My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: hope (page 1 of 3)

Writing From Your Soul to Speaking From Your Soul

I hate public speaking. It makes me sweat. So what did I decide to do? Stand up in front of, oh, 500 people  and share a poem I had just written 20 minutes before.

 

It’s hard to explain how this happened. It was rather surreal, but I’ll do my best. Toward the end of day 2 of the Writing From Your Soul workshop (you can read about Day 1 of the workshop), Nancy Levin, brilliant poet and event director of Hay House Publishing, led a series of writing exercises. The first was called I Remember. That was the starting point for each line of whatever it was that we were each writing. This was followed by Most Memorable Kiss, Fire or Water, and What I Absolutely Can’t Write About. Besides the second exercise, all of these I ended up relating back to my hyperhidrosis. I was astounded that all of these exercises were coming full circle to exactly what it is that I have been writing about publicly for nearly 2 years on this blog. This is not coincidence. This is synchronicity. Synchronicity is alignment with Source.

 

So there I am, fleshing out these writing exercises and pulling my shirt sleeve down over the side of my palm to keep my notebook dry. The words are flowing, and each time Nancy says the 5 minutes are up, it seems like I’ve just started to write things down. We complete the exercises and then there is time for 3 people to share what they’ve written. The first 3 to make it to the microphone are the ones who get to be heard. I feel myself jump out of my seat and make a mad dash for the mike stand. Alas, I am not fast enough amidst the skinny aisle, ballroom chairs, and bodies crammed into the small space. I walk back to my seat, dejected and wondering what in the heck I was thinking anyway.

 

But then, they decide they have time for more people to get up and share. I get right back up and literally run toward the microphone. This time, there are about 8 people in front of me. I am the last one standing in line. I decide to stay there and see what happens. So I assume my “absorbing sweat” pose: arms crossed over my notebook, palms grasping my sleeves. Then begins the uncomfortable inner monologue: Oh, sweet Lord. I am standing up in front of all these people. Like, 500 of them plus 3 big video cameras and God knows how many people who are streaming this webcast and watching me in their pajamas. What am I doing?! 

 

I can feel my heart thumping out of my chest. I wonder how high my blood pressure is because I can feel my pulse in every ounce of my being. I am fully in fight or flight mode. Slowly, slowly, the line gets smaller. There is a brief set of words spoken followed by applause, and I hear everyone share his or her piece willingly. Thump, thump, drip, drip. It’s a good thing I covered my notebook in clear Contact paper a few weeks ago, otherwise the front and back cover would be shredded by now. My hands are sopping wet, and so are my feet. Breathe in, breathe out. You are well, I tell myself. You are okay in this moment.

 

Suddenly, I am front and center at the microphone. A lovely gentleman on staff at Hay House comes and adjusts the height of the microphone for me. I look on stage and up into the warm and pretty face of Nancy Levin. She is wearing a sleeveless black dress and some killer black heels that she totally rocks. I take a deep breath and say my name. I can hear my voice reverberating back at me in the microphone. I’m really doing it. I am speaking what needs to be spoken. I am standing on the shoulders of the writers whom have come before me from all centuries of this life, whose work I look up to and from which I gain strength. I take another deep breath and read my poem loud and clear. I speak with truth, with light, without apologies.

 

Here is the poem I shared with the world only 20 short minutes after I wrote it, having no idea I’d be doing so.

 

I Remember

I remember once having dry hands
I remember them getting wet
I remember my condition used to not have a name
I remember when I found its name
Excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis.
I remember being seen
I remember being validated
I remember being loosed from my shame
I remember being touched for the first time with understanding
I remember reaching out to others so they are not alone
I remember saying I AM.
I remember launching my blog, My Life as a Puddle
I remember creating hope and awareness one drop at a time
I remember being changed by my circumstances,
but certainly not reduced my them*
I remember that water is the Source of all life
I remember that I am enough exactly as I AM
I remember to love myself through it.

 

 

I remember hearing the audience chuckle when I got to the line where I said my blog name. After all, it is kind of catchy, isn’t it? After I read the last line, I looked up at Nancy, and she had her hands over her heart when she thanked me for reading. I walked back to my seat amidst the applause of 500 people. I felt like I was on top of the world. I was also shaking like a leaf. A LEAF, people. As I sat down, the woman sitting next to me reached into her bag and pulled something out and handed it to me. It was a piece of matted artwork. She said she felt led to gift this to me after hearing my poem. I took it from her in awe, my hands now dry as a bone as I held it up to look at it. That’s when I almost lost it. My eyes teared up and almost spilled over in gratitude. Gratitude for her artwork and what it said, gratitude for this once-in-a-lifetime event, gratitude for having the courage to get up and speak my truth.

 

Here is my new piece of art by MaryLou Falstreau. I also met her husband Alan Falstreau, who co-creates with her. Thank you MaryLou. I will forever treasure your work and the memory now associated with it.

MaryLou Falstreau Artwork

Sorry the photo’s a bit blurry. I was still shaking when I took the picture.

 

 

Since I’m feeling especially daring today, I stopped to visit one of my tree pals on the way home from the workshop to record my very first blog video. So, here’s a spoken version of my I Remember poem. You can’t see my eyes in this one; my future’s so bright, I need shades!

 

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

*This line is adapted from a quote by my favorite poet, Dr. Maya Angelou.

Writing From Your Soul: A Workshop for Writers

Today was day 1 of 2 of the Writing From Your Soul workshop I’m attending. Dr. Wayne Dyer is the keynote speaker, accompanied by Reid Tracy, CEO  and Nancy Levin, Event Director, of Hay House Publishing. A few nuggets of wisdom I picked up today:

 

If you change your thoughts, you can heal your life.

What are the words you are speaking over yourself and embedding in your subconscious mind? Are you telling yourself negative or positive thoughts? The words “I Am” are powerful, and so is what follows them. Are you speaking “I am unworthy because I have hyperhidrosis”? or maybe you’re saying “There’s something wrong with me. I’m suffering and my life sucks.” But what if the very thing that’s “wrong” with you is exactly what’s right with you?

 

I’m not saying that we should always be happy about our excessive sweating. Let’s be realistic. But you can choose how you react to your condition. I no longer say, Hi, I’m Maria. I suffer from hyperhidrosis. I can now say Hi, I’m Maria. I have hyperhidrosis, and I’m creating hope and awareness one drop at a time. I believe that God gave me hyperhidrosis for a reason. I want to make my sweaty mess my message.

 

Everything in life is here to teach you a lesson. It’s up to you whether you get the lesson. Awaken to your life and live consciously so that nothing in your life is a mistake.

 

Always be a seeker.

Declare yourself an expert on your hyperhidrosis. You are your own best health advocate. Always seek treatment options and therapies that can improve your quality of life. Never give up hope that one day there will be a cure for hyperhidrosis (note: I do not believe ETS surgery is a cure) and that we can enter a dry world like everyone else.

 

If you’ve tried nearly every type of treatment to stop your excessive sweating like I have with no success, perhaps the best treatment is the extreme self care you give your mind and your heart. Re-frame your hyperhidrosis in a different light. If you’re still in the darkness, tell your story and open wide those curtains you’ve been hiding behind so the spotlight can highlight your extra shimmer. Leonard Cohen said, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

 

Detach yourself from outcomes.

Life is cracked. Life is crooked. So is hyperhidrosis. It makes us vulnerable. It makes us scared to talk about our condition. But you can choose to come out into the world and show everyone exactly who you are. And who you are is enough. Plain and simple. You are perfectly and wonderfully made. We are all unique expressions of the source that created us. Let your true self shine. Literally. It is our superpower!

 

Detach yourself from the expectations that a treatment might work. If something does work for you, that’s fabulous. But if it doesn’t, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and further feelings that you are inferior and your body is against you. By releasing expectations of a certain outcome, you can be pleasantly surprised if a treatment works. But either way, you can rest in the knowledge that you are pursuing everything you can to live a better life. It’s all in how you see yourself and your hyperhidrosis.

 

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

 

 Puddle and Dr. Wayne Dyer

I told myself I’d get a picture with Dr. Dyer. Lo and behold, I did!

SKIN

 

The other night, I attended a dance performance called SKIN. Here’s the synopsis from the program:

 

SKIN examines touch and skin as a tactile organ. This evening’s performance examines the questions: Why do we touch? How do we use touch to communicate and what ARE we saying when we do? Why do we long for human contact? How can touch be so universal and, at the same time, so uniquely intimate? What happens to the human body at the moment of touch? Our skin is our largest organ and our means of contact to anything that is not part of us. What is your skin holding in?

 

Before the performance even began I was already into my inner monologue and applying all these questions to my hyperhidrosis. When the lights went down, I was ready to be moved and was hoping that I would be. For the first time in my life, I was brought to tears by dance.  While watching these beautiful dancers move their bodies and touch each other in such intimate ways, I was thinking how lucky they are that they can dance barefoot across a stage and not have to worry about slipping and falling because their feet are puddles underneath them. I yearned to be able to do what they were doing in their bare feet and scantily clad bodies, whirling and twirling and holding each other’s hands.

