Validation was the catalyst for me to start being more open with people about my condition. While my closest friends and family members already know about it, to be able to share my life with others on a larger scale like this occurred after I attended the symposium on hyperhidrosis back in April 2011 and received my Botox treatment.
Like I mentioned before, that entire day was complete validation for me. I didn’t feel any shame about my sweating, nor was I embarrassed or uncomfortable about standing there doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing: dripping. (I’ve since thought about referring to this as my super power. Look at me! I can make my own rain drops!)
For the first time in my life, I felt like I had met my tribe. It was pure, unadulterated validation on the part of the International Hyperhidrosis Society and the attending physicians who administered the Botox. I conquered my fear of the needle injections, spoke openly with another attendee about how hyperhidrosis affected me, and was allowed to bask in my personal sweating glory for the entire day. I was actually flattered when the physician who treated me said I definitely had THE BEST case of palmar hyperhidrosis he’d seen all day. In that room, with those people, one day my soul just opened up.1
It’s hard to put into words exactly how I felt as I left that day. I felt like I could conquer the world, like there was hope for me, like I could finally stop living behind a curtain of daily activities avoided or somehow altered in an attempt to mask my sweating. I dared to believe that something inside me was superior to circumstance.
Maya Angelou says, “Beauty and strength can be found in adversity.”
But in order to find it, you must go through it. Yes, grace can be found amidst the pain and suffering, amidst the physical manifestation of the sweat and the emotional turmoil we experience because we were made to be a little more wet than most.
Maya Angelou also says, “We are more alike than we are unalike.”
I think as a sweater, I am better able to relate to people and be more conscientious of how I treat them and what I might say to them. In a strange way, this sweating problem I have makes me more of who I was created to be. For the most part, yes, it’s physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and professionally debilitating, but it is who I am. Everyone has a story, and this is mine.
Because I am who I am, I feel that I can better understand others and relate to adversities they might be experiencing and bridge the gap to validate them and their experiences. Everyone has situations in which they might feel debilitated in the ways I’ve mentioned above. As much as I hate having HH, I also wonder what I’d be like without it. And don’t get me wrong. I am still actively pursuing different treatments to treat my condition, but it is not the be-all and end-all for me if nothing ends up working.
Rising Up From Hyperhidrosis
As a result of my experience at the symposium, I have launched this blog to raise awareness and now several writing opportunities have come my way. I am moving forward and embracing them even if they might take me out of my comfort zone. And people with HH definitely have a comfort zone in place!
I’m doing some freelance writing for my church as well as an organization called Time Out for Women, I’ve been selected to be a book reviewer and will have my own book blog on Book Trib, and I have the absolute honor of writing an article for the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s upcoming newsletter. And, I now volunteer for the organization, too. I have aligned myself with my intention, and that is authentic power.
If you have hyperhidrosis, or know someone who does, embrace it. Yes, it affects our lives in ways we don’t like, but if we can live freely with it and realize there are treatment options and hope, we can create positive change. So be ready for a revolution. Your revolution.2
1. From the book One Day My Soul Just Opened Up by Iyanla Vanzant
2. Adapted from Roots of She’s Facebook link that coincidentally came up as I was writing this post.
Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle