I can guarantee that you know someone like me. The thing is, you probably don't know it. I have a disorder called hyperhidrosis, and like most people who live with it, I hide it well.
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating, although I prefer to define it as having abnormal sweat patterns. A whopping 178 million people worldwide have this seemingly benign condition, and most of us are masters at concealing it. In fact, concealing our inappropriate and/or excessive sweat is usually what rules our lives every single day. Why?
Sweating is just not socially acceptable. Sure, if the environment is hot, or if a situation is extremely stressful, or if physical exertion is involved, sweating is viewed as gross, but okay. For those of us who sweat when there is no plausible reason for sweating, we are viewed as nervous, shady, freakish, or unhygeinic. We literally live in fear of being found out. It produces feelings of shame, and leaves us depressed and anxious.
I was reading through my blog and came upon a post I wrote in the hight of the summer heat. It illustrates how hyperhidrosis can overshadow life:
"Last night I went downtown to meet up with my husband and have dinner with him and his new co-workers. Being aware that I was meeting several new, potentially important people in my husband’s new career would be a more than slightly stressful prospect for anyone. For me (or anyone dealing with Hyperhidrosis), it was a potential nightmare.
I woke up this morning with many thoughts and emotions swimming around in my head. Foremost was the question: Did I pull it off? If you also have HH, you know what I mean by that: Could anyone tell I was sweating? I would venture a guess and say, I don’t think so. Whew– I think… That is half my problem; you can never really know for certain what other people notice or what their judgment is if they do notice. I try to tell myself that I don’t care, but sometimes, I can’t help it. I do." Read more
Next time you happen to notice that someone is sweating and it strikes you as odd, try to understand what that person might be going through. If there was more understanding in society about the havoc hyperhidrosis wreaks in the lives of those afflicted with it, we would not have to suffer in isolation and shame.
...Hyperhidrosis from a personal perspective...
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