It Gets Better After A Herpes Diagnosis. Don’t Give Up.
I asked 90 Something Positive for Positive People podcast listeners who are living with herpes if they’ve ever experienced depression, self-harm tendencies, suicide ideation or ever attempted suicide before. Nearly everyone experienced depression, but what was most shocking to me is that 6% of people surveyed attempted suicide.
I have an ugly relationship with suicide. I had an aunt and a high school teammate, and two distant relatives who ended their own lives. I will never know what they were going through to make them feel such a loss of control over their lives that the pain became so unbearable that they would rather have just not been here any longer. Honestly that part doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they needed something that wasn’t there for them when they did.
I have close relatives who’ve threatened suicide when I was younger and I didn’t understand. I didn’t know what it meant when my relative stated they wanted to drive their car over a bridge, or said things like, “I just want to die”. It was after I got my herpes diagnosis that I started to visit these memories in retrospect. People kill themselves. Some of these people receive a positive herpes diagnosis and that MAY be a reason. With all the shame and stigma that comes with a herpes diagnosis, there’s no telling if that despair, loss of control and whatever other dark emotions that come up are a result of a herpes diagnosis — because we just don’t know.
I can’t take a chance on that, not even with strangers. Who’s to say my aunt, my step-brother, my high school teammate didn’t experience what the 6% of people who took this survey experienced?
We don’t have any places to go after the test results come in. We get information but that information only reinforces that we are a statistic now. There’s no connection, no humanity, no . . . support.
I don’t know what the people in my life needed to hear or have readily available to them when they were experiencing what they went through that drove them to suicide. I don’t. But I can damn sure tell you that as long as I’m capable, the reason for another suicide won’t be because of a herpes diagnosis.
The findings from this survey are exactly what I need in order to prove how necessary it is that stigma be addressed and that a resource like spfpp be distributed among places people may receive a positive diagnosis so that they can get the support they need afterwards. To anyone who needs to hear this. In this moment, right here right now, it would not be as it is without you here. YOU ARE NECESSARY!
The Crisis Text Line offers 24/7 FREE crisis support.