Dear Annie: Struggling with sweating

Dear Annie: I am 76 years old, have taught school for over 40 years and have given thousands of lessons in the classroom. I have officiated for more than 50 years, preached for over 20 years and given hundreds of sermons, including at funerals and weddings.

But the main issue I have had since I was 8 years old is sweating profusely when feeling enclosed or trapped or when highly anxious. It started in front of the class in fourth grade.

My parents took me to doctors, going out to a big hospital in Minnesota, and tried hypnotism, therapy, pills and so many other things. No one can figure it out.

If it is cold enough or windy enough, if there are fans going or if the speech is short in time, then I feel safer. I’m not sure if this is fixable ever, but maybe?

I have spent lots of time and money and gotten myself into such a lather looking ahead to what I have to do. I am wondering if there is any way out of this.

I’ve tried everything else, and I am writing to you to ask how others have handled this.

-- Lifetime Sweating


Dear Lifetime: I’m going to print your letter to see if others have solutions for you. In the meanwhile, I would recommend that you read a great book called “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. The book addresses the issue of traumas that are hidden in the body and can have physical symptoms when not dealt with psychologically.

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Dear Readers: Below is a poem by Rumi called “The Guest House.” If you are in therapy or are dealing with any big emotions, I hope this poem brings you comfort -- to know that the feelings will pass and that the more you allow them in, the quicker they will change into more peaceful feelings.

“The Guest House”

“This being human is a guest house. / Every morning a new arrival. / A joy, a depression, a meanness, / some momentary awareness comes / As an unexpected visitor. / Welcome and entertain them all! / Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, / who violently sweep your house / empty of its furniture, / still treat each guest honorably. / He may be clearing you out / for some new delight. / The dark thought, the shame, the malice, / meet them at the door laughing, / and invite them in. / Be grateful for whoever comes, / because each has been sent / as a guide from beyond.”

Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: