'Sorry, My Hands Are Clammy...' Living With Hyperhidrosis

Monday, January 05, 2015 Andrea Lo 0 Comments

'Why are your hands so sweaty?'

Until I was a teenager, I never knew that I had a condition called hyperhidrosis. All I knew was that, all my life, my palms get really sweaty. I thought everybody else had the same thing.

Characterised by excessive sweating, hyperhidrosis is referred to as 'the silent handicap'. (Thanks, Wiki.) According to Web MD, 1-3% of all humans suffer from this condition. Because it's so damn awkward, most people deal with it in the dark: I am lucky enough (meh) to only have it on my palms, but some people get it on their face, armpits, or all over.

It usually happens for no reason, and goes on throughout the day. It gets worse on a hot and humid day...

... Which is, like, all the time in Hong Kong.

It is also particularly bad when I am under pressure. Because I am of a naturally nervous disposition, this means my hands are sweaty pretty much all... day... long.

In fact, as I lie in bed now typing this, I am having to constantly wipe my hands dry before I can carry on.

I've been made fun of for it for as long as I can remember, but it doesn't bother me... Probably because I would do the same too if I didn't have hyperhidrosis.

Besides, I kind of like the shock factor.

There are medications you can take and procedures (e.g. Botox) you can undergo to make it go away. I feel like I might be ready to take that next step.

I subconsciously do certain things directly as a result of my sweaty hands. Today, it was pretty bad — I think I went through a stack of paper towels — and it got me thinking about what life would be like without hyperhidrosis. 

I wonder what it's like to read a newspaper and not get ink all over my fingers; to not carry a handkerchief everywhere; to grip my pen properly; to play the piano without being yelled at by an old ass Russian woman for getting the keys wet (boarding school); to keep my hair dry when I brush my fingers through it; to wear whatever clothes without considering if they're 'hand-wipe friendly'; to go on a date and not flinch when the guy tries to hold my damn hand.

Um... Maybe it's not always to do with my sweaty hands

Once, during an intense conversation leading to a break up, I rested my hand on his jeans... And it left a sweaty imprint.

The only good thing about having sweaty hands? When my hands are dry — which does happen — they are the smoothest, softest hands you'll ever hold.