Herpes, My Blessing
My Herpes Diagnosis Story
I was diagnosed with Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) genitally in October 2019. For months leading up to my first initial outbreak and diagnosis, I was having what doctors and I thought was reoccuring "UTI's" (urinary tract infections). I had recieved multiple and regular STI check ups throughout the relationship I was in at the time, and nothing had showed up. Later on through my researching and learning around herpes I discovered that "herpes" is not actually included in the regular full STI screening.
The first 6 months of my diagnosis for me was quite literally a death of me, in so many ways. My initial outbreak was physically ecruciating, painful, traumatic and a sense of shock. The fear, shame, confusion, overwhelm, disbelief, blame, rage, heartbreak, stigmatised judgement, hatred, hurt, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, depression, and all the things came rushing in!
This was not all just about the stigmatised genital herpes/STI diagnosis. I didn't know it at the time but I grew to understand that many of the challenges, emotions, negativity, dark places, and shit that was surfacing and I was facing through this time were so much deeper than what could be seen on just the tip of the ice berg. My herpes diagnosis was definitely the switch that smashed everything the open, but it was only one part of the pain I was going through internally. It opened all the wounds, pains, the unconscious crap and life shit I had ever felt, experienced, thought about myself, others and the world. A herpes diagnosis is so much deeper than just an STI and virus, it is the door to opening your own healing, vulnerability and returning back to your own authenticity and truth, that we all lose sight of sometimes throughout our human experiences!
The emotional impact of being diagnosed with genital herpes is often worse than the virus it's self. It can also become a vicious cycle, where the mental and emotional stress of the stigma on us internally causes physical outbreaks and then the more outbreaks and severity of them we experience then the more mentally and emotionally stressed we become and a round about circle can keep going on and on.
When I was first diagnosed I was in a cycle just like this, intertwined with emotional stresses, self-worth issues, negative thoughts, blaming others, valid victim, unhealthy lifestyle choices, and a physically run down body. 2 hospital visits, reoccuring herpes outbreaks and thrush triggering each other back and forth for 6 months, drinking myself into numbness of finding a way to cope with it all because I couldn't understand or find a way out, believing I was ruined, that my vulva and mind was ruined forever and that no one would ever love me or touch me again, leaving my nursing career I'd worked so hard for and spending a year living alone on the sickness benefit, what a journey it has been!
If you are reading this, I imagine you are here because you can relate in some way or form of your own.
Whether you live with the herpes virus too, or maybe you know someone that lives with it, or maybe your unsure that you could/might have it or not, or the clinical testing says you don't live with the virus but your intuition tells you otherwise
You could just simply want to learn more about the depths of the virus or the impacts the stigmatised diagnois can open in our entire life, it could be STI's, mental health, sexual well-being or stigma in general or in your own way!
Maybe your feeling confusion, denial, chaotic shock, despair, hurt, rage, deceit, abandonment, betrayal, overwhelm or grief. Or maybe you are feeling the opening, the expansion, the willingness, the urge to walk into the acceptance, forgiveness, the stepping back into your power, the rebirth, the healing and the courage to get vulnerable and honest with yourself and freedom flow is coming.
Whether you experience physical outbreaks, or you are asymptomatic.
Maybe it's the mental and emotional f*ckery of herpes stigma that has brought you here.
Or maybe it is your own unique story and challenges that have led you here!
Regardless, you are here beautiful!
I want to give you a warm, gentle and love filled hug! I want to praise you for your courage! I want to hold you with hope and faith! I want to acknowledge you for the value you have on yourself and the other special people in your life! I want to say thank you for showing up, getting this far, and choosing to be here with us!
I want to remind you that you are beautiful, herpes and all!
I want you to know, that YOU ARE WORTHY!
I want let you know, that YOU ARE LOVABLE, YOU ARE LOVED and YOU CAN LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF AGAIN!
