Discovering you have an STD can be a blow to your self-esteem. Although you are the same person you always were, with so many negative and inaccurate views of STDs and those who suffer from them, it is easy to become vulnerable to feelings of shame, embarrassment and low self worth because of your diagnosis. Having healthy self esteem is vitally important for your confidence, self-worth and relationships with others. Here are some tips to help you regain your feelings of self worth and dignity and take a positive approach to the future.
Remember You Are Still the Same Person You Were Before The Diagnosis
Although you may need to make a few adjustments to your lifestyle or take medication, your diagnosis hasn’t changed who you are. This is particularly true if you are feeling affected by the unfortunately still prevalent attitude that having an STD makes you dirty or promiscuous, or somehow lesser than someone without one. Taking some time to remind yourself who you are, what is important to you and what your plans and dreams are, may help you to keep your sense of self.
Keep Things in Perspective
An STD may have all sorts of stigmas attached, but in reality, it is just an infection like any other. You wouldn’t feel like a lesser person if you had a nasty case of the flu or an ear infection, would you? Just because STDs are transmitted during sex doesn’t mean they are any different from other infections, or that you are any different from anyone else. Anybody can catch an STD regardless of age, sexual history and lifestyle, and they are more common than many people realize.
Surround Yourself with Supportive People
Finding supportive friends, family members or a professional to talk to can help you focus on the positives and work through any negative feelings you might be having. Spending time with those who see STDs as part of normal life and can look beyond your illness and remind you that you are still the same person you always were may help you regain your confidence and self esteem.
Where possible, avoid spending time with judgmental people or those who take an overly negative view of STDs. When it comes to dating, you still deserve to be treated with the same respect as before, so make sure you don’t settle for second-rate treatment from your partner or stay in a relationship that is not working. Although you may face rejection from some potential partners based on your STD status, it is important to stay positive and believe that the right person is out there for you, just like for everyone else.