A Story of Breaking from the Shame of Herpes

This past week’s support group call surpassed all expectations, marking a memorable moment for our community. We were thrilled to welcome Lindsey Ellyn, the celebrated author of "The Shame Game," and a previous guest on the Life With Herpes Podcast. Her presence brought an unparalleled level of engagement and insight, reflecting the essence of what we aim to achieve with our bi-weekly live support groups: fostering a supportive community and providing a platform for open dialogue and growth.
The atmosphere this week was electrifying, filled with a sense of unity and mutual support that I believe reached new heights, largely thanks to Lindsey's leadership in our discussion. It’s moments like these that underscore the value of our gatherings, where every participant is both a support and is supported, contributing to our collective growth.
Addressing the elephant in the room, we all understand the isolation, self-loathing, and embarrassment that can accompany a herpes diagnosis. The quest for overcoming this stigma and reclaiming one’s life is a journey we all share. Lindsey’s personal story, as chronicled in her book, offers profound insights into navigating this path. She highlights three significant life changes post-diagnosis that sparked a profound transformation in her life.

If you haven't read her book and don't want a spoiler alert then stop reading here and read her book.

Lindsey's post-diagnosis life changes were choosing celibacy until marriage, abstaining from alcohol, and embracing spirituality. Each decision represents a monumental shift in mindset and lifestyle, demonstrating the power of personal choice in the face of adversity.

Our discussion ventured into these often controversial topics with an open heart, witnessing the community’s remarkable capacity to engage with complex and sensitive issues. It’s crucial to remember that these choices are deeply personal. A herpes diagnosis doesn’t dictate a need for celibacy, nor does it require one to abstain from alcohol or find religion. Something I find very interesting is just this week I've spoken to two students who shared their stories with me, and for both of them the diagnosis served as a catalyst for reevaluating personal behaviors around sex and creating boundaries that servthem.

Lindsey’s journey and the discussions it sparked within our community highlight the diverse paths toward healing and self-discovery. As a reminder she is part of our Secret Society which means she is just a message away for those seeking guidance.

As we reflect on this week’s gathering, my heart swells with pride for the strength and compassion of our community. Our journey with herpes is uniquely ours, yet shared among friends who are here to support each other through every challenge and triumph. Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, we are each on a path to discovering our beauty and strength.

On a side note...if you all want me to dive deeper Stay tuned for future posts where I’ll dive deeper into the topics of alcohol and spirituality, both of which have personally touched my life and my journey toward becoming a minister.
To our incredible community, I see and admire the journey each of you is on. Lindsey’s story is a beacon of hope and a testament to the power of community and personal evolution. Remember, you are not alone. Together, we are navigating our stories and transforming our experiences into stepping stones for a brighter, more empowered future.

For the book references from Lindsey’s talk check them out:
Book Recs:
  1. The Body Keeps the Score (If you're interested in hearing impact of trauma held, and not expressed, in the body and EMDR)
  2. The Case Against the Sexual Revolution (Great read about the cultural impacts of feminism and our overhyped sexual culture. A journalist wrote it so there's great historical notes and factual evidence presented.)
  3. Hooked (Learn about neuroscience of our brains when it comes to sex, porn, etc. Fascinating read and has made me that much more aware of how my brain registers physical/sexual touch)
  4. Outdated (Great book for those in the dating sphere and those frustrated with the casual hook up culture)
  5. The Shame Game 


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