For Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month this year, I had the amazing opportunity to share my story of living with Hh on a larger scale. The International Hyperhidrosis Society approached me earlier this year to ask if I would consider being a part of their Awareness Month campaign and tell my #HhStory. Although I am usually pretty secret about my condition, I decided to take the leap and trust that a video like this could help others living with Hh and spread awareness and understanding. It’s always important to me to portray Hh as NOT just a little sweat. The video really captures the struggles I’ve faced and the obstacles I’ve had to overcome to get through each and every day. My story is just one of many from millions of other Hh sufferers all over the world. You are not alone. We are in this together.
So, without further ado, here’s my story.
So, I guess my secret isn’t so secret anymore…and that’s okay.
Thank you to the International Hyperhidrosis Society for this opportunity and to my husband and mom who joined me to share their experiences of having someone with Hh in their lives.
To all my family and friends – thank you for your never-ending love and support ❤
Hi all! I hope you’re having a great start to August!
Next month, my quintet, Washington Square Winds, and I will be releasing our very first full length album, THEY’RE ALIVE! The official release date is September 7.
With that in mind, I have decided to share some of my music with you today. Francis gave me the idea for this post as he said he was curious what it’s really like to play a musical instrument with HH. He’s a trombonist, himself! I included a video to show you my thought process when I play and how HH affects me.
This video was taken during my graduate flute recital at NYU in 2011. I’m playing Ian Clarke’s The Great Train Race. It has a lot of cool extended techniques like playing 2 notes at the same time, singing and playing, and explosive air attacks. This was before I started Iontophoresis treatment, so I was definitely sweating a lot at this point.
- Another thing I worry about is also related to my appearance. HH typically comes with excessive blushing (as if excessive sweating wasn’t enough). Generally when I’m performing and really nervous, my chest and neck blotch up like crazy!! Amazingly, in this video, you can’t really tell! But as I play, I’m constantly thinking about the audience’s perception of me based on what they see, versus what they hear. In the past, I’ve had people ask me if I was okay after a performance because they saw me blotch up. This bothers me a lot because I don’t want the audience to be concerned about me during my performance. I would rather them just listen and enjoy- no matter what I look like.
- Having sweat on my hands makes it really uncomfortable to play my flute. I’ll be trying to focus on the music while I feel drips of sweat rolling down my arms or starting to feel the pads under the keys get squishy with moisture.
- HH is also uncomfortable because it makes my fingers swell- A LOT! It can be difficult moving my swollen fingers fast when I need them to. You can tell that right around 45 seconds in this video, there’s a difficult fast passage that could have been a lot cleaner! My fingers weren’t just cooperating!
- Sometimes the sweat on my fingers will cause me to slip off the keys too- especially if I’m going fast. At 2:17, it’s barely audible, but my finger slipped on a key and I played a wrong note. I recovered really fast though!
- A clear picture of my mental state is apparent at 2:52. Remember I was playing this without sheet music in front of me. I forgot what came next and paused a little too long!
This was back in 2011, but I still get these same feelings. My philosophy nowadays is: “You love music, so play like you love it. The audience will see this in you and the music will flow more freely”.
I hope you enjoyed listening to some of my music! If you would like to hear more, please ask me about our upcoming CD!
In the meantime, you can check out my flute website: carynfreitag.com
and my quintet’s website: washingtonsquarewinds.org
Thank you for reading,
Now that you have some tips for telling people about HH, I present you with a challenge: Tell someone new about your HH this week!
Telling people about my HH has made me feel more comfortable in my own skin and has helped me cope with the emotional aspects of the condition.
I am less anxious when I go to rehearsals with my quintet because they know why I need to use a towel sometimes. I am less embarrassed and self-conscious as I sweat uncontrollably in the hot summer sun when I’m out with a friend because they know I can’t help it.
Now, I want to hear from you!
Please leave a comment about a time you told someone about your HH.
How did you do it?
What was their reaction?
How did you feel?
Did your relationship with that person change?
How is your relationship with that person now?
Good luck, and as always, thanks for reading!
This past year, I participated in a study conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine on the genetics of Hyperhidrosis.
In today’s e-newsletter from the International Hyperhidrosis Society, I learned of some findings from the study. You can read the article HERE.
If you are living with HH, I encourage you to contact the College of Medicine and participate.
My experience with them was very positive. I was mailed a free kit that included a HH questionnaire and supplies for DNA samples (mouthwash samples).
After the questionnaire was complete and mouthwash samples were collected, I mailed the kit back to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, free of charge.
It is important for your family members to also participate in the study whether they have HH or not because genetics and heredity are being tested.
Thanks for reading,
I’ve had a great time responding to all your comments from the article, and it’s time to get back to posting! Thanks for your patience!
For some time now, I’ve wanted to write about my palmar HH and what I say or think about my hands when they are extra sweaty.
Palmar HH is really difficult.
If my hands are extra sweaty and I’m in a meeting, I literally can’t take notes. I can’t even move.
The other day I was in an awfully stressful meeting. I literally sweated through half a notebook- just by holding it.
If the sweat wasn’t enough, I was also super self conscious about my neck and chest blotching and was trying so hard to cover it up.
Other examples of Palmar HH struggles:
If I’m on a hot platform waiting for the subway, I can’t read a paperback book or a newspaper- I can’t even hold it! (Recently switched to Kindle and loving it)
Also, just last night, I was trying to answer emails on my Mac and my sweat was interfering with the trackpad! Can’t catch a break.
Palmar HH is so annoying!
Here are a few things I say about my hands:
My hands are…
2. not working right now
5. a mess
6. not behaving
I’m sure I missed a few.
What do you say about your palmar HH?
Please leave me comments!
Thanks for reading,
I wanted to thank you for reading the article posted by the International Hyperhidrosis Society this week! This article has been a very positive experience for me and I feel like it connected the HH community even more!
Thank you for your emails, comments and supportive words. Reading through all of your messages has been very powerful and emotional.
I identify with you all your stories and am just like you- trying to live as “normal” of a life as I can with HH.
Please continue to be strong and have the courage to tell someone new about your HH today. We can all get through this together.
I hope you all enjoy your weekend and stay cool! 🙂
I am having a problem with the overactive blushing symptom of HH recently. I’ve been given a lot more responsibility at work, and maybe I’ve just been more nervous and anxious than usual, but my neck and chest are blotching up like crazy!
It’s so frustrating and embarrassing. I see coworkers looking at it, and one has even made a comment. I try to explain that it’s part of my condition, but I don’t go much into detail.
All I can do is be strong, and look them in the eye. I try to ignore it. This takes a lot of will power, as you know.
When people with HH blotch up, we can feel it. At least with me, there is heat on the skin of my chest and I know immediately that I am having a blushing problem.
I want to tell everyone that I can’t help it and that I’m sensitive about it.
Other ways you can cope with overacting blushing are:
1. wear scarves
2. wear large necklaces to cover it up
3. keep your chin down so the neck isn’t fully exposed
4. in a meeting, hold your notepad in front of your chest
5. or- let your blotching continue to the point where your entire chest and neck area are all the same color red. I almost prefer this to the inconsistent blotching. I think it is less noticeable.
These tips may sound silly and probably aren’t fully effective. But, these are my personal coping mechanisms that make me feel a little better about it.
At any rate, remember to breathe and drink water.
I had a meeting today where blotching and blushing was a real problem. I ended up with a terrible headache from the anxiety I put myself through. Yet, no one said a thing.
All my best to you out there…welcoming the cooler weather!