Today I was featured in an article in the International Hyperhidrosis Society eNewsletter! Sharing my HH story with others has been a really rewarding experience and I thank the International Hyperhidrosis Society for giving me the opportunity to share with so many of you!
The International Hyperhidrosis Society is a fantastic support site for people with Hyperhidrosis. They share a wealth of information including HH education, tips for coping, stories from others with HH, deals and discounts on sweat-helping products, research studies, treatment information, a comprehensive search for doctors, ways to get involved and more! I have had a really positive experience communicating with them in preparation for this article and always find their website helpful. Please check it out!
About 5 weeks ago, I started taking Irish Step dance lessons.
I used to dance (tap and jazz) and I have always loved “rhythmic” dance.
Anything with a tap on the shoe to make percussive noise, I’m there.
Maybe it’s the musician in me.
I’ve always been interested in Irish Step, especially hard shoe.
Right now, since I’m a very beginner, I’m starting with soft shoe.
This means, there aren’t any percussive sounds.
The shoe is a soft leather with no taps on the bottom.
Anyway, I was so excited for my first class!
I hadn’t taken dance in years, and was happy to start again.
As soon as I got there, panic hit me.
Have you ever seen Riverdance?
All of those dancers hold hands…like the whole time!
Why didn’t I think of this??
I’m ready to bolt, but wait and give it a try.
Thank goodness, this class is different!
It’s more “solo” Irish Step.
There are other people in the class, but we just keep our hands down at our sides.
Haven’t had to hold a hand yet!
This experience brings up an issue that many HH sufferers stress about.
Have you ever wanted to do something but didn’t because hand holding may be involved?
I used to be a gymnast.
Okay, I was 5.
But I could pull off a mean cart-wheel!
Recently, around the time of the last Olympics, I read the results of a HH survey asking:
“What would be the worst Olympic sport for people with HH, what would be the best?”
Overwhelmingly, the results were:
Worst: GYMNASTICS | Best: SWIMMING
Can you imagine gymnastics with HH?
The uneven bars? The balance beam?
I don’t believe I quit gymnastics because of my HH.
I think I was just being a kid and didn’t want to do it anymore.
Sometimes, I wish I would have continued.
But I cannot imagine I would have any success due to HH.
I love dancing, but I would never take ballroom or salsa.
I used to want to clog dance.
My sister took it and I really enjoyed watching her.
But I wouldn’t ever dance ballroom/salsa/clogging because there is hand holding involved with some steps.
Why would I voluntarily put myself in that position?
I’ve had a goal recently to start working with children and HH. I want to go into the schools and educate teachers, nurses, parents and students about HH.
One goal is to adjust lesson plans to remove activities that require hand games or holding hands with other students. This could include activities in gym class such as dancing or certain types of tag, classroom games of getting to know each other, and/or holding hands with a buddy when walking down the hall.
I remember as a child going through Elementary school especially, other students didn’t want to hold my hands because they were wet. At my young age, I still didn’t know what was going on with me. I didn’t know I was different from other kids. It was confusing and hurtful when people would call me gross.
I feel that as an alternative, schools could start by making these activities optional and the buddy system could be altered by using a rope to hold on to, instead of someone’s hand.
Ideally, by educating about HH in the schools, teachers will know what to look for in HH sufferers and be able to address the condition with the student and parents. If teachers find a student with HH in their class, their lesson plans could be altered accordingly and special attention could be given to the child. For example, I know that I struggled a lot writing with pencil and paper in class or working on art projects. The teacher would be able to offer the student additional time to complete projects, and offer alternatives such as: going to a separate room to take tests, give the child a paper towel or cloth, let the student write with pen, etc.
Recently, I spoke with a friend of mine who is currently earning her music education degree. She wants to be a music teacher in public schools.
When I spoke to her about my idea to remove hand holding from schools, she disagreed. If I understood her correctly, her theory is that children need hand holding to feel safe and connected to others. Also, if someone in the class had HH, it is the teacher’s responsibility to let the other children know that the condition is not a big deal, and that holding the person’s hand is okay.
I see where she is coming from, but I just cringe when thinking back to when I was a kid. It was really painful to feel different and gross.
I was very frustrated at work today. I’m not sure if it’s hotter in my office or if I’m just stressed, but my hands have been constantly sweating. The sweating was really irritating me as I typed on my computer keyboard.
I decided to do a Google search to try to find a computer keyboard with a fan positioned at the hands. I have a fan on my desk now, but it doesn’t help much because the airflow is not able to reach my hands.
What I found was a gamer keyboard. What an ingenious invention!
Gamers’ hands get sweaty, and they may not even have HH. The fan is built-in to the upper left hand side of the keyboard and keeps your hands cool as you type.
I’m not a gamer, but I still want this keyboard! I wish that general keyboards would start offering this fan option. I don’t need all the other fancy “gamer” features.
You all have heard how nervous I get about shaking people’s hands because of my HH. Going to an interview is especially nerve-wracking. You don’t want to give a bad first impression, and you hope your interviewer looks past your sweaty hands. Unfortunately, sweaty hands can give the impression that you are more nervous than you really are. I wish it weren’t true, but a sweaty handshake could be what is standing between you and that job.
Recently, I have been on the other side of the coin. I have been interviewing 3 or 4 people each week for the past two weeks for an open position in my office. It’s been a really interesting experience so far. I have never been an interviewer before. I have learned what it really takes for a resume to stand out, and the reality of the interview and application process.
I’m happy to have this responsibility, and I am up for the challenge…
but think of all the hands I’m shaking!
I shouldn’t be the nervous one, yet shaking hands makes me nervous no matter what.
If my hands aren’t wet, they are freezing cold.
I really didn’t want my handshake to leave a bad first impression with the interviewees, so I tried something new:
I washed my hands right before I was about to meet them.
By washing my hands, my hand temperature was regulated and the sweating wasn’t as bad after wiping my hands dry.
I recommend trying this out, and let me know what your results are! This is a great new coping tip for me, and I hope it helps you too!