 

I found myself drawn to each of the dancers for different reasons. They all had beautifully designed costumes, each one a bit different from the next. The costumes were sheer, sheer enough that you could see their breasts through them. How brave they were to bare it all for this performance. After all, it was about skin.  I found myself drawn to a couple of the dancers who were a bit more curvy, just like me. While all of the dancers were good, for some reason a couple of them seemed more real to me. We’re more alike than unalike, and I found myself inspired by their bodies, their talent, and their bravery to dance in costumes that covered very little. Like them, I must brave myself to walk around in my own skin. My own sweaty skin.

 

What is it that you’re hiding underneath your skin? What would you do if you no longer had to be literally uncomfortable in it? I envisioned myself on stage, baring my heart more often and speaking my truth because I no longer had to worry about being sweaty all the time, which so often becomes the filter for my daily life. So much can be said through touch, or the lack thereof. I shy away from touching the majority of people because my hands are usually sweating. But that doesn’t mean I’m one who is closed off to the world. Sometimes it’s just hard to live in life when you are wet.

 

My skin has hyperhidrosis. Want to know what’s underneath it? A combination of yin and yang. East and west. Positive and negative. I must choose what I allow to come up to the surface, which at times is very hard when I can’t turn off the physicality of my sweating and my condition is manifesting itself all over my hands, feet, socks, shoes, jeans, sleeves, etc.

 

Underneath my skin I am:

Nervous Confident
Pained Loved
Hurt Accepted
Angered Joyful

 

What can I, and you, do as someone who suffers from hyperhidrosis? I can choose what I offer to the world, even if I have to be sweaty in the process. I can choose to let go and allow myself to fall into the right people, knowing they will catch me when I fall. Yes, it’s nerve wracking initially. Everything can be the first time you do it. But you have to be willing to jump and fall in faith, knowing that the risk is worth it. Because once you do, you will feel alive and open to the abundance that awaits you in life. Be willing to fail. Be willing to risk everything.

 

This performance of SKIN could have gone on all night and I would’ve felt like it had just started. What I gleaned from it I will take with me, underneath my own skin. SKIN portrayed truth, beauty, relevance, awareness, emotion, and courage. Gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, transgendered, all are worthy of touch. And so am I, and so are you.

 

We, too, are works of art. We just have a bit more “shimmer” than others.

SKIN postcard

Photo by Drew Levin, Postcard by Levi Parker


Copyright 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Nominated! 2012 WEGO Health Activist Awards

Have you heard of WEGO Health? They are an online community seeking to create a forum for health advocates to further spread the word about the conditions for which they raise awareness. WEGO Health is a free online community full of resources and support for health advocates and activists.

 

A huge thank you to the International Hyperhidrosis Society for believing in me and nominating me for one of the 2012 WEGO Health Activist Awards. I am honored to have been nominated, and it reassures me that what I’m doing here on my blog is absolutely the right thing. Because I choose to create hope and awareness one drop at a time, I can help others with hyperhidrosis to know they are not alone and that they are enough exactly as they are.

 

Anyone can nominate a person for one of these WEGO Health Activist Awards. The cool thing is that there is more than one award from which to choose. View a full description of each category. I wonder which one the International Hyperhidrosis Society selected?

 

Today, I choose to live my truth. Today, I choose to be changed by my hyperhidrosis but not reduced by it. Today, I will keep pursuing treatment options.

My Life as a Puddle's sweaty palm

My sweaty palm

Hyperhidrosis and Avoidance

“Resisting and avoiding pain sucks energy—and time…the more you let yourself feel those minute-and-a-half hells, the quicker you’ll start feeling those minute-and-a-half happinesses.” —  Leigh Newman

 

What are you avoiding in an attempt to hide your excessive sweating condition? What are you avoiding so that you don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed by your hyperhidrosis? Hyperhidrosis is under-recognized and under-treated because people avoid talking about it to their families, friends, and health care providers. Stop the silence! You are not alone.

 

Begin to test just how far you can go in your daily life to experience people, places, and things that dry people can every day without so much as a second glance, a second thought, or a fleeting wipe of their palm on their clothing. As an excessive sweater, I constantly have to pre-analyze a situation prior to entering it. That’s okay, but it’s awfully tiring. I try to live outside of my comfort zone, though, and most of the time it’s worth it.

 

If I hadn’t endured these minute-and-a-half (or maybe longer) hells, I would never have known what I could accomplish despite my sweating:

 

The launch of this blog

Writing for the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHHS)

Writing for the IHHS again

Meeting author Jeannette Walls and telling my HH story

Creating a sense of community for you, my fellow sweaters

Getting a massage

Getting acupuncture

Joining a tea committee and hosting a table at an event

Reviewing products because I’ve talked openly about sweating

Creating a sketchbook about hyperhidrosis

This is just a small list, but it helps keep things in perspective. I have hyperhidrosis, but I don’t have to be reduced by it. I’m not trying to be all, Hey, look at me and what I can do. That’s not my intention. But because I choose every day to step out on faith, I have quantifiable, memory-worthy events that I can look back on and be grateful for. I’m no longer hiding who I am. I can’t help that I was born with hyperhidrosis. I can, however, help love myself along my sweaty journey and offer you encouragement to do the same. I’ll even hold your hand if you want.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Hyperhidrosis & Yoga – Round 2

Rippling WaterSince I had such a relaxing time at my first yoga experience, I decided to return the next weekend and do it again. Things were going along swimmingly during the warm-up section, until the instructor asked us to extend our arms out to our sides and join hands with the people next to us. Eff. Thankfully, I was on the end of a row, so I only had to touch the person to my left. We didn’t actually join hands, which was better for me, but I still hated that my drippy hand was in the vicinity of her hand. I made sure my hand was on the bottom, my palm facing the grass that I wished I could disappear underneath. Her palm was face down as well, on top of my hand. The touching lasted about 20 seconds, maybe? I wasn’t counting, but it felt like an absolute eternity.

 

As soon as I heard the instructions to bow and say namaste (which means the Divine in me recognizes the Divine in you), I thought that would be it and then we’d move into some poses on our yoga mats. But no, we had to join hands. Remember when I talked about the anger I felt the last time I was instructed to join hands in a public place? Yeah, that beast completely returned full force for a few minutes until I tried to pocket it and take it home for later. It wasn’t the instructor’s fault. It was part of her yoga lesson plan. I get it. I am responsible for the anger, yes, and I don’t necessarily think that anger is a bad thing. Anger is an emotion just like sadness and happiness are. It deserves to be dealt with, too. I was angry that I couldn’t comfortably participate in a “normal” person’s activity without my stupid body acting up. I mean, seriously! Here I was, living on the edge and tipping my comfort zone on its side, trying to see just how far I could go and not allow my hyperhidrosis to hold me back. And then a trigger situation is thrown at me full force and messes it up.

 

I understand and truly believe that we are all connected and that we are more alike than unalike. The intention of joining hands with other yogis was to embrace and encompass the energy of all of us in the same location. But what happens when someone’s energy changes because they are not able to be in balance with their body? When they can’t control or even help that their body sweats? I’ll tell you what happens. The fact that you are doing yoga ceases to exist. What takes its place is the vicious inner monologue. The one that says, Oh, my God. Why did they have to tell us to join hands? I can’t do this. It’s making me uncomfortable! I hate my body. What is she thinking as she’s touching my hand? Great. Now I’ll never be able to cool back down and focus on the yoga. How dare they make us do this? Is my yoga experience really going to be any better because of this? I mean, REALLY! Can’t we just stay in our own space and move together without touching?

 

I ended up emailing the yoga studio that puts on this free event. I explained my hyperhidrosis and then said (even though I knew it might be too much to ask) if they might be able to avoid future touching poses in their classes. The owner of the yoga studio actually emailed me back! Here is what she said:

The process of yoga is coming back to our innate wholeness, understanding that we are not separate and that as a community we are one. The fact that you mention this to me is a wonderful sign that you are practicing the first principal of yoga and wellness, awareness.

It is only through awareness that we can begin to heal ourselves.  When we have an imbalance of any nature in our physical body, it usually stems first from the mind body.  Making such a request as you have, indicates that you are allowing the mind body to lead your physical body into a repetitive cycle of non-healing.
 
I would recommend that you see me at the park Wednesday (this week) if you come.  Arrive a few minutes early and I will show you a cooling pranayama that will help put your mind to ease and mitigate the sweat.  
 
Our practice is a community practice and it will at times include touching, greeting, partners (as is the case in the July 4 class). You might want to consider coming in to a private therapy practice with me, to work through some of these issues and while at the park, respect what is right for you as you continue on your journey. 

 

I agree with everything she says. I am on a quest to become more of myself, to live a better life. This is why I’ve been experimenting with all of these sweat-friendly products and techniques, acupuncture, yoga, and hopefully soon, meditation. If I could learn to get out of my head whenever I want to and focus on something else, perhaps I can escape my hyperhidrosis. This is very hard for one who ruminates on absolutely everything in her life. I have not been back to the yoga class as of right now. It’s just too overwhelming having to worry about my sweating in advance. The thought of going to a class and then having to either put my yoga mat far away from others so they can’t reach me to touch me, or having to stop and say, Sorry, I’m not comfortable touching you, or Sorry, I have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, blah blah blah…sounds even worse. I don’t want to call attention to myself and look like a freak. Gag me.