I am living freaking proof that it can get better, that you can heal too, that you can live wild, free and happy again, that you can find love within yourself and relationships again
x x x
I've got you darling
I am here for you
Our community is here for you
We're in this together; side by side, hand in hand, heart to heart, soul freeing soul
You are NOT alone!
Let's ride through the waves of life together
Commonly Asked Questions + Facts About Herpes
What is herpes?
Herpes is a common virus/viral skin condition, there are many different types and strands of the herpe virus. But the two types most commonly known are HSV-1 and HSV-2 (HSV = Herpes Simplex Virus).
What is the difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2?
They are two different "types" of the herpes virus, Herpes simplex virus type 1 and Herpes simplex virus type 2. HSV-1 is most typically located and likes to live orally (also known as cold sores). HSV-2 is most typically located and likes to live genitally. But both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can swap from oral to genital or genital to oral, and either type can be located anywhere on the body where there is a portal of entry for the virus. It is becoming increasingly common for genital herpes to be caused from HSV-1, by passing/transmitting through oral sex.
How is the herpes virus transmitted? Is it always contagious?
The Herpes virus is transmitted or passed through direct skin to skin contact, both orally, genitally or anywhere on the body.
The virus needs to be at a time that it is shedding and there needs to be a suitable portal of entry for the virus e.g. a micro-abrasion or minor tear or break in the skin. Then the skin to skin contact takes place.
The tricky thing about herpes is, it can be sneaky, lay dormant and also be asymptomatic. It is not always actively contagious and upto 80% of people who live with the herpes virus are asymptomatic and are not even aware they have the virus due to no or very mild symptoms.
Asymptomatic shedding is when the virus is actively shedding/contagious or being produced/shed but their is no noticable way to tell, no active outbreak and no symptoms.
Herpes is NOT transmitted through blood, sexual fluid, discharge, salivar (but please do note if there is an active outbreak, to avoid coming into contact with any fluid that may be present from any active or open ulcers/sores). People with genital herpes can still safely donate blood, swim, use the same showers and toilets as everyone else.
Healing Life With Herpes + Getting Down With Disclosure EBooks Coming soon...
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MR Herpz - Ep #1 The Ride Your Stigma Podcast
My personal story of my genital herpes diagnosis & initial outbreak. The crash + burn of me that created Ride Your Stigma and the UNSTOPPABLE mission on my heart, to crush the stigma around STI's and all things in life that are stigmatised in our world! I was diagnosed with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2) genitally in october 2019, it was a blessing in disguise and supported me to find myself and my passionate purpose! Click here to listen
Slightly Mental Podcast - Ep #4
Host Sam Says: This time I had a chance to talk to Madeline Lee who is a transformational mindset coach. Madeline’s challenges with mental health started when she was diagnosed with herpes. After dealing with a lot of stigma, physical, and emotional pain herself, she now helps other people get through their challenges in life. She has a “Ride your stigma” podcast, she is a multi-talented life coach, she teaches dancing and twerking, and spreads positive energy wherever she goes. Click here to listen/watch
Word Of The Bird Podcast - Ep #25
Host Jaydon Says: Madeline Lee is a certified mindset coach and runs her own coaching business Ride Your Stigma, where she uses her own life experience to help others turn their weaknesses into their strengths. Click here to listen/watch
Calm in the Chaos Podcast - Season 2 Ep #6
Host Emma Says: This week I am joined in conversation with Madeline Lee, Mindset Coach at Ride Your Stigma. After being diagnosed with Genital Herpes, Madeline began to unpack the shame, guilt, and stigma we as a society create around certain ailments and health matters. She now supports others to also come to a place of acceptance for their body and life while experiencing or living through health issues that still are considered taboo. Click here to listen
If you are looking for additional clinical and medical facts, stastics and information, please check out the Herpes Foundation New Zealand website as there is some useful stuff here too: https://www.herpes.org.nz/
or seek support from your GP, Nurse and Family Practice Health Centre or Sexual Health Clinic