Take what you can, but don’t let it define


I've had HH for as long as I can remember (more accurately as long as I can remember being in school) and I've known what its called for the last 4-5 years. Palmoplantar if I'm not mistaken (maybe focal). I've researched it for the last 3 years, and have tried to combat it. I could drone on about all of this but I'm sure I'd just be repeating aspects of my journey that are PAINFULLY similar to all of yours. One thing I will highlight is my day, the day all of us have had I'm sure: the day you realise something's up. It came suddenly when one of my sisters said “no my hands barely sweat”. Then I did some digging and voila! I came across a word that would stick with me for life: Hyperhidrosis. Doesn't it suck when it has a name?

I've always had an awkward charm and to most I know its just my most prevalent and endearing trait. While I'll admit in small part it is an extension of my love of tendency to be funny at any opportunity, the awkward aspect of my personality comes form my apprehension to be fully engaged with regular social interactions, and constantly avoiding any tactile situations. I mean what better way to avoid embarrassment (and its wet mistress) than by making all your awkwardness seem like a joke 😉 . All in all I content with keeping my charm the way it was and hiding my HH with great care, casually looking for an effective method of controlling it. Girls? Relationships? Those are far off in the future, when I've mastered it (or when I've cured it). Just focus on friends and maybe just flirt very rarely with girls. All good right?

Relatively uncomplicated…until she came around. Like many of the greatest discoveries, I made this one by accident. It was the era of the Blackberry craze and I wanted to see what the buzz was. I was on FB and saw a girl post her pin to her profile; a profile which showed me she thought like I did…a lot. I ask you to imagine a couple years of lengthy personal conversations and fun outings between us. I say this so I can relate back to HH. I'm not afraid to say that I fell for her the first time I saw her (corny as that sounds). You can imagine my surprise when I found out she likes me too. She texts me she likes me and I'm prepared to text back that I like her…then I look down at the hands I'm using to text. I pause. I shake a little. I laugh nervously. It was like getting a reality check. I am nowhere NEAR ready to share this with someone. Let alone her. So I make up some nonsense and cliché out big time: “it's complicated”. We fight over this for like a day and then presto, it becomes something we don't talk about. We go back to texting daily and just being not-quite-friends not-quite-more. I resolve to try a little harder in looking for a means to control my HH. It'll all work out fine, right?

To say “slipped through my fingers” would be an understatement. I had gotten the courage to at least try and reignite the possibility of getting together with her. My plan was to just straight up tell her I liked her and that we were good together. Somewhere down the line I would tell her about my HH, though to be honest I literally thought I was good enough at hiding it that I'd never have to. Then out of the blue it happened; she says to me “I'm in a relationship”. Literally the worst pain I've ever felt. From there I let my glitched-out parasympathetic nervous system go into overdrive as the emotions nudged the sweat forward and I was left feigning interest in her new man to seem supportive. This is what was bound to happen, right?

Rough patch – best way I can describe the next couple months (more specifically the last 5 months before the current).  I had come into my own in the self-pity game. I had resolved that if I didn't have HH that we'd be together. Then I went further back and thought that if I didn't have it my life would be utterly uncomplicated. Then I had a moment of pessimistic realization. There is no alt for me. This is WHO I AM. I then came to the decision to put painstaking effort into fighting my HH and minimize the damage it can do in my life. Lone crusader against this evil. Righteous anger, right?

Then I put the melodrama aside for all our sakes. I came to realize I couldn't be more wrong. Sure maybe I wouldn't have buckled when asking her out, and maybe I would be more social and tactile with people. But there is no reset button and no alternative look at life. I'm who I am, and I've come to like who I am. Then it hit me. HH doesn't define me. I'm not the sum of my problems. I came across a blog (http://sweatygirldiaries.blogspot.co.uk/) and saw a new way of thinking. I came to realize that I owed a lot of my favourite aspects of myself to what I'd gone through with HH. Now I'm not saying it is some great blessing in disguise in a Peter Parker-esque “my gift my curse” speech, but I choose to take what good I can from it. That I know is right! No question.

And now…I'm completely different. I have an entire family who now know of my HH and are unbelievably supportive. I have a routine to help control my condition. I have a somewhat detailed knowledge of my own body chemistry. I have an extremely successful iontophoresis set up at home. True, heartbreak like that which I got with her never really goes completely, but I'm learning to cope. I realise I didn't bring her into this because I wasn't ready to let someone else in on something in my life which I myself controlled so poorly. It wasn't fair to her. If nothing else I realised my capacity for caring for others. Her happiness will always be paramount to me and I'm glad it was maintained. And then there's this story. One which the older me would have found inconceivable to share so publicly. I have a new lease on my definition of life.




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  1. And best to remember…being truthful about it is highly liberating. Start with yourself and others will follow suit.

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