So today, whilst in work, I cocked up. Whilst talking about fruit, I happened to mention I had eaten a little orange fruit that looked like a tomato called Syphalis….. I meant Physalis! Anyway, my cock up started a discussion on Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
It was all jokey. I gave some facts that despite being “clean” that 8 out of 10 of us are carrying a sexually transmitted infection/disease without any symptoms. Which lead to a comment, which my brain completely over-reacted to. The comment was said in jest, with no malice behind it at all. I knew that, but I still reacted with the need to defend myself.
It resulted in me fully disclosing my HSV status to my entire team and some. Not exactly how I wanted to go about it but hey, as soon as the words were out there, I couldn’t take them back.
“Well, actually, I am. I have had Herpes since I was 9.”
“I caught it when I was sexually assaulted.”
“It went undiagnosed for 20 years, despite being very symptomatic and suffering greatly with it.”
To be fair, despite my mind going off on a fucking tangent about how filthy I am and how none of my team will speak to me again and that I will lose everything, the initial reaction was that of wanting to understand. To be taught how different the myths about herpes are to the facts.
I know I am not a dirty person, neither is anyone else who has an STD. Regardless of how you contracted the extras, you are still you. You are still a person who is worthy of love and affection.
With what happened today, I became very aware that I am due on (YAY HORMONES!!!), I am currently at the start of some nice new lesions and that there are still certain topics of conversation that trigger quite intense responses. I didn’t want to blurt that information out. Personally, I’d have been quite happy to have kept it to myself, but I did blurt. I am not ashamed of my status. It doesn’t define me.
People still don’t understand that Herpes isn’t an uncomfortable skin issue. It does come with some serious health implications. The fact that it can knock you on your arse, leave you physically and mentally exhausted, along with having a sore under-carriage.
Anyway, I think the only way to challenge how people think about shit like this is by reminding them, that there is someone around them, on their Facebook list, who has seen or heard them laughing and joking about stuff like this and have felt even shittier about their own situation. They won’t trust you and they won’t want to talk to you.
I don’t want people feeling like I do, dirty and unloved, because of a fucking health condition.
What you do and how you act says more about you as a person than what has happened to you.
Lots of love.