as I am. I’ve learned healthy sex means using my voice before, after, and during lovemaking.
4) I have a voice and I need to use it.
For a long time I struggled asking questions to protect myself because I was scared of using my voice. I would avoid conflict and avoid stating my needs because of that fear. I now actively engage in using my voice even when I’m terrified to ensure that I am safe and taken care of in whatever situations I find myself in. I ask questions despite my fears and I view using my voice as an act of self-love.
5) I’ve learned all about consent culture and enjoy creating it in my life.
After I received the diagnosis of HPV-2 I was sure no one would ever want me again. I also didn’t trust men. It was a strange situation all around for sure. I felt betrayed because the lover I had didn’t tell me he had HSV-2 so it wasn’t on the table of a possible dis-ease I would have after having sex with him – in my mind. I wasn’t aware of all the risks.
During my healing process I encountered at some local parties the Consent Crew. It’s a different way of operating in relationships that feels quite a bit safer for me, and automatically men who practice consent culture tend to be more trustworthy for me.
This is because consent culture is big on asking questions and respecting boundaries for whatever they are. Consent culture is huge on “anything other than a yes means no,” which I love. I find consent culture creates a connection in the relationship rather than rushing to “get” something.
6) I had anger issues.
During my healing process I saw a lot of anger coming to the surface of my life. The majority of the anger was directed at various men in my life, men as a whole, and at myself. I went through a long process to work through that anger and shift to a state of forgiveness for myself and men. It was a deeply challenging process I’m still working through today but one that’s totally worth it.
I believe I would still have a lot of underlying anger if I hadn’t received herpes. It gave me a vehicle to go into “victim” state and witness anger exploding at innocent people.
7) I’ve learned it’s okay for me to be different.
In fact, its probably better that I am.
When I received the virus I was at a festival wandering around. I wasn’t into one night stands, nor drugs, nor alcohol. My friends were into most of the aforementioned and had gone out to party hard. Thus I was feeling like I didn’t fit in. I actually remember having the thought process along the lines of: “Everyone has one night stands, and there are a lot of one night stands happening right now. Why can’t I have a one night stand and just enjoy it for what it is? Why can’t I just let myself be ‘normal’ for once?”
Well, because I’m not everyone else! I am me! And that’s okay. It’s perfectly okay to be me and not “fit in” to what my friends are doing.
It taught me that by not accepting who I am and allowing it to be okay I might put myself in harmful or dangerous situations—ones I’d rather not experience.
And that’s okay.
Beyond everything, herpes gave me the courage to change my life and live it in ways that are not part of the norm. I changed my diet, priorities and focus. It made me dance to my own rhythm even more as I realized other people do not care about me as much as I do.
And that’s okay.
Author: Mystic Yogini
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Wiki Commons