My Struggle with Hyperhidrosis

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Although I’ve lived with mental illness my whole life, I am not a medical professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclaimer.

Hyperhidrosis is just a fancy word for excessive sweating. The most common places that people experience it are on the head, underarms, hands, feet, and even the groin. I’m most affected on my hands, feet, and underarms.

What people don’t often realize that hyperhidrosis is more than looking like you just ran a marathon. It is a highly embarrassing and tiring disorder that makes people very self-conscious in social situations. Many people, like myself, live with it and struggle with maintaining it every day.

My struggle with hyperhidrosis started when I was 14 during one of the first weeks of my freshman year of high school. I’ll never forget the moment when my life would be consumed by overpowering thoughts of trying not to let people see my sweat.

I was in gym class, and we were about to start a team building activity where you have to hold the hands of the two people next to you. It was then when my gym teacher said those life-changing words: “Hopefully none of you have to hold hands with anybody with sweating hands.”

That was when I noticed my hands starting to sweat. And that’s when the bullying started to happen.

My Struggle with Hyperhidrosis

THE STRUGGLE

My life literally became consumed by my hyperhidrosis. Every single day I would wake up worrying about if I would meet anyone new, because then I might have to shake their hand and then they would notice my sweat. I would always make sure I wore long-sleeved shirts that I could quickly grab on to if I needed to, because it’s easier to hide sweat when your hands are covered up.

From there, other parts of my body quickly became affected.

I had flashbacks to when a classmate from middle school was made fun of for her underarm sweat. Then my underarms started to sweat, and I started to wear dark colors and pile on the hoodies. I soon started to notice my feet sweating into my shoes, so I always made sure I wore thicker socks.

The bullying really intensified when I was in high school, and I would often get confronted with, “Ew. Your hands are all sweaty.” My favorite one was, “Nice pit stains.” This only added to my anxiety, day in and day out, and I soon developed very severe social anxiety.

Hyperhidrosis is very difficult to get out of your head once it’s in there. It will pound your thoughts every single day, and oftentimes you’ll be sitting there with your hands sweating and you don’t even feel nervous. But then once you notice them sweating, your hands start to sweat more.

You’ll see yourself change so much as a person. Your wardrobe will change. You’ll find who your true friends are.

My entire life was affected.

THE HEALING

In the beginning of my relationship, I would never hold hands with my boyfriend. But just like how my hyperhidrosis started, it began to dissipate with one single conversation.

One day we were on his bed and he asked me, “How come you never hold my hand?”

“You’ll make fun of me.” I turned away and tried to hide my hands away from him.

“Come on. No, I won’t.”

“Yeah, you will. People make fun of them all the time. They’re all sweaty and gross.”

He then grabbed my hand and placed his hand straight up against his. “Look, mine are too.”

I could feel his warm clamminess against my skin, and that’s when I began to heal, after almost 7 years. Holding hands with him soon became my new favorite thing. Holding hands with him have been some of the most comforting times I’ve had in my life.

THE MOVING ON

Yes, I still sweat.

I sweat when I’m nervous. I sweat under stress. I sweat just for the hell of it. And yes, I still get self-conscious.

It took me a long time to realize, but you know what, it does not matter.

And if someone thinks that you excessively sweating is something to make fun of, then, you know what, they don’t matter either.

I feel so much more free to be myself by not caring what other people think. Whenever I get self-conscious, I ask myself, “Do you honestly think this person will remember that your hands were clammy after today?” Probably not.

I no longer hold back on meeting people, because of my hyperhidrosis. I’ll even be the first person to stick out my hand to introduce myself. And that feels good. Dammmmmnnnn good.

THE LOOKING BACK

Probably the most irrational thought that I often had was that I would wear gloves on my wedding day, so my husband wouldn’t feel my sweat as we were exchanging our vows. Looking back, I’m like really? Like, he never would’ve found out before that? How could you go a whole relationship with someone without knowing?

I wasted so much of my life just struggling every single day to feel like a normal human being. But, I still wouldn’t change my condition. I’ve learned so much about being a more emphatic person because of it.

Do not, I repeat do NOT, make fun of anyone who’s sweating. You have no idea what they’re going through on a daily basis just to try to stay connected to society. You have no idea what they’re feeling as they are trying to hide their sweat from the rest of the world.

Be the best person you can be.

Do you have any conditions and/order disorders you struggle with? How do you cope?

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4 thoughts on “My Struggle with Hyperhidrosis

  1. Jennifer

    I too have suffered from excessive sweating but only under my arm pits. Started in 6th grade and was a living nightmare up until my 20’s. I remember wishing so bad I could just be normal like everyone else instead of living in fear and trying to hide underneath so many clothes. Thankfully I don’t even notice it now. And yes I still only wear a certain type of fabric out of habit but maybe I’ll try something new soon!

    • I’m sorry you suffered for so long. It definitely is a nightmare!

  2. Leonie

    That resonates with me like you wouldn’t believe. It’s almost as if I could have written it myself, I too have been living with this sweaty hell for most of my life. In a way it nice to know I’m not alone

    • I’m glad that you could relate to it! For years, I felt so alone because of it. If you ever need to talk, I’m here 🙂

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