Narratives play different roles in our lives. And in illness, they take on a whole new dimension. They serve as a source of hope and this is exemplified by Arthur Kleinman when he states, “each of us, even the most advantaged, has need of all the good examples we can find. Perhaps at no time is this more true than when we must confront suffering, as only those who experience long-term, daily suffering can attest”. Without a narrative, it is almost impossible to make head or tail of illness/disease. The narrative as told by the sufferer serves as a basis for the beginning of diagnosis. That first story that you tell of what you are feeling is where the journey to recovery or knowledge of what is wrong begins. And as Harter eloquently explains, “Health care would be impossible if not for our human capacity to order and embody lived experience in narrative form. Narratives endow experience with meaning by temporally organizing events, distinguishing characters and their relations with one another, and ascertaining causality by virtue of emplotting otherwise disparate events. Narratives, thus, represent equipment for living sense making resources that allow individuals to size up circumstances and craft livable truths” (Harter, 2009, p. 2).
Suffering from hyperhidrosis has proved to be a challenge, more so than I realized. It is only as I write and think back that I see how much it has affected how I have made decisions based on my condition. Despite it manifesting physically, it is also a mental illness in some form because a lot of suffering goes on mentally and this is sometimes manifested, as in my case through anxiety and other undiagnosed disorders that my friends claim I suffer from. And it is exhausting how you constantly tailor your life around this condition just so you can pass as normal in society.
Writing this essay has allowed me to examine my personal view of the condition and I think a lot of what I feel and think are mostly self-biases, personal feelings I project onto others as they would exhibit them on me. And I think this has a lot to do with that incident I started out with, how my teacher found out and reacted to my condition. I think I am too hard on myself; for example, Andrea told me she thought I did a terrific job with my presentation in our other class, but I felt like it went terrible. Not only did Andrea tell me I did a great job but this was confirmed by more than half of the class and this made me think we were not observing the same presentation but we were. Clearly, I judge myself more harshly and think that is exactly how everyone else sees it. In short, what I am trying to say is that I should ease up on myself because how I see it is not the way everyone else see it. And by me being this hard on myself, I limit myself to endless opportunities and seclude myself from the world when I could be out there exploring and enjoying life. After all, we only live once.