Ask for Help

 My earliest memory of Hyperhidrosis was when I was four years old. So you can imagine that at that age I did not understand what was happening with my body or how to feel about it. As I got older I realized no one else knew about Hyperhidrosis either. Consequently, I didn’t see the point in talking about a problem I had if there were no known solutions. I knew my sweating was a problem because it was something I could see. Yet, it was other symptoms of Hyperhidrosis like the emotional distress that has taken me years to realize. How could I ask for help, if I didn’t even know what I needed help with? As a result, I struggled my entire life to find ways to properly express what I was going through because I actively avoided my negative emotions. I thought if I allowed myself to feel them, I was letting Hyperhidrosis win, and that meant I was being weak

 I didn’t want to appear weak because many saw me as a happy, outgoing, and an energetic person. I wanted to preserve my image. Yet, the overwhelming amount of stress I experienced from excessively sweating without relief exceeded my ability to cope with it. Years of suppressing those feelings eventually caught up to me.

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 Therapy gave me the opportunity to process my emotions. This is something I had never done. Hyperhidrosis has made me feel like I lost all control of my body and of my feelings. It has led to a life long struggle of trying to regain control. Talking about my past and my current obstacles with Hyperhidrosis has given me autonomy of my body and mind. But, when I’ve ignored those feelings for so long, it isn’t easy to all of a sudden starting spilling my guts. I can unconsciously brush aside negative emotions. When I do that it builds up inside of me until I lash out at someone else. I am constantly learning how to recognize this. For example, if I notice myself getting easily angered or being short with other people that is usually an indication that something is bothering me that I have not addressed. It’s becomes this negative mood I’m stuck in. This reminds me to take the time to acknowledge the stressors in my life.

 These are practices that many people can apply to their life, not just people who have Hyperhidrosis. We all have stressors, we all cope with stressors differently, and we all have a threshold for the amount of stress we can handle. Sharing that with other people is up to you. I used to think that every time I shook someone’s hand I had to explain why my hands were sweating and what Hyperhidrosis was. I don’t have to do that!

 What was important to me was learning how to share it with my family and friends. No one knew how much it impacted my life because to them I was always independent, the life of the party, and seemed so confident. Having that conversation out loud put those thoughts into perspective. My entire life, while I was obsessively trying to hide everything about Hyperhidrosis I somehow was surprised when no one took the time to ask how I was doing with it. Why would they know something was amiss if I made a considerable effort to make sure they didn’t find out. How does that make sense?

 In talking about Hyperhidrosis I realized one big thing. I used to believe that I was afraid to talk about it because of what other people would think of me. In reality, they don’t care, it doesn’t bother anyone or change how they felt about me. When I learned that, I knew it was me who had the problem with Hyperhidrosis. It is the one thing I hate most about myself. I have had to learn to embrace it. But that is difficult for me because for so long I had this dream that one day it will just be gone forever and I would be free from it. It’s heartbreaking for me to let go of that but it’s my reality and I have to start learning to accept that. That doesn’t mean I don’t stop trying to find a cure. It just means we as a Hyperhidrosis community need to continue talking about it because there is always more than one path for us. We do not need to keep hiding. To think otherwise is a disservice to yourself and the people who care about you. You are more than just Hyperhidrosis.