Living with hyperhidrosis can mean having limited energy, time, and bandwidth. You may find yourself needing to say "no" more often than you did before you developed excessive sweating. Do you have a tough time being direct with others about how you feel? It's not unusual to feel awkward or self-centered when turning down a request or an invitation. You may feel at the mercy of the other person's need.
Using "I" statements can help put you back in the driver's seat of the situation. An "I" statement directly communicates your feelings and sets a clear boundary, allowing you to focus on avoiding triggers for sweating and managing hyperhidrosis-related symptoms like anxiety or depression. For instance:
I don't feel like going.
I'd rather do something else instead.
It's too hot this week.
Whenever I attend that event, I feel anxious and start sweating.
At first, you may feel vulnerable about using direct "I" statements when saying no. Your true feelings are exposed, and you may be judged for using hyperhidrosis as an excuse. "I" statements can also be freeing! You don't need to pretend or tell a white lie. It's ok to communicate directly about what you need.
Using an "I" statement is a way of taking responsibility for your feelings. You are not blaming or accusing the other person. You are being honest about your needs and making sure they are recognized.
Members of MyHyperhidrosisTeam shared some of their experiences with communicating directly:
"I'm totally fed up with pretending I'm alright so loved ones can carry on with their lives thinking I'm OK."
"I've had family problems as well... One day they'll ask me why I did what I did and they will listen to me. Hope everyone else is ok and not suffering too much."
"I've gotten to the point where I just say to my friends and family "I sweat"! I can't allow a bunch of sweat to run my life."
Have you used "I" statements to set boundaries? How did it feel? Share your stories about direct communication in the comments below or on MyHyperhidrosisTeam.