A Herpes Diary: Overcoming Psychologically

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects the skin and mucous membranes of the genitals and is much more common in women than in men. Not only does it affect physically, but mental health is also damaged by the condition of the disease. During this, we will talk about the advantages of having a herpes diary and how it can improve your life, but first, you have to know a little about the disease.


How Is It Transmitted?

Couple kissing - herpes can be transmitted through such skin contact

The virus is transmitted from the infected person -present symptoms to not- to another during sexual intercourse, whether vaginal, anal, or oral, because the virus is found in the fluid in the blister and on the skin. Once the person is infected, the virus remains in his body in the nerve cells forever.

It exists two types of herpes virus (HSV):

  • HSV-1 (Herpes simplex virus type I). It often affects the mouth and lips and causes cold sores or fever blisters. It can also be transmitted while receiving oral sex from the mouth through the genitals.
  • HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus type II). It is the type of virus that almost always causes genital herpes. It can be transmitted through skin contact or oral or genital fluids (secretions). Genital infections caused by HSV-2 are more common in women than in men.


Symptoms

Woman sitting on the toilet having difficulty urinating

The virus can be more serious in newborns or people with weakened immune systems. The first outbreak usually occurs between two days and two weeks after becoming infected.

Genital symptoms include painful, small blisters filled with clear fluid. They are generally found on the external genitalia, that is, in the vagina, cervix, penis, scrotum, around the anus, and on the buttocks or thighs. They may also appear on the tongue, mouth, eyes, lips, fingers, and other parts of the body. 

Tingling, itching, burning, or pain may happen at the place where the sores will arrive before they do. The blisters can become ulcers when they break, causing a lot of pain. These sores crust over and heal slowly over seven to fourteen days or more.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Pain and difficulty urinating
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, malaise, decreased appetite, and swollen groin glands.

The first outbreak is the worst; after the first one, the outbreaks coming will be less severe and will last less time (most of the cases). They are more frequent during the first year, but, over the years, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease.

The virus can remain "asleep" (latent) for a long period and can "wake up" (reactivate) at any time as a result of physical or emotional stress, menstruation or illness. The pattern of outbreaks varies widely from one person to another. Some people carry the virus even though they have never had symptoms. Others may have a single outbreak or infrequent outbreaks.


Herpes Diary, Overcoming the Disease

My herpes diary with the date and symptoms page

Have you ever wondered why people write diaries? If you have or had one, surely you know the relief it represents and the help it gives us by writing down how we feel and seeing it again later when everything is improving. Herpes, as a sexually transmitted disease, is fiercely stigmatized, and the mental health of people who suffer from it can be affected.

Consider making a herpes diary, that is, a place where you can write how you feel, what has happened to your life, how you are living today. Surely if you have just contracted the disease, it can be difficult to write about all this, but it can be of great help; remember that herpes is not fatal, and some people have not had an outbreak in a long time with the correct treatments.

In addition to the herpes diary, you must meet more people with herpes; there are many support circles where people with genital herpes go to talk and help each other overcome all this because a life with herpes is still life and does not have to diminish its quality.

Consider writing the following points in your herpes diary:

  • Write about your feelings about it, how you feel with your family, with your friends, with a girl or boy that you like, etc., write about everything that is in your head about this topic and reflect on it, you will realize that there are things that have changed (naturally), and writing them down on paper will help you reflect and unburden yourself as well, but above all to move forward.
  • Make a calendar; your herpes diary can serve as a record of the symptoms you have, what your outbreaks are like, why they have happened, and on what date. This can help you to see how your disease is evolving with the treatments and also for the doctor you visit, and also write about how you feel about it, try home remedies approved by your doctor and write about the improvements or the effects that you produced.
  • Write about your new relationships, whether they are friendly or loving. Write how you feel meeting new people, and if you have a partner write how you feel about it; if you have talked with your partner about your illness, write how their reaction was and how you feel about it, use your herpes diary to shape your world and improve.
  • Write positive things. I am not saying that having genital herpes is something positive, and I do not wish it on anyone, but it is a reality, and due to the condition of the disease, it is very difficult to stop the infections. However, it is a change in your life, and the changes bring many other things to our life. Think about the positive things and write them down, if you have met new people in a herpes meeting, if you have informed yourself, if you have helped other people, if your way of thinking has changed for the better, the thing is to write all you can, use your herpes diary as a tool for yourself!

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