Count the number of friends you have and then divide that number by 4, maybe even 3. The number you get is the number of friends you have who are in the same position as you are. They, like you, are just not talking about it, not confiding in friends, just like you aren't. Now count all the people you know and divide again. This is the number of people you know who have the same problem. It's a pretty big number isn't it? You are definitely not alone, not in the world, not even in your circle of friends.
A lot of people are hesitant to come to their first meeting because they're afraid to run into a friend or someone they know. When I first attended a meeting I was hoping to run into someone I knew. I was hoping that I'd then be able to confide in an existing friend. After all, if they were there, then they were in the same boat as me, right?
Before I found Metro Detroit HELP, I was acutely depressed. I did not want to live because of herpes, but was too scared to commit suicide. Each day I hoped that I would die. Psychiatric treatment and medication had done nothing for me. I learned of the group accidentally from a member when I answered a comment on a herpes web page. I was too embarrassed to come to a meeting, but that compassionate member agreed to meet me at the front door of Blue Cross/Blue Shield and walk into the meeting with me. Everyone there had experienced the same emotional turmoil that had plagued me too long. No one asked how I got it or judged me. I found acceptance and friendship in the diverse group.
No, the group is not composed of weirdos and prostitutes, but ordinary people coping with a wide-spread virus. Yes, some members have found acceptance from people who do not have herpes. That gave me hope. I'm learning to accept myself and deal with herpes responsibly. The group, especially the member who escorted me through the door, saved my sanity and my life, helping me to get on with the business of living with herpes. Today, I want to live a long time and look forward to every new day and challenge. Death is the farthest thing from my mind. I recommend that others come to a meeting. You'll find support, friendship and people who care. Words alone cannot express my gratitude, but I thank Metro Detroit HELP for all the support and friendship they have given me.
I was afraid to come to the meetings at first. I thought that the meeting would be filled with prostitutes and losers. I thought that I would not be able to relate to anyone there. I knew about the meeting for several years before I finally got up the nerve to attend one of the meetings. When I finally did go, I found that my stereotype of who attended these meetings was completely wrong. Everyone was normal. I can't describe the relief I felt when I finally could talk about herpes openly with people who did not judge me. At the first meeting, I met several women and we exchanged phone numbers and became friends. It helped so much to have someone to talk to. I think that it is a good idea for everyone who has herpes to attend the meeting at least once or twice. Since herpes is such a complex issue, it helps to get feedback from other people who are in the same boat.
I have learned to deal with this in a responsible way and I have also learned to accept myself, herpes and all. I have to say that Metro Detroit HELP has played the biggest role in helping me to overcome this hurdle and go on with my life. I would like to let everyone know that the meetings are a good thing and you should check it out for yourself. Too many people with herpes go into denial. I know this, because I did it myself. But the thing is, when you are in denial, you are not accepting who you really are and you are not allowing anyone else to accept you either. There are alot of worse things than herpes and no one is perfect. There was a time when I thought I could never tell anyone. But now, I realize that this is something I cannot change and if someone has a problem accepting it, then to hell with them (although I am careful about whom I share this information with). I know I am a good person and I am worthy of someone who will accept me and love me for exactly who I am. It took me awhile to get to this point and I want to thank the group for all the friendships and support I have found at Metro Detroit HELP. I know I wouldn't have made it this far if it wasn't for the group. Once again, I would like to encourage anyone who has herpes to attend one of the meetings. It helped me and I know it can help you. Thanks, MDH!!!