A diagnosis of genital herpes can cause us to really feel as though we have lost our footing in life. Where you previously might have felt that the world was your oyster, it can suddenly feel that many, if not all, of your options have been removed. The choices that you once thought were yours are now no longer there. An apparently carefree life has disappeared.
People usually discover that they have herpes when they develop lesions in the genital area. Herpes outbreaks are symptoms indicating that the virus is active. Some people have the virus and never experience symptoms, so it’s reasonable to assume that the virus is never active. Other people have the virus and experience frequent symptoms. For some reason, the virus is very active in their bodies. What is the difference between these people? And if we knew what the difference between them was, would this enable us to develop a way to manage our herpes outbreaks?
Think about another virus with which we are very familiar: the common cold. We all know that in an enclosed space, a large number of people can be exposed to a cold virus at any one point in time. Yet, the virus seems to behave in different ways in different people. Some people can become very ill, pneumonia may develop. Others never develop a cold at all. If the varying responses to the same cold virus demonstrate the different levels of opportunity for viral activity in different people, then we can see that the different levels of response illustrate differences between people rather than the virulence of the virus – because the virus is the same in everyone.
Now lets think about the many and varied things we do to protect ourselves from getting a cold. Some people take vitamin C, others take herbal antiviral medications like Echinacea. Both of these help by boosting the immune system. Other people swear by a healthy diet and other people will say that their positive attitude helps them to keep colds at bay. We all know that if we are feeling tired and run down or are feeling unhappy, then we are more susceptible to colds.
So, we already have a basic working knowledge of how to deal with the behaviour of viruses – and, as a virus, the herpes virus is really no different. Think of it as an opportunist – its normal state is being dormant and inactive in your body, yet it will take advantage of any opportunity that you give it to make its presence felt. Opportunities seem to be an inefficient immune system, stress, unhappiness, tiredness etc – all those things that we know can trigger colds. Your responsibility then, is to consciously begin to reduce the number of opportunities that you give the herpes virus to wake up and become active.
The way that you do this is quite important. Our instinctive response in a situation like this is to put the barriers up – to go on the defensive. The result of this is that you run the risk of making things worse. This is because you effectively put more energy into creating and maintaining your defence than you do on creating good health in your body. And good health is many more times powerful than a defence system because it can never be breached.
Also, when you concentrate on creating and maintaining defence in your body, you are constantly keeping an awareness of herpes in your mind. And so, because you are thinking about it, it will stay active. The most effective place to put your attention, is on creating good health within your body. When you have good health you are creating an environment which is inhospitable to the herpes virus. Put simply, it doesn’t want to come out to play if the environment doesn’t suit it.
How do you decide what is good health? Look at your diet so that your body has all the vitamins and minerals that it needs to fight herpes. A good nutritionist can also help you here. And secondly, as we know from the people who have fewer colds – our attitude to life is important. Those people who feel that they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders and who feel that they don’t deserve any better from life are the people who have more colds – and it’s the same for herpes. Attitude matters.