The Balancing Act
Sometimes it feels a little odd to write this blog. Is this navel-gazing? Is it really useful to other people? Is this too much self-exposure? What about all the other issues in the world that are so much more important than my own emotional struggle? And what about all the other subjects and interests that occupy my mind...writing, art, being outdoors, social justice, peace, etc.? We are all so much more than the medical conditions we face.
When I was a child, I told my mother about my sweaty palms and how I was scared to go to church or to a school dance. "Just wipe them off on your pants," she told me. Then she would try to reassure me by telling me how lucky I am compared with other children because I have a nice home and enough food to eat. Or how lucky I am because getting good grades in school came easy to me. She had a valid point, but unfortunately, I ended up feeling worse. I felt guilty for feeling bad about my sweaty palms--there are starving children in Africa and I'm worried about a little sweat? The result was that I didn't get the help I needed.
I've come to see the importance of balance when it comes to dealing with hyperhidrosis. You have to get yourself the medical and emotional help you need in order to live a full and happy life. You need to acknowledge and let yourself feel the emotions that arise in response to your condition, whether that be sadness, anger, or fear. And not to judge yourself for feeling that way.
On the other hand, it helps to look beyond yourself. To see and feel compassion for the struggles of others. It helps put your medical condition in perspective.
Perhaps you might even take action to help ease others' suffering. You might appeal to your Congressional representative to take a stand against the genocide in Darfur, a region of the African country Sudan. You might pray for the people of Iraq and our troops who are in so much danger. You might focus on your local community, volunteering to tutor a student.
I'm no Mother Theresa, but I do volunteer a few times a month at a local assisted living facility, visiting an older gentleman who is unable to leave the building alone. He likes to have visitors. He teaches me chess, and each week as I lose yet another game to him, I "build character." (-:
When I take the spotlight off myself, I find that my social anxiety (and the excessive sweat that results) isn't so bad. My sweaty palms are the last thing on my mind when I'm getting my butt kicked in chess! When we finish the game, we thank each other and shake hands. This must be what they mean by the expression 'healing touch.'