By Maan de Vera
Let me begin by saying that if you happen to come across this article and you are having a hard time due to excessive sweating, you are not alone.
This is something that I wish someone told me as a teenager when my sweat gland started going crazy on me. I could just sit inside an airconditioned room and feel my perspiration drip from my hands, feet, and armpits. Back then, I was told that sweating was normal, healthy even. I just remembered being more confused by this reassurance because I don’t see anyone else with sweat stains around their shirt. It seems like no one else have socks drenched by the time second period came. None of my friends needed to put a handkerchief in order to make sure that they don’t put a hole on their test papers.
No one understood what I was going through—not even me. So, I just came to the conclusion that there is something disgustingly horrible with me. Now that I (thankfully) know better, here are the things I want everyone to know about hyperhidrosis.
1. It’s a medical disorder.
For those who don’t know what hyperhidrosis is the International Hyperhidrosis Association defines it as "a serious medical condition characterized by excessive and uncontrollable sweating." It means that your glands produce sweat even when it doesn’t normally have to.
At first glance, it may not seem like a big deal, but just imagine having a hard time to do things such as holding something, walking properly, or raising your arms. I’d like to think that I am a lucky one because mine was only to these areas. Hyperhidrosis can also affect their head, back, chest, and, for others, the entire body.
2. Not understanding it completely ruined how I saw myself as a teenager.
Since I didn’t have enough access to information regarding my condition, it has given me more problems that it should have if only someone actually took the time to examine me and take me to the doctor. It’s very easy to discard the idea that someone is sweating excessively because they are just pasmado or maybe the weather is just too hot for them, and that is where my main battle with hyperhidrosis began.
Truth be told, I don’t really mind my sweating. I can always wipe my hands, change socks, or just not raise my hand the entire day. But what really hurt me to my core (and it still hurts now) is when people make fun of me because of it.
3. Being laughed at for sweating is not okay.
People without hyperhidrosis may think that their jokes are funny, but trust me when I say this: they never are.
Nobody was born and decided that they want their glands to produce sweat non-stop. It’s not something anyone can control. It’s not something anyone has a choice over. Therefore, it’s not something to be made fun of.
It will take days for me to write all about it...but just think of it this way: think of all the possible jokes related to water, sweat, and deodorants—I have probably been the subject of that. What’s worse is that I have been ridiculed by my own parents, relatives, friends, schoolmates, and teachers.
Fast forward to the present, I still get punchlines here are there, but instead of getting hurt, I realized that it’s better to politely retaliate and explain what your condition is. I have finally come to terms that most of the time, people don’t mean harm, they just don’t know or understand.
Living through a judgemental and fast-paced world with hyperhidrosis is difficult. I still deal with this years after I was diagnosed. It’s a long way to go, but the first step is always to accept that it’s going to be a little more challenging for you.
I have to contantly remind myself that perspiration is not something to be embarassed about, so I (figurtatively) don't sweat it as much as I did before.
In case you are wondering, there will be no information for cure here because self-medicating can do more harm than good. If you have hyperhidrosis and want to explore the various treatments available, please seek professional help.
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