 

I will be looking into some private lessons with her, though. I need to learn this cooling pranayama she is talking about. If I can do it in private with her, bring along my trusty fan, and not worry about others around me or having to touch them, then I can keep moving forward in my yoga practice. This anger that I’m feeling? I’d like to harness it for my inner badass. I’m tired of being held back because of my hyperhidrosis. This past year and having this blog has taught me that it’s not just about me anymore. It’s about every single one of you who have hyperhidrosis. It’s about every single one of us stepping out of our puddles in whatever way we can and learning to live, not just exist, in spite of our condition. Who’s with me?

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water.
Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup;
You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle;
You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot.
Now water can flow or it can crash.
Be water, my friend. ― Bruce Lee

Water is the source of life. I’m on a quest to learn how I can use what I’ve been given in a way that doesn’t hinder me.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Hyperhidrosis and Acupuncture

Today I had acupuncture for the second time in my life. Remember my first acupuncture treatment? That seems so long ago, and I’ve come so far in my life since then.

 

I found a new acupuncture place that’s on my way to and from work if I take a certain route. I checked out their website and staff biographies, found that they are ridiculously affordable, and booked an appointment. Their website offered downloadable patient forms that I could print out and complete ahead of time, an absolute must for those of us who have a knack for sweating all over the paper. Plus, I love to hand write things, and I especially enjoy filling out paperwork when I have a good pen.

 

I completed the forms with my Sharpie pen and brought them to the appointment where I was promptly complimented on my handwriting. I went to the restroom even though I didn’t have to go so that I could wash my hands with cold water to help myself cool off. That helped for about 30 seconds. I sat in the waiting room and tried to control my sweating, but it was really hard. By the time the receptionist walked me back to the treatment room, my feet had soaked my flip flops. She explained how things would work and they had me put my purse in a locking cabinet. I asked if I could leave my flip flops on when she told me to put them in the cabinet, too, and she said yes, of course. I also had another bag with me that contained my trusty desk fan that I’ve mentioned before.

 

I was led back to the office of Lisa, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. I really like her. She took the time to review all of my paperwork and asked me detailed questions about why I was there and what areas of my health I wanted to focus on. My main goal is to see whether my hyperhidrosis will be helped with long-term and regular acupuncture sessions. Even if it doesn’t reduce my sweating, I know I will gain a deeper sense of overall well-being and health.

 

We talked for about 15 minutes, and I was sweating the entire time. My feet were soaked, and I kept lifting my toes above my flip flops to try and get some air underneath them. The closer we got to the end of the interview session, the more I could feel myself sweating since it was building up to the time when she would be touching my body to place the needles. Moments before we got up, the air conditioning came on. I could feel that sweet, blessed relief of cool air coming under the desk where I sat. It was short-lived, though, as I was now ready to begin my treatment session.

 

The place I’m going to is a community style acupuncture establishment. This means that the treatments are done in one community room where all patients are sitting near each other. They do have individual treatment rooms, but those are used only for when people have needles placed on areas like their back and would have to be undressed. I bet, though, that if I requested a private room because it might help me with my hyperhidrosis, they would kindly indulge my request. Each patient gets his or her own recliner to relax in. The recliners are draped with sheets, and when you enter the room you grab a pillowcase to place behind your head on the chair.

 

I was worried that my hands and feet would leave sweat marks on the pale pink sheets they use. I asked for a stool on which I could place my fan, and they put me in the chair nearest the electrical outlet so I could plug in my source of air flow. I was really sweaty by this point. Like, droplets glistening sweaty. I positioned the fan toward my feet first, since they were the most wet, and then I ended up asking her to move the fan onto my lap for me since I already had a needle in my hand at that point.  I reclined in the chair and did my best to relax.

 

I think I had 9 needles total in my body. One in my right ear, 2 on my right hand, 2 on my right foot, 2 on my left foot, one on my left elbow, and one in the center of my left palm. Yowza. The one in my palm kind of hurt when she put it in, but she told me to take a deep breath in and then let it out as she inserted that needle. And really, what was one sharp needle prick when I’ve already endured 155 Botox injections in my palms already? Bring it.

 

The goal is for the needles to be strong and deep in the skin to maximize the effects. Lisa met me where I was as far as the deepness went, and she said if it became painful or tingly in a way that I was not comfortable with to simply flag her down or pull it out myself. After all the needles were placed, she asked how I felt, and I told her I wasn’t too sure about the one in my palm. She knew it was intense for me, but I said I’d try to keep it in and see how it went. I was able to keep all of the needles in for the 45 minutes I was in the chair.

 

Acupuncture is hard to describe, and maybe it feels different for everyone. I noticed I was really tense at first and not allowing my body to relax and melt into the chair. So I started at the top of my body and worked down, focusing on relaxing each body part into the recliner and letting it absorb my weight. Then, I focused on listening to the music they had playing. After awhile, each area where a needle had been placed would kind of light up and radiate heat and waves of energy. I never knew which area would start to go off, so it was kind of cool to be surprised by my ear, and then the inside of my calf and then my palm and elbow. I felt relaxed and almost like I was asleep, and I wonder if I actually was entering the first stages of sleep because my legs twitched a couple of times.

