“I didn’t recognize who I saw when I looked in the mirror. I slowly descended into a salt bath on the night of my diagnosis, trying to find some way to ease the physical pain—unaware that the now-internalized stigma of genital herpes would be the pain that would be the most challenging to alleviate.
Questions like, “Who will love me? Why me?! and How did this happen to me?” orchestrated a monotonous chorus in my mind. One that didn’t fade until nearly six months after my diagnosis. I remember stepping onto my yoga mat for the first time and crying in my down dog. The same questions flooded my mind.
I felt dissociated from myself and my body. I was uncomfortable with touch. I didn’t want to have sex. I didn’t want to have sex with myself. And since I couldn’t confront myself with my diagnosis, or the questions that arose because of it, I ran. I stopped going to work. I stopped going to the gym. I stopped participating in the things that made me happiest and most fulfilled in favor of forgetting the woman I used to be, and the woman that I hoped to become.”