Episode 41 - Something Positive is a Lighthouse

July 14, 2018

All signs pointed to a solo episode being released today. The Universe/God/Life will always challenge you to prove you are who you say you are and ultimately you surrender to that and live your truth or you suffer with resistance by living out an untruth. Today was a challenge for me and this podcast was a proactive response to the Universe that I am. Recognition of the sameness in us all makes for a much more peaceful life. You wouldn't consciously hate yourself, you love yourself and when you recognize that self in the world around you, you see more of that reflected through you.

Keeping it simple:

- The challenge in finding necessary resources before a disclosure or after exposure. The importance of being there.

- Stigma in the LGBTQ community versus the sub-communities of us living with an STI, what support looks like and living WITH stigma versus batling stigma. Understanding it isn't going away means understanding how to live with it #WHATSTIGMA.

- The Stigma of living with an STI comes from the uneducated popular opinion of those who DO NOT have or know they do not have an STI and unchallenged, this allows the stigma to be overwhelming.

- The answer was no. What was the question? Follow @HOnMyChest On Instagram to find out.

- Recognizing sameness in us all is peace. Focus on our differences creates a heiharchy of better than/worse than ultimately leading to conflict/chaos.

- Looking for someone who can incorporate a lighthouse into the current logo somehow. Open to recommendations if you know someone.

- Be a lighthouse doesn't mean disclosing to the world, it means recognizing the challenges others could be facing and offering to be there for them in a supportive fashion. The more lighthouses we have, the more support is available to us all.

- Please share with me any places I should be sharing this podcast as options are limited.

Thank you for your continued support. At this point we are at 12k downloads and the podcast is much more discoverable than other means of support and information. That's all thanks to you, the listeners! I look forward to more of these solo episodes and engaging more with the audience. Hopefully we can dive deeper into who guests are rather than what they look like and help us live with the understanding that the stigma isn't going anywhere.

Follow the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Something-Positive-for-Positive-People-1528441563917176/

I'm on all other social media @HOnMyChest

Stay Positive!

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Episode 40 - The Anti-Stigma with GlamourPussMD

July 1, 2018

Stigma can't exist where there is open discussion and a safe space for understanding to develop. The thing about contracting an STI is that it is very rare that someone voluntarily acquires it. When it is acquired, the only way we have to process what it means for us is that now we're screwed because our sex-ed was 'wear condoms to avoid an STI'. Unfortunately we don't go beyond that level of education until the preventive measures have failed us. There should be more education on how to move forward in the event you are exposed to an STI. What do you do when someone discloses to you? What if you need to disclose your sex health status? Where are consistent facts? How do you find support?

Unfortunately all we have are people's experiences to assist with preparation, helping you manage life with an STI. Olivia shares with us her experience viewing herpes for what it really is. It's a virus! You know what else is a virus? A common cold. The herpes virus is just a tenant dwelling in the nerve endings around your mouth or at the base of the spine. Your common cold lives in your nose and throat. It's a cool tenant that resides in your body that lets you know when things aren't right in your life situation or body. (I have friends that don't even let me know when they see typos in my podcast descriptions) People will share with us that they have a cold and we don't go 'eww you're gross and have lots of partners you share breathing space with. Yet when we share that we have herpes and HIV, it's common for people to distance themselves permanently and assume we are dirty. Why isn't there a stigma for a common cold? This viral infection has no cure (sound familiar?). 

Stigma can't exist in a space where there is truth and open communication about the situation. Stigma is tied to shame. The anti-stigma is truth. The truth of the inevitibility of contracting an STI, the truth that it is manageable, the truth that we all know someone living with one. Talking about it is the beginning of the anti-stigma. One day we can all #WhatStigma and laugh about it.

Olivia Richman, AKA GlamourPuss, M.D. is a 3rd year medical student informing us about STIs, what a vagina can look like, the female reproductive system and more! She also discusses sexual harassment, assault, consent, what's inside a rape kit and redefining masculinity. Stay tuned for upcoming seasons about empowered relationships, healthy living & a 'teen's' life on her YouTube Channel.