 

I stopped worrying about the other people around me. I was in a good chair, too, one that was in the corner next to a wall, so I only had one other person on one side of me. I think I’ll try to get that chair every time I go. My sweating ended up stopping by the end of my session, and not once did Lisa appear grossed out when she touched my feet and hands to place the needles. I told her I felt ridiculous sitting there with my fan on my lap. She said it was totally fine to have it, and I knew it was, too. I got over feeling embarrassed. It is perfectly acceptable to bring along any tools, devices, accessories, etc. as coping mechanisms to help you manage your sweat. People with hyperhidrosis deserve to have experiences just like “normal” people get to have. If I have to bring along my fan to do it, then I will.

 

I left my acupuncture session feeling really relaxed and kind of floaty, like that feeling you get right before you doze off to sleep. I’ll be returning tomorrow for my next session. I could definitely become addicted to acupuncture. And I’m totally okay with that.

 

P.S. I did not leave any sweat marks behind on the sheet! Like I wouldn’t check. 😉


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Hyperhidrosis & Yoga

 

I have avoided attending a yoga class for a very long time because of my hyperhidrosis (HH). I worry about sweating all over the yoga mat and leaving puddles on the floor. I also worry about doing positions like downward dog and sliding out of them since my hands are sweaty and have no traction. I’ve done yoga videos by myself in the comfort of my own home, but I got bored with them and stopped doing it. However, there is free yoga in the park offered during the summer where I live.  Two weeks ago, I forced myself to do it and gave my hyperhidrosis the middle finger. I’m tired of being held back by my excessive sweating disorder.

 

I went to the store and bought a yoga mat, and in the same section of the store I found some yoga socks. They are cut to wrap around each toe, just like gloves are cut to fit around each finger. The bottoms of the socks have sticky, grippy, rubbery material on them to stick to the yoga mat. With these two items, I felt better prepared to face my fear of exercising in public doing an activity that most people do barefoot. Several weeks prior to this, I also found a pair of capri-length exercise pants made by Jockey. They are sweat-friendly, too. They come down past my knees, so when I bend my knees I don’t feel my wet skin touching itself and making me more uncomfortable. They are black, so they hide sweat better, and they have a different groin design that helps with airflow, too.

Yoga Socks

Yoga socks by Danskin

 

 

Sweat-friendly-yoga-pants

Sweat-friendly yoga pants by Jockey

The yoga class is from 8:15-9:15 in the morning, which is good because that is before it gets too hot. I wore my yoga socks to the park with my new mesh tennis shoes I told you about. I didn’t want to deal with trying to put the yoga socks on at the park, because that’s so much harder than putting them on when my feet are dry. I got there on time and set up my mat on the grass in the back row of people, that way no one would see my butt during all the crazy poses. If I were several pounds lighter, I probably wouldn’t care as much. I also brought a bath towel with me, so I placed that over the mat for extra absorption.

 

I tried not to think about my sweating as I sat cross-legged on my mat, waiting for the instructor to start. The park where the class is offered is really pretty. The grass was in great shape, there are water features and fountains that give off great sounds, and there was a gentle breeze blowing the entire time I was there. I noticed my feet were feeling kind of hot in my fancy yoga socks, so I decided to be daring. I took them off! I felt instantly cooler when I did, despite the fact that my glistening was now on display.

 

Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Your pain, your anxiety, is your baby. You have to take care of it. You have to go back to yourself, recognize the suffering in you, embrace the suffering, and you get a relief. And if you continue your practice of mindfulness and concentration, you understand the roots, the nature of that ill-being, and you know the way to transform it.”

 

So that’s what I tried to do. My anxiety, my pain over having hyperhidrosis, is not an anxiety disorder. I am not getting myself worked up over a little thing. I am not sweating because I am nervous. I am nervous because I am sweating. There is a difference, and many people do not understand this. I closed my eyes, focused on my breathing, and let the instructor’s voice mingle with the running water next to me as she instructed us to relax and open our hearts and minds to the next hour. Before I got into the next yoga position, I opened my eyes, looked down at my glistening feet, and gave them a gentle pat. An it’s going to be okay pat.

 

And you know what? It WAS okay. After that self reassurance, I went through the rest of the class not putting my focus on my sweating.  I was able to transcend my absolutely annoying, socially debilitating, painfully drippy existence for one hour to embrace some peace. Thank God there was a breeze blowing that morning. It was my saving grace.

