Do you control your breathing or does it control you?

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
I know lots of people struggle with breathing exercises and I am definitely one of them. But I guess mine goes deeper than a PTSD response, or at least it’s the best I can come up with. Some background information:

I have asthma but it is exercise and sickness induced.
I definitely hold my breath but not always in response to distress just like hold my breath. For example one time at a friends house I was doing my general barely breathing, holding it and as per normal, that means occasionally my body forces a deep breath, it was so deep I inhaled like 5 rolled up Hershey kiss wrappers off my drink cup that my chin was resting on.
During the worst of the abuse I got pneumonia 5-6 times a year, they could find no reason for this I was diagnosed with asthma after.
Like a lot of others panic of any kind means I will struggle to breathe to the point of being sure I’m going to pass out.
Focusing on my breath in anyway will cause panic.
According to my family I have always been a shallow breather, taking deep breaths oddly.
I do also have sleep apnea.
My T knows this and has witnessed it, he’s figured out that the more he tries to help, the worse it will get.

I realize this could absolutely be a response to many factors in my childhood that all fall under the heading stress and the way instinct is to suck in your breath to fear but it seems to have become a way of life for me. In the past I have been able to control it better by paying better attention to if I was taking a lot of deep breaths it meant I was taking way too many little ones, but it didn’t seem to change anything so I abandoned the work.

Today I was working with a memory where I held my breath, my heart was beating so hard my lungs couldn’t expand and I’m struggling to breath, both in the memory and in the current moment. T said He noticed I was breathing with my shoulders and could I try using my belly instead. I know this might sound dumb but I honestly thought how? Yes I’ve experienced both but for me it isnt something I can just do it’s something that happens, if I’m taking a deep breath it comes from my belly. If I’m not it doesn’t. I control it in that if I take a deep breath it will be a belly breath but if I can’t get a deep breath I do not understand the mechanism that causes it and therefore have no control over it. Rest assured I am tech savvy and can look it up, watch a video, and maybe figure it out, but it’s not what I’m looking for. To me I thought this was normal, I knew focusing on my breath creating panic was not, but belly breathing vs not to me was a deep vs not. So do you control your breathing or does it control you? How much of this do you think I can chalk up to trauma and PTSD versus, something is seriously wrong with you….mentally?
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
So do you control your breathing or does it control you? How much of this do you think I can chalk up to trauma and PTSD versus, something is seriously wrong with you….mentally?

i never have pondered the point before, but my initial brain fart is that breathing is a symbiotic relationship. it be a question of balance. ptsd is a serious mental condition. sorting my ptsd psycho ticks from the weirds of the common me is more work than it is worth. i am breathing wonky. how i breathe affects the entire system. it needs to be corrected. what more do i need to know?

one of the places i have serious problems is receiving TOO MUCH help. opinions/resources vary enough that it doesn't take long before the diversity of help starts sounding like a united nations debate. which voice do i listen to? don't know and i kinda wish ALL of them would just shut up.

that said, let me offer yet another suggestion. singing lessons. singing IS a breathing exercise and gives you an entirely different set of cues and measures to work with while adding a cathartic release which helps me more than i can measure. it's not about how i sound. it's about how i feel.
 
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