Monday, July 27, 2015

How hyperhidrosis affects your career: A moving first-person story

Has hyperhidrosis affected your career choices? It has certainly affected mine. I avoided careers with a lot of hand shaking such as sales and public relations, opting for jobs where I spend much of my time behind a computer. Though there are many enjoyable aspects of my work, I sometimes wonder what I might have become had I gotten treatment for hyperhidrosis at a younger age. For example, I might have tried out for sports teams had I not feared high-fiving others and shaking hands with opponents. I would have definitely done theater had I not feared lifting up my arms. And perhaps I would have tried student council and developed leadership skills at a young age.

I try not to dwell a lot on these lost opportunities, and I have grown a lot since my anxious days of high school. I write about them in hopes that younger people with hyperhidrosis might not inhibit their growth -- like a plant placed in too small of a pot, its tangled roots running out of room to grow.

I want to thank Steve Tribe for his moving first person essay, "I Can't Stop Sweating," recently published in The Guardian.  Mr. Tribe's ETS surgery stopped his palmar hyperhidrosis but triggered compensatory sweating in other parts of his body. He writes:
When I’m working in an office I always wear a jacket. People say things like “Aren’t you hot?” but it’s better than them asking me, “Why is your back so wet?” Now I work as a night controller in the construction industry, which means cooler weather and fewer people.
Mr. Tribe is involved in a British hyperhidrosis support group and set up a Facebook page about hyperhidrosis, now with over 2,000 members. I am grateful to him and others who have helped raise awareness of our condition.


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