So, we have arrived at the fun part; DEFINITIONS!! Yes, I am just as excited as you are. Hyperhidrosis as defined by Swick and Walling (2011) is a disorder of excessive sweating beyond what is expected for thermoregulatory needs and environmental conditions. Hyperhidrosis may be primary or secondary to medications or general medical conditions. Primary hyperhidrosis has an estimated prevalence of nearly 3% of the population. The pathophysiology of hyperhidrosis is not well understood. Eccrine glands, found in high concentration in the palms, soles, forehead, and axillae, are innervated by cholinergic fibers of the sympathetic nervous system.
It gets better. I PROMISE!!!
A complex dysfunction of this system is likely to be contributory to the disorder. Primary hyperhidrosis increases the risk of cutaneous infection and has a significant psychosocial burden and a negative impact on quality of life (286). My definition of this condition (I refer to it as a condition, not an illness because aside from semi-constantly having wet hands and feet, I was/am well for the most part) is simply excessive sweating of the hands and feet and sometimes armpits due to an overactive nerve (sympathetic) that decided to lodge itself in the stomach, clearly a place it had no business being. The irony of the cause of my excessive sweating being an overactive sympathetic nerve is not lost on me. I have a good laugh about it once in a while depending on what affliction I may be going through due to my overactive “sympathetic” nerve.
Despite the few laughs I have over my condition, I seem to have developed a high level of existential anxiety (self-diagnosed) stemming from my condition. A regular visit to a friend’s house has me worrying about taking off my shoes and the foot prints that I will no doubt leave on the floor, creating a trail in my wake and everyone knowing that I had obviously been to their house. Just thinking about this would have my tummy in knots, dreading the visit at which point I may decide to cancel, citing my tummy as a reason for the cancelled visit. Lacovou, who argues that existential anxiety is a complex phenomenon and thus difficult to define but explains that it is “…the ‘inevitable unease or malaise’ (Van Deurzen, 2002, p34) that comes from awareness of yourself, your freedom and the finitude of human existence” (358).
I doubt that there is ever a day that goes by without me going into a state of anxiety, accompanied by fast irregular heartbeats. The mere thought of applying for a job out of state has me in a state of near panic, picturing the big move that would ensue if I got the job, meeting new people and finding my footing in a new place. And all this happens behind a computer screen as I read the job description, without applying or even being called in for an interview. I find that when I get to this level of anxiety, I psyche myself out of applying for any out of state jobs until I calm down and try to rationalize it with myself.
And after I calm down, I do not apply. I look for something else. It seems easier that way. And if I do apply, which I have a couple of times before, I give every excuse in the book for not taking up the opportunity when called.
I have heard the saying “the worst they can do say is no”. For someone like me, no is a really big deal and it actually is the worst they can say. I start to think of why they said no and of course always manage to find the worst possible reasons they could have said no and believe it to be true, something I have done wrong on my part. It validates why nothing is going right, that I deserve the no I got and all that. Sometimes I wonder how I have managed to still be somewhat normal (all my friends refuse to believe I have a normal bone in my body) without receiving therapy though this is something I am currently looking into. It seems that as I grow older, the worse my condition gets and this is not helping with the anxiety at all.
To be continued…