Living with Palmer Hyperhidrosis
Some people live with illnesses that destroy their lives. Others live with similarities that are minimal. Regardless, most of us live with something that makes our daily life just a little bit more complicated. I live with palmer hyperhidrosis (PH). PH, as described by Cedars Sinai, is a condition that “causes excessive sweating of the hands. This is not a case of being nervous. This is a physiologic condition caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system.” My palmer hyperhidrosis is not the worse it could be. My palms are not always sweating and when they are, they do not flood off of my hands. It is simply moister than any other part of my body.
I realized there was something a bit off when I was younger. I never actually paid much attention to it until the ending of middle school. It was during high school that I begun to research what my illness actually was.
At first this was all silly to me and made me feel like a loser. Why would anyone ever even care about an illness that only causes perspiration? Would it even be considered an illness?
I shamed myself for allowing me to feel bad about something that I assumed at the time was no big deal. I was wrong then.
Living with PH does make my life challenging. It makes me feel anxious and embarrassed. It makes me overthink decisions in regards to experiences I want to live. It causes me stress.
I grew up around a family that attends mass every Sunday. During this celebration there is a moment in which we hold hands and pray with the individuals who are next to us. Quickly after, we shake hands with the rest of the community that also surround us. I dreaded this moment when I was younger and still do now. “Are they disgusted of me?” “What are they thinking?” Many times I told myself to not participate but if I didn’t would they think of me as rude? This illness triggered so many emotions. Having PH also enabled me to rethink the decisions I make and the experiences I live often. “Will the place I go to or the activity I participate in have anything to do with holding hands?.” I didn’t know palmer hyperhidrosis would also have an effect on my relationships. The thought of having a boy remotely close to holding my hand made me want to explode.
I get very tense at the thought of my illness. I don’t like talking about it because a part of me still believes it isn’t real. Cancer, strokes, diabetes, and anxiety are illnesses that are much worse than PH. I feel bad knowing that I complain about something that individuals who are living with anything worse would hope to have. But I have to remind myself that we all have our own struggles. PH happens to mine.
Although PH is something I live with everyday, it has not limited me. Regardless of the embarrassment I still love meeting new people. I may hug them instead of shaking their hand or fist bump instead of giving high fives. This is what makes me comfortable and I am okay with that. The boys I've dated were okay with my PH. They didn’t mind and were more understanding than I could have ever imagined. Although the stress is still there, I remember I have come this far and I'm doing great.
Whether big or small, remember that you are so much more than your illness.
“All trials are not the reason to give up, but a challenge to improve ourselves. Our pain is not an excuse to back out, but an inspiration to move on.