 

I did not sweat during yoga except for the first five minutes or so. When it was over, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to cry or stand up and re-enact the Rocky Balboa movie scene when Sylvester Stallone reaches the top of the staircase in Philadelphia. When I left the park, I seriously felt like hugging complete strangers and telling them what I had just accomplished. This was a huge deal for me, and you can do the same thing for yourself. You never know until you try.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh also says, “When you understand your own suffering, compassion arises, and you know how to transform your own suffering. And with that, you can help other people do the same. Peace begins with yourself. Understanding and compassion begins with yourself.”

 

Little by little, drop by drop, I can try to transform my suffering into something with purpose. There may not be a cure right now, but I can make the active choice to “make my mess my message.” I choose not to be reduced by hyperhidrosis. I choose to do things outside of my comfort zone as a test to see just how far I can go regardless of whether I’m dry when I do it.

 

Funny how we attract into our lives exactly the things we need at the precise moment when we need them. I was ruminating on this blog post in my head before I even sat down to write it, and I happened to select the episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter on my DVR where she interviewed Thich Nhat Hanh. I rewound the recording and scribbled his two quotes on sticky notes because they made me think. A day or two after that, I read Robin Robert’s article in Good Housekeeping, where she quoted her mother about making one’s mess one’s message. Good stuff.

 

Tomorrow’s Saturday. I’ll be at the park doing yoga. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

 

Yoga mat, socks, and towel

 


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

 

 

Groin Sweating

While this is not a pretty topic, it needs to be talked about. No one else is talking about it, so I guess it’s up to me to put on my brave writing face and don my fearless quill to help people. This is intimidating, you guys. I know people who read my blog, and some of them might even be coworkers since they know I blog. Yikes. Two of you who read my blog asked in me the same number of days about groin sweating. Here is what I have to say about it.

 

Groin sweating can at times be the worst area of the body in which one has to endure sweat. It’s uncomfortable, takes longer to cool off from after an episode, and clothing takes longer to dry in that area. Now, sweating down there is normal. Most people probably sweat more when they are exercising and think nothing of it. People with hyperhidrosis, however, have to worry about this in every aspect of their lives. It affects everything: sitting on chairs, sitting on other surfaces and worrying about leaving sweat marks behind, clothing choices, potential odor issues, the type of fabric you choose when buying a car or furniture (I will never have leather furniture in MY house), and the list goes on. Hyperhidrosis in the groin area can also migrate to the backs of the legs and the behind. As if the groin area weren’t enough, right?

 

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with hyperhidrosis, you can still sweat in the groin/buttock area. A cousin of mine likes to refer to it as “swass” (sweaty ass, if you’re a little slow on the uptake). 🙂 This can be made worse by humid and/or hot weather. If you suffer from groin sweating, the following ideas are worth trying if you want to be drier.

 

Clothing

– Skirts to generate air flow
– Men’s boxer briefs (not shorts) underneath the skirt; not terribly sexy, but effective  for absorbing sweat and keeping your legs from rubbing skin to skin, which can trigger more sweat
– Darker colored clothing: black, navy, etc.
– Frequently changing your clothing so that you can be dry

 

Products
– Deodorant spray: There is an entire section of this in the grocery store, so obviously you are not the only one who has a problem. Think of it as a personal invention just for you and go with it. You can usually find it the feminine care aisle, and they have scents that are not girly smelling, so males can use this, too. Some brand names are FDS and Summer’s Eve.
Cool Wrapps hand made by Denise Bartell: These are reusable washable panty liners made from soft cotton muslin, and they get softer each time you wash them. If you order these, please tell Denise I sent you.
– Unscented/sensitive skin antiperspirant: You can apply this to your groin area. Dove Sensitive Skin is a good brand.
– Baby powder: You can apply this over the unscented/sensitive skin antiperspirant for an added layer of protection. If it’s good enough for a baby’s bottom, it’s surely good enough for you.

 

There are other options to treat hyperhidrosis. You can visit the treatment page on the International Hyperhidrosis Society website for more information. I’m just sticking to things that are easily obtainable and over the counter for this post. You can also visit the IHHS’ Deals and Discounts page for discount codes on sweat-friendly products.

 

It’s exhausting living with hyperhidrosis, and it can drastically alter the activities and life occurrences in which you feel like participating. But don’t hold yourself back from life because you have groin sweating. Try to make a few modifications to make it easier to live with. You don’t have to accept the sweating, but you can learn to work with it until there is a cure.  Don’t stop seeking treatment options, and know that what works for one person may not work for you, but the point is to investigate and try everything possible to improve your quality of life.

 

Leaving wet spots behind is no fun, but together we can navigate the world of sweat.

 

Read my previous post about sweat-friendly products and techniques.

