Sweat and Chicken Wings

Hi All,

I recently received a question from a reader about how HH impacts my dating life.

Well, from my previous entries, you all know I’ve been in a long term relationship for a while.

My boyfriend’s name is Francis and we have been together for 4 years. We were long distance for a while, but now we are happily in the same city- New York City!

Although my boyfriend and I are now very comfortable with each other, my HH still plays a big part in our relationship. Just the other night, I asked him again (for the umpteenth time): “Are you sure my hands don’t bother you?  “It’s not gross when I touch you?”

Thankfully, Francis has always been fine with my HH. I am lucky to have found him!

Other than the physical aspect of HH, he understands when I get very frustrated and emotional due to HH limitations. I try to be calm, but sometimes I can’t help it. He talks me through it or gives me a hug.

Francis is also very supportive about my goal to help others like me with HH. He encourages me to blog and to talk to people. It feels really good to trust that Francis isn’t grossed out by my HH and he is someone I confide in all the time.

We don’t let HH limit our relationship. We go out, stay in, watch movies, go to dinner…we are a pretty normal couple. If we’re talking about HH, it’s usually about ideas for my blog or ideas for future non-profit organizations for people with HH. We don’t like to let HH bring us down, although it’s okay to feel sad sometimes.

My advice to you is: Don’t settle. There is a guy or girl out there who will be accepting of your HH and you deserve to have that person.

And you never know- that person may just have HH themselves. Or a version of it.

I will go out on a limb and say that Francis has secondary HH. Secondary Hyperhidrosis is different from mine (primary) because it is caused by something. For example: taking certain medications, being overweight and/or having other medical conditions can cause overactive sweating. Francis’ cause happens to be spicy food.

The first time I noticed the sweating was when we ate chicken wings together at a dining hall on our college campus. His forehead had broken out in a sweat and had started dripping. The back of his shirt was starting to get wet.

I felt more comfortable mentioning the sweating because of my own condition, and Francis told me that it always happened to him when he ate spicy food.

Since then, this has been a normal and frequent occurrence. We both really like Thai food, and sometimes it can get spicy. He will sweat right there in the restaurant, and sweat way more than me! His forehead will sometimes get really sweaty and he has to go through a bunch of napkins to mop it up.

I have never had a problem with spicy foods and sweating, so I don’t really understand that aspect of overactive sweating. However, I know that Francis has a much better idea of my HH through these experiences.

I recently asked him if he made social decisions based on his spicy food sweating episodes. He said that he probably wouldn’t eat anything really spicy out in public, but it doesn’t bother him too much if he sweats just a little bit since he really likes spicy food.This is similar to people who suffer from primary HH because we make social decisions based on our HH all the time.

Francis did not know what HH was before he met me. I didn’t know he had sweating tendencies when eating spicy food. Since we started dating, I have slowly taught him what it means to live with HH. I know he still learns new ways I am limited by the condition, but he has a much better sense of what my life has been like.

If it’s any reassurance for the future, I notice that my sweating has decreased when around Francis because I am now more comfortable and relaxed around him. Dating always made me nervous, and nerves will create more sweat.

Don’t hide your HH. If it comes up, talk about it. HH is a big part of your life and a big part of who you are, whether you like it or not. The right person for you is going to love you for everything you are.

All my best,

Caryn

Blushing and Blotching

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!

Caryn

 

(I know it) Like the back of my hand

I use the back of my hands a lot. You might find this strange or confusing, but it’s another coping mechanism.

The back of my hands sweat less. The tops of my fingers will sweat occasionally when my HH is very strong and opposite the palm area (above the wrist and below the knuckles), there is no sweat.

For my job, I have to hang a lot of posters to advertise concerts. I always smooth them down with the backs of my hands. I can’t do it with the front of my sweaty hands or the ink will run!

On the subway, I will sometimes balance myself by pressing the back of my hand to the rail. This works for the most part. I’m really good at balancing.

Side note- I truly think I have better balance from having HH on my feet. Walking with sweaty feet in sandals requires a lot of balance!

If I ever really need to be in close proximity to people where my hands may brush them, I make sure it’s with the back of my hands.  Fist bump instead of hand shake?

I tend to keep my palms down, so people are only seeing the back (tops) of my hands. Less glistening in the light!

At a bar, I will hold onto my drink most of the night so only the back of my hands are showing. Also, if you need to shake someone’s hand unexpectedly, you can claim that the sweat is the condensation from your glass. I do this a lot, actually. More lying- I guess this should have been in my “lying” post.

Does anyone else with HH use the back of their hands?

Caryn

Oh yeah, I’m a flute player

So, I have been noticing that I rarely write anything about my flute playing in here.

Let me tell you a quick story.

I am in a woodwind quintet that performs all over the city.
In March 2012, we auditioned for MUNY (Music Under New York).
MUNY participants are able to reserve the best tip spots to perform in the subways.
Well, we won the audition!

We started playing in the subways this summer.

The evening before our first performance (which was in Union Square), I realized something I should have thought about a long time ago.

The subways are HOT. I have complained about the heat in my posts before, and other readers have commented on their heat as well. I have had some of my worst HH moments in subways!

I started freaking out- What did I do!?! Why did I intentionally do this to myself?!?
I was so upset with myself for not thinking this through.

The next day, we all played, and boy was it hot! But we all survived.

I brought a very absorbent towel with me, and that worked well. I keep that towel in my flute bag now, and use it every time I play. I use my music to fan my hands if necessary, and wipe my hands on my jeans.

My quintet and I have since then performed in Grand Central, Penn Station, Herald Square, and Columbus Circle. Each has been successful, and I am able to play my flute okay.

This past weekend in Columbus Circle, I became paranoid because people were looking over my shoulder (probably at the music) and my hands were dripping sweat. I hope they didn’t notice!

Also, my hands made the pads under my keys all sticky and moist. This gives an annoying sound when you move the keys. I hate feeling like I’m breaking my instrument every time I play 😦

For more info on my flute playing- www.carynfreitag.com

Stay strong out there- anything is possible, with a few alterations.

Caryn

What Would You Like to Read About?

Hi All,

I want to write about things that you want to read. Please fill out this poll to let me know what you’re interested in. I have included a few options, but please, if you have suggestions about a topic, write it in the “other” box.


Thank you for reading 🙂

The weather is cooling off, so I hope you are all doing well!
Caryn

Don’t Sweat It…

As a person with Hyperhidrosis, I have constantly been paranoid about where I put my hands, always wondering if people will see the sweat on my palms and fingers. When I’m playing my flute and my hands are probably gleaming  in the light, I start panicking and my performance is hindered.

Yesterday, I was at a meeting for work. I was at a conference table, taking notes with pen and paper. My hands were very sweaty and I was getting all nervous and uncomfortable.

YET, no one noticed at all. No one was looking at me strange, no one was looking at my hands.

Maybe they weren’t being observant or aware.

Think about it- how often do you look at people’s hands? I have HH and I don’t look at hands often, unless I am specifically looking out for people with the condition. I feel people look at hands and take them for granted- they don’t look to see an abnormality.

I really think this is how people with HH have lived in secret for so long.

This is something I need to tell myself now:

“Keep playing your flute- chances are they aren’t even looking at the sweat. They are listening to your music. ”

Don’t get me wrong- I think I will still be paranoid about what I do with my hands…I think it is a feeling that people with HH have all the time- the need to hide and conceal.

But, I just wanted to put my two cents in and let you know that there is a chance that people might not notice.

How many times has someone actually made a comment about your sweating? Not many people have actually commented on my sweating before I told them about my condition. Maybe we need to concentrate on this.

On the other hand, this could also mean that I’m just really good at hiding it! 🙂

Best,

Caryn

Rings and HH

I wear rings every day. Usually, I wear my class ring from college- a classy one that gets a lot of comments from people.

You already know that HH causes my hands to swell to the point where I need to get a ring size larger than normal for my fingers.

What you don’t know is what happens when people want to look at my rings.

Many times, people will grab my hand and start admiring my ring.

With HH, this is highly uncomfortable. I don’t want them to notice my sweaty hands so I immediately take my ring off and hand it over to them to look at.

Anyway, I’m getting older…and one day I will hopefully be engaged and have a ring on my finger. Many women love when their engagement ring is looked at and show it off. Many friends and family don’t even ask to look at the ring, they just grab the Bride-to-Be’s hand to “ooh and ahh”.

This is going to suck for me. I don’t even know how I will handle it. I’m not going to take the ring off for the person to look at. This might be fine for other rings, but not an engagement ring.

Don’t get me wrong…I still want a ring. I’m a pretty traditional person when it comes to weddings. I am just imagining some uncomfortable situations in my future.

It’s sad that I need to think of this. Being engaged should be nothing but happy. It shouldn’t be awkward and uncomfortable.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Caryn