Please welcome Eryn, 15, from the south (United States) to the sweaty tribe. She is a brave soul with hyperhidrosis who has chosen to share her sweaty story on mylifeasapuddle.com. Going public about our sweaty secret can be scary, but using our sweaty voices is the bravest thing we will ever do.
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On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis?
Palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands) and plantar hyperhidrosis (sweaty feet)
How did you discover that your excessive sweating is a recognized medical condition?
I looked up on online why I had such sweaty palms and feet all the time, and I found an article on hyperhidrosis.
How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life?
My hyperhidrosis affects the way I socialize and go about my life. I wear certain kinds of shoes and sometimes even gloves.
Do you avoid certain things because of your sweating?
Every day! I avoid:
- Going barefoot
- Social events
- Putting my hands on things (desks, windows, etc.)
- Touching anyone
- Using my hands in conversation because I don’t want people to see my shiny hands.
RELATED: That one time I was a model in a fashion show for O, The Oprah Magazine and thought I would ruin the high heels I was wearing because of my sweaty feet
Do you find that hyperhidrosis affects your mental health? If so, in what ways and how do you cope?
My hyperhidrosis gives me anxiety in what people without hyperhidrosis would consider “normal” situations. I just have to tell myself that yeah, maybe the person I’m going to shake hands with is going to look at me with disgust, but the anxiety and stress will pass.
It’s so important to remember that even though we suffer from hyperhidrosis, we are just as special and capable as anybody, no matter what kind of looks we get from other people.
What treatments for hyperhidrosis – if any – have you tried?
I haven’t tried any specific treatments, just things like Carpe lotion, Clorox wipes, dumping hand sanitizer, and swiping deodorant on my hands and feet (to no avail).
Is anything working for you to help you cope with your hyperhidrosis?
Staying connected to online hyperhidrosis forums and remembering that I’m not the only one suffering. Also, just doing things that I enjoy so much that I’m not focused on my sweaty hands and feet.
What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis?
The way it makes me feel. My hyperhidrosis is like this little monster inside my head telling me that I can’t do this and I can’t do that. It gives me really low confidence and changes the way I go about normal tasks.
What do you think is the biggest misconception when it comes to hyperhidrosis?
The fact that people think that we can just stop sweating.
I hate that people think that hyperhidrosis is really gross and that people who have it are unhygienic. In fact, we may be some of the most avid body cleaners because we want our sweat to go away!
What would you like to see in the future when it comes to treatments for hyperhidrosis?
I would like to see a wider range of options for treating hyperhidrosis, especially an oral medicine.
If you could tell the world only one thing about hyperhidrosis, what would it be?
I would tell the world that if they meet someone with hyperhidrosis, treat them with understanding and kindness. Hyperhidrosis is a tough spot for many people and should be treated with respect and compassion.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about your sweaty story?
I find that it’s really hard to be a relaxed, normal teenager when suffering from hyperhidrosis.
My friends and family know about my sweaty hands and feet, but they don’t fully understand how much it impacts me. My friends like to laugh at my sweaty hands, and sometimes when talking to other people they will say, “Eryn has really sweaty hands!”
I act like it’s funny and laugh with them, but deep inside I’m SO embarrassed.
Hyperhidrosis truly isn’t just a physical condition; it’s tough mentally as well, and no one around me seems to get it.
Because of my sweaty hands, I don’t want to go to church anymore. My parents don’t go since I don’t want to, and I feel like I’m dragging them down.
One time at theatre camp, we played this game called pretzel where you have to hold people’s hands until everyone is untangled. It took forever, and the two kids I was holding hands with got so disgusted they barely held on to me. Now, any time my teachers say we are going to do an activity, my hands instantly flare up and start dripping. I hope and pray that we don’t do an activity where I have to touch anything or anyone! And when we end up doing an activity on paper, I can’t even write because the paper is so soggy.
This condition also makes me question my future. I’m super interested in emergency medicine, but I don’t know if I can be a doctor and examine patients if I have sweaty hands.
And what happens if I get a boyfriend in college? I can’t hold somebody’s hand! However, despite my many worries, I just have to trust that it will all work out.
Do you have a sweaty story?
I’ve opened my blog to the larger hyperhidrosis community. If you’d like to be featured, please fill out the form on my Contact Me page. In the subject line, enter Guest Post. Not a writer? No worries! I can edit your story, send you questions to answer to create one, or you can record a video.