Note: I was not paid, nor did I receive any products mentioned, in exchange for writing about them. I’m just trying to help you out.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle


My Trip to Ithaca, NY

I went to Ithaca, New York to attend the college graduation of my dear friend and “surrogate brother” Danny. We’ve known each other for a long time. My mom was pregnant with my little sister at the same time Danny’s mom was pregnant with him. I used to babysit him and have watched him grow up to be a remarkable man. He majored in musical theatre, and if I do say so myself, he’s bloody brilliant.

A gorge in Ithaca, NY

One of the gorges in Ithaca, NY

 

Theatre students are a vibrant bunch, and my week-long trip was quite entertaining. I stayed with Danny and his roommate Bruce. At night when we were just hanging out, we watched Harry Potter and endless episodes of The Golden Girls. Those will be some of my favorite memories of hanging out with Danny, the beauty and bonding in the ordinary moments of life. He and Bruce even invented a drinking game based on The Golden Girls!

The Golden Girls drinking game

The Golden Girls drinking game invented by Danny and his roommate Bruce. Love it!

 

When we weren’t out strolling the campuses of Cornell University and Ithaca College, we were either hanging out in Ithaca Commons or visiting the gorges near the town of Ithaca. I was worried how my hyperhidrosis would be during the trip, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Strolling along the Cornell University campus

Danny and I enjoying a stroll along the campus of Cornell University

 

Danny and I climbed a six-story tree house at the Cayuga Nature Center. If you don’t already know, I am obsessed with trees. I have tree jewelry, tree stationery, tree wall hangings, tree pictures, etc. Trees are more than nature’s beauty. They can be used as a metaphor for so many things in life. When I learned about this tree house, I made it a goal that if I didn’t do anything else on this trip, I would at least visit the tree house. I could feel myself getting a little sweaty as we climbed the tree house, but it wasn’t really enough to make me terribly uncomfortable. It was honestly the last thing on my mind at that point, which was a nice relief since hyperhidrosis permeates my entire life.

Tree house at Cayuga Nature Center

The six-story tree house at Cayuga Nature Center. It's awesome!

 

I don’t think there was air conditioning at Danny’s apartment, but it wasn’t really hot enough to need it.  The evenings in Ithaca in May are blissfully cool, so the only time I really had to worry about my sweating was when I was getting ready in the morning. Thankfully, I was the only one up at that time, so I didn’t have to worry about sharing the bathroom or being rushed. Not that people rush me out of the bathroom. It’s more of an internal thing with me feeling a sense of being rushed. I tend to make myself sweat that way. There was a standing fan unit in the living room, though, so I just used that when it started to get too hot as I was blow drying my hair.

 

I already told you about graduation day and the rash I got on my feet.  That and my sweating as I was getting ready in the morning were really the only two stand-out moments on the trip with regard to navigating my hyperhidrosis. The other main sweat fest was entirely brought on by my own doing. On graduation evening, we all went to a fancy dinner to celebrate. I had written a graduation card for Danny and had it with me to give to him after we finished dinner. I was going to just hand it over, but then I thought, You know, maybe I should get up the guts to read it to him in front of everyone.

Maya Angelou Life Mosaic card

The front of the card I gave to Danny for his graduation. Maya Angelou always says it best.

 

If you know me personally, you know that writing, particularly writing cards to others, is what I know I was meant to be doing on this planet. My blog and hyperhidrosis awareness comes in a close second. After thinking about Danny’s card all through dinner, I had psyched myself up to the point that I could really feel my fight or flight response being activated. This is typical for people with hyperhidrosis, at least for me anyway. Thinking about an event can trigger my sweat, the tingly, prickly feeling on my hands and feet right before they start to gush.

 

I decided that I didn’t want to leave Ithaca with any regrets. If I didn’t read Danny’s card aloud to him, I would most certainly regret it. I patted my inner self on the back for encouragement, and plowed ahead into the moment and memory I wanted to create with and for him. I don’t usually read my cards aloud to my recipient. It’s really hard when you’re “a crier” like me. But I didn’t care if I cried. I cared about really showing Danny what he means to me. I wrote the card, and then I used my voice to convey what I had written. A special thanks to Danny’s roommate, Bruce, who recorded me reading the card. And thank you to my husband, who bought me the genius invention known as an iPhone, which  I was able to use to record this important moment in my life.

 

Here’s the video of me reading my card. I can’t believe I’m actually posting a video of myself. Here goes nothing.

(The sound on the video isn’t the greatest, as it was pretty loud in the restaurant. It might help if you listen to it through some headphones.)

This was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. The people whom I was with made it so special. And they’re not kidding when they say “Ithaca is gorges!” I bought a shirt that says so. 🙂

 

P.S. You should check out Danny’s website. He’s available for hire and comes highly recommended!


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

 

 

 

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