Link to video versions available on GlamourPuss, M.D.'s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/glamourpussmd 

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP0km8lG62E&t=5s

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvzQ50ZlStE

Olivia can also be found at her website: https://www.glamourpussmd.com/ as well as Instagram and Twitter @Glamourpussmd

***Disclaimer*** Olivia is NOT a physician/medical doctor and does not have her M.D. (yet). She chose this name because she intends to continue making informative YouTube videos and will attain her M.D. by 2019. She does not give medical advice. Please speak to your doctor if you have any questions regarding your reproductive health.

I'm on Social Media @HOnMyChest. Please continue to subscribe to, rate and review the show! It's helping many people find it sooner and get the support they're seeking.

Stay Positive!

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Episode 39 - It’s a Small World: Let Go and Let Grow

June 14, 2018

 

This episode features the founder of The Herpes Hub, 33 year old St. Louis Native, Holly! She and I grew up in the same part of the city, went off to live life as adults, got herpes, started something we can only hope others find useful and then became connected! This shows you just how small the world is until you choose to expand it.

We find ourselves identifying with something so heavily that when it's lost, we feel 'less than' as humans. We often punish ourselves with isolation and place distance between ourselves and the world we no longer feel 'worthy' of being part of. Until we expand ourselves, we will continue to make this world smaller than what it needs to be. The most challenging part of expanding your world is opening your hands to allow for that expansion. Holding on to resentment for those who've wronged you, living in the past and having a need to know why someone gave you herpes or if they knew they did really closes you off from receiving life's blessings.

On Instagram, Holly can be found @Theherpeshub  www.theherpeshub.com At The Herpes Hub, we believe when you first love yourself with herpes, you allow others to love you too. Self-love and forgiveness are the key to living the life you deserve!

I'm on social media @HonMyChest. If you aren't comfortable following the STD Podcast, then feel free to follow the hashtags: #SomethingPositiveForPositivePeople and #SPFPP to keep up with the show and my personal posts which usually include working out or eating. The Facebook page is live and likeable to everyone as well. 

Please continue to like, rate, review and share the podcast on your favorite podcast player. It's helped us grow to this point and will help us continue to do so while connecting newly diagnosed individuals to the resources they need for support.

Stay Positive!

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Episode 38 - Self Acceptance

May 31, 2018

Living with herpes, you have to learn to accept yourself before you can expect anyone else to. A couple questions addressed are: What does a person with herpes 'look' like? Are you settling for a partner JUST because THEY accept your condition? If you remove herpes from your life situation, what's left? 

The greatest takeaway here is for you to first disclose to yourself. You should be able to look yourself in the mirror, get comfortable with the word HERPES and say to yourself, "I have herpes AND..." what follows AND is all the things you value about yourself that don't relate (or do relate) to your sexuality. BUT NO HERPES INFLUENCE HERE!!!

I'm on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit @HOnMyChest. New episodes will regularly be released on the first of each month with bonus episodes on the 15th of each month. If you haven't already, PLEASE Please please leave a review and a 5 star rating on your podcast player to help more people find the podcast and connect to resources for support. This show wouldn't be what it is without the guests and the listeners sharing, liking, rating and reviewing the podcast. Let's continue to get this out there! We all know someone living with an STI, we just may not know it.

Til next time, stay positive!

 

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Episode 37 - Healthy Is Hot: Consent is

April 27, 2018

Consent is . . . There's a massive gray area about consent fueled by the lack of understanding about what it means. Sabrina and Micki are on the forefront of making college students confident in communicating about consent through an organization designed to create a safe sex campus, Healthy Is Hot: https://healthyishotstl.wixsite.com/website 

On this episode, we discuss some of the sex health statistics found on the St. Louis University College campus. We talk about some of the resources available through Healthy Is Hot and some of the problems the organization is looking to solve.

They're doing amazing work given their limited assistance and resources. As you listen to some of the challenges they face (that they really shouldn't have to), I encourage you to get involved even if with just a like or a share of their website. They are limited in their growth due to not being able to promote their resources on campus which is crazy considering the need for them. Please help us get more conversations about consent going, more condoms out there and visibility to their resources for students who need them.

Follow Healthy is Hot on Instagram: Healthyishot.stl Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/healthyishot.stl/ 

As always, I can be found on social media @HonMyChest. Please continue sharing and reviewing the podcast to continue to make this as useful of a resource as we can.

Stay Positive!

