Diagnosed with STD? Here Are Ways You Can Cope With It Mentally, Physically and Emotionally
No one will ever be prepared to hear a doctor’s diagnosis about HIV, AIDS or other types of sexually transmitted diseases. The emotional impact that STD and STI diagnosis can bring someone is huge and it’s something that either highlights an existing mental health problem or creates a new one.
The diagnosis of STD is often followed by depression and anxiety. People who get infected with sexually transmitted diseases normally get depressed because they think that they can no longer live life normally. Their knee-jerk reaction is to isolate themselves for months and they tend to avoid disclosing the problem to their families and friends.
While it is always heartbreaking to find out that you have been infected by a sexually transmitted disease, you can surely find ways to maintain a positive outlook in life. Here are some ways to cope with STDs and STIs physically, emotionally and mentally.
1. Join Support Groups
One of the best ways to deal with STD and STI is to find people who are on the same journey as you. There are lots of support groups, forums and blogs that you can follow and join so you can chat with other members who are diagnosed with the same infection as yours.
Knowing that there are people who understand what you’re going through will alleviate the pain, distress, or anxiety you’re experiencing. It will also be an avenue for you to share your journey and to learn from people whose diseases have been cured or those who have learned to live life even if they have an incurable type of STD.
Support groups will also help you address the feeling of shame, anger, and lack of confidence. Your chosen community will have a big role to play in helping you deal with the trauma caused by your STD or STI.
2. Try To Stay Positive
Facing your fears and assuring yourself that you’re going to get through your situation are necessary when dealing with STDs. You must acknowledge that you will face challenges as you try to overcome your disease. And even though you can’t take an STD diagnosis lightly, you have the option to stay positive and seek help from people you trust.
It is important that you talk to your friends or loved ones whenever you feel that negative emotions are trying to get the better of you. Remember that it’s okay to feel bad about the situation every now and then, but what matters is that you have total control over your emotions and that you can still see the positive sides of life.
You can also find other hobbies or activities that can divert your attention such as writing a book, starting a blog, or taking part in support groups to encourage other people with STDs.
3. Educate Yourself
The process of dealing with STDs relies heavily on the type of infection you have. For some people with curable diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis, getting treated is easy and they can move on with their life afterward.
But, for those who have been diagnosed with a long-term or incurable type of STD such as HPV, AIDS, HIV or Herpes, the process is much complex and emotionally draining. Cliche as it may sound but, when it comes to the STD, knowledge is power.
You have to educate yourself about the symptoms, treatment, and prognosis of your STD. When you understand everything about the disease that you have, you can increase your ability to cope, manage your emotional reactions and take control of your overall health.
When you educate yourself, you will be able to find ways on how you can live life normally and how you can protect the people around you, especially your partner.
4. Eat Healthily and Exercise Regularly
Now that you have educated yourself about the type of STD you have, it’s time to take actions and combat your disease through exercise and healthy food intake.
Start with maintaining an active lifestyle and exercising regularly. If you have been diagnosed with HIV, chances are, you are losing muscle mass and strength. To prevent this, you have to build muscle, keep your bones strong and make sure your heart is healthy. Exercise is also beneficial to your mental health as it reduces feelings of stress and symptoms of depression.
In order to strengthen your immune system, ask your doctor which food you should and shouldn’t eat and stick with a healthy diet. While doctors normally prescribe vitamins, supplements, herbs and natural remedies that will help in fighting the infection, you won’t get better if you continue to eat processed food and visit fast food chains every day.
You need to increase the intake of immunity-boosting food such as whole grains, yogurt, fermented food, and food that are rich in zinc (such as oysters, crab, lean meats and poultry, nuts, yogurt and chickpeas), iron, Vitamin D (such as salmon and tuna, mackerel, and sardines), Vitamin E (such as almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds) and Vitamin C.
You also need to eat food with antifungal and antibacterial properties such as garlic, pure raw honey, coconut oil, horseradish, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cabbage, and berries.
5. Avoid Excessive Alcohol or Drug Use
Apart from a promiscuous lifestyle, poor nutrition and overindulgence of drugs and alcohol can also produce an imbalance of friendly bacteria and lead to poor immunity. If you’re dealing with STD, you need to stay sober and avoid drinking alcohol as it will cause the disease to spread quickly.
STDs can cause permanent damage such as infertility and even death if untreated. But more than these, they bring emotional and mental damage that can change the life of any person, no matter their age, gender or background. Hopefully, these pointers can help you deal with your disease in one way or another.
If you have been diagnosed with STD once and you were able to overcome your disease, we know that you now understand the importance of practicing safe sex. If you’re still battling with an STD though, you have to remember that it’s important to have a holistic approach when it comes to dealing with your disease. You need to take care of your mental health as much as you take care of your physical and emotional health.
The key to preventing the spread of STD is making sure that you and your partner are tested regularly. There are lots of over the counter STD Test options available nowadays and it’s really up to you to make healthy choices in your sex life.
Alicia Knox is a health and wellness writer for AtHomeStdTest.com, a website that talks about STD and how to get tested at home using medical kits.