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Episode 36 - Breaking Barriers for Connection

April 24, 2018

We can replace herpes with any mind shifting event that can occur in one's life for this episode and have several gems to help with personal growth. When can attach ourselves to ideas and beliefs about people that aren't based on reality. The only way to know that 100% is to test it. Clarice had an idea of how her father would react to him finding out she had HSV-2 and after testing it with him in reality, she was completely wrong.

It took for her to have a blindsiding moment that shifted her mindset about herself for her to explore and discover who she was. In that exploration, she felt compelled to be the first person to tell her father about her diagnosis because she decided to be public about having herpes. It didn't go at all as she planned. As a result, a barrier she had created in her mind between her and her father was dissolved thanks to how she chose to use the gift of herpes.

Clarice can be found on Instagram @Pieces_Of_Reeses or on her website www.empoweringwomen.coach. If you enjoyed learning about her experience with and as a life coach, creep on her Facebook group: Life Coaching with Clarice Connolly and when you're ready, or just have some questions, hit her up via email at: contact@empoweringwomen.coach 

As always, I can be found on social media @HonMyChest! Please keep rating and reviewing the podcast. We're growing! I get a few new private messages each week from strangers expressing their gratitude for finding this podcast.

Stay Positive!

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Episode 35 - St. Louis Department of Public Health: Sexual Health Free-Sources

April 16, 2018

 As mentioned, for STI Awareness month, I'm actively seeking out guests in the medical field to speak about STIs on the podcast. This episode features Tyrunne Johnson, STI Program Manager of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. 

It's important for us to not make excuses for why we don't KNOW our sexual health status. I learned that the services they provide are free of charge, and you can find locations for STI testing sites in your area with a simple online search. There are programs in your city similar to The St. Louis Department of Public Health with available resources to promote safer sex through condom distribution, sexual health education, as well as testing and treatment for STIs. 

What I find most interesting is that even though these resources are so readily available to us and for FREE! Free-Sources! (I'm so proud of myself for that one) In all seriousness, I've not known these resources were available and free to us until I did this podcast episode. I encourage everyone to seek out these organizations in their area and utilize them. You'd load up on free snacks in the breakroom, load up on free condoms at these distribution sites and go get yourself tested.

Some facts about STIs:

There are more than 25 different types of germs that can be transmitted through sexual contact. Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD. You can become infected through anal, oral, and vaginal sex.

You can be infected with an STD and not see any symptoms. You may not even feel like you are sick.

Bacteria cause some STDs and viruses cause others. STDs caused by bacteria are curable and treatable. However, if left untreated, even sexually transmitted diseases that are curable can do serious damage to your body. Sexually transmitted diseases caused by viruses are not curable and remain in your body, but treatments are available to minimize or relieve symptoms.

There are five reportable sexually transmitted diseases in Missouri chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV and chancroid. The St. Louis County Public Health Department STD clinics screen for these diseases free of charge.

For more information, visit: https://www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/DiseasesandImmunizations/SexuallyTransmittedDiseases 

I'm on social media @HOnMyChest. If you're concerned about following an STD Podcast and your friends finding out and thinking you're associated/positive, just follow the hashtag or check in from time to time #SomethingPositiveforPositivePeople. 

Please keep those reviews coming, the podcast is growing and evolving into something useful to everyone not only affected by STIs but as an education tool as well.

Stay Positive!

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Episode 34 - ProjectAccept.org’s Nanette Part 2: Social Support

April 14, 2018

Nanette returns to us to share how group support helped Nanette make the connection that birthed ProjectAccept.org in addition to various social media interest groups for people living with herpes. Nanette talks a little about how contracting herpes helped with her bedside manners interacting with patients.

There's a ton of inaccurate or inconsistent information available to the public from credible resources but the information is presented in ways to skew statistics. One example is referring to the statistics of people living with genital HSV-1 being one number, but living with genital herpes (which includes HSV-1 and HSV-2) showing the same numbers. This kind of miseducation makes it difficult to be taken serious when presenting facts that don't support equally credible sources.

Social support has tremendously helped me. I immersed myself in chatrooms and connected with people had it not been for herpes, I would never have met otherwise. Social support in this context means to socialize with individuals who understand what you're going through so well that it doesn't even have to come up. In social support, there's a level of freedom where you get to genuinely just BE yourself around a group of people. For Nanette, it started at a barbecue, for myself, it was a float trip. Tremendous psychological gains were made as a result of getting out of my comfort zone. I'm forever thankful for the social support and the person who introduced me to it.

Project Accept is another resource for us. One of their goals is to provide consistent, accurate and REAL information about HSV and HPV to the public. They recognize the emotional and physical struggle of a herpes diagnosis and is here to help. For information on the support discussion referenced in this episode, visit: http://projectaccept.org/support-discussion-information/ to register. Visit their website: www.projectaccept.org for more information.

Check in on the hashtag, #SomethingPositiveForPositivePeople if you aren't comfortable following the social media pages of an #STDPodcast. I'll share things I like as well as updates of the show/episodes and all that fun stuff. I'm still on social media @HOnMyChest. If you want to share your story, feel free to shoot me a message.

Stay Positive!

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Episode 34 - ProjectAccept.org’s Nanette Part 1: It’s Just a Cold Sore

April 11, 2018

ProjectAccept.org Executive Director and Co-Founder, Nanette Tincher shares her own experience living with HSV up here and down there. We talk about her personal experience on this episode. She contracted HSV-1 (cold sores) willingly after kissing a partner who had an active, visible cold sore on the mouth. For many years she went on not realizing it was herpes until she educated herself. After contracting genital HSV-2 at age 42 unwillingly, she shares that she had such a completely different attitude about it due to the stigma. 

We discuss her time in an unhealthy relationship constantly weighing whether she should stay with someone because he's there or if she should just be alone the rest of her life.

How we talk about herpes determines how it is received. "It's just a cold sore" has such a lighthearted tone to it that makes anyone think, "Oh well when you have one we just won't kiss", versus having the exact same thing on your genitals being the end of the world. We can begin to reframe the association once we see just how common herpes is, how tricky the virus is to detect and transmit, we just have to be open to educating the misinformed and be able to provide consistent, accurate and REAL information about it.

Project Accept is another resource for us. One of their goals is to provide consistent, accurate and REAL information about HSV and HPV to the public. They recognize the emotional and physical struggle of a herpes diagnosis and is here to help. For information on the support discussion referenced in part 2 of this episode, visit: http://projectaccept.org/support-discussion-information/ to register. Visit their website: www.projectaccept.org for more information.

Check in on the hashtag, #SomethingPositiveForPositivePeople if you aren't comfortable following the social media pages of an #STDPodcast. I'll share things I like as well as updates of the show/episodes and all that fun stuff. I'm still on social media @HOnMyChest. If you want to share your story, feel free to shoot me a message.

Stay Positive!

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Bonus Episode - What Happens When You Tell Someone You Have Herpes

April 7, 2018

This episode doesn't have a guest. I write every so often to sort through thoughts and emotions so I know how to deal with them as they come up again in the future. This episode, I thought about Cake. . . metaphorically. "You can't have your cake and eat it too." is my least favorite proverb hands down. Why have cake you can't eat!? Well, because limits were placed on your mind by society telling you that statement makes sense the way it's phrased. More accurately one would say,  "When one share's their cake, they become surrounded by bakers" or something along those lines. 

When I told people I had herpes, they didn't care. When I kept it to myself, I manifested my mindset about herpes in the world around me. It felt like everyone wanted to know my secret and use it against me. I began analyzing my values, one of which is freedom. I can't live free with the restrictions of the stigma created by a group of people outside the group of people the stigma applies to. I had to un-learn that and construct new beliefs based on my experiences. My view began to change and I noticed the reactions I got began to change. 

I had a scarce mindset. "I think I will only be 'accepted' by ______ which is a limiting belief we project onto the world based on our beliefs about who we are NOW THAT WE HAVE THE VIRUS, not who we are. This reveals itself via rejection, people attacking or being mean to us or making herpes jokes. I'm moving into the abundance mindset. I constantly have to remind myself of that. It gets a little quicker each time I do it, but I notice more of the positive. More people share with me that they have something personal going on, want to be on the podcast to share their story, want to come train with me, want to literally give me cake. Ask yourself what kind of person you'd be if everyone around you knew you had herpes and you didn't have to hide it. Act like that for a day and see how much more you like yourself and the world appears to be as giving as it's meant to be.

Let me know what you think of this episode. Like I said, I want to do more of these if there's value and it helps make the podcast more useful.

I'm on social media @HOnMyChest

Stay positive!

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