Trouble taking a deep breath

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Wondering if anyone has breathing issues associated with their anxiety? Mine resurfaced the other day when I went to the zoo, was an issue again during therapy yesterday, and is back tonight. I used to have this all the time - literally - and first remember it when I was around 5. I have to take exaggerated deep breaths to get enough air, and when I was little my dad would holler at me and tell me to "quit breathing like that."

I was surprised when it came back; maybe I was surprised because I hadn't noticed it was gone. I've been trying to figure out when it left - I think it was sometime in late 2019 or early 2020, and my T was thinking it was associated with work. Well, it might have been - and that would make sense now that it has returned - but it's been around for decades, so seems it's more than anxiety associated with work.

It is exhausting. My chest is super sore due to the costochondritis, which makes it harder to breathe. I've been using one of the apps for relaxation, but not sure how to get to the bottom of the anxiety.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I often have the impression I can’t breathe to the bottom. And in fact it causes me to try to have more air with this weird air intake. Better to rule out a form of asthma. But I can tell it occurs in specific moments of anxiety, and getting anxious about it doesn’t make it better.

I’m sorry your parents got such a shit response towards that. Mine developed around 15 and I arranged myself for it not to happen when I was in front of anyone. As it comes mostly at night it’s easy to hide.
 
I went to the doctor for this wayyy back in college, and he diagnosed "panic attacks" which was absolutely correct (even if the terminology has since changed).

Noticing it made it much worse because I would start to watch myself breathe, which of course leads to even more problems.

The only way I was able to get out of it was by trying to distract the hell out of myself. Is there anything really engaging you can do when you start to watch yourself breathe?

(And of course you should get checked out for physical causes of this as well.)
 
I had this yesterday. Felt like an elephant was sitting on me. I've felt this off and on before during periods of relationship stress. It's like a constant state of about to pass out. I went to a Dr. Yesterday. They gave me anxiety meds. I still feel the anxiety but I can breathe today and I sort of slept last night.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
I arranged myself for it not to happen when I was in front of anyone.
I can't stop it from happening, but I also am careful to try to "hide" it around others.
Is there anything really engaging you can do when you start to watch yourself breathe?
Distraction really doesn't help. I've had folks point it out before and I didn't even notice. I'm definitely better at noticing now, but it continues even if I'm super busy and occupied.
(And of course you should get checked out for physical causes of this as well.)
Yeah, have done this multiple times.
had this yesterday. Felt like an elephant was sitting on me. I've felt this off and on before during periods of relationship stress. It's like a constant state of about to pass out. I went to a Dr. Yesterday. They gave me anxiety meds. I still feel the anxiety but I can breathe today and I sort of slept last night.
I'm glad you found something that helped. I'm trying to avoid meds, but I may have to do that eventually. I'm worried about how this is going to affect me at my new job.
 
Yeah I was trying to avoid, and I did for a couple months, but it's gotten so bad I just needed relief. Definitely worth going to a doctor for. The medication she gave me just takes the edge off. I even managed to complete several tasks that were so overwhelming to me.
 

Sues

Confident
I've had asthma for many years. I had a panic attack after a very triggering event. I thought it was an asthma attack, even though it felt different. I grabbed my inhaler, but it didn't help. My son and daughter-in-law were there and said it's a panic attack and tried to talk to me and help me calm down. I eventually calmed down on my own, I didn't want anyone near me. I needed physical space after that horrible trigger.

During the panic attack I felt like I couldn't breathe and I started to panic, hence the term panic attack. Knowing what it is helps me to know that it's not asthma and I can work to slow my breathing and calm myself after a bit.
 

Starfire

Confident
Wondering if anyone has breathing issues associated with their anxiety? Mine resurfaced the other day when I went to the zoo, was an issue again during therapy yesterday, and is back tonight. I used to have this all the time - literally - and first remember it when I was around 5. I have to take exaggerated deep breaths to get enough air, and when I was little my dad would holler at me and tell me to "quit breathing like that."

I was surprised when it came back; maybe I was surprised because I hadn't noticed it was gone. I've been trying to figure out when it left - I think it was sometime in late 2019 or early 2020, and my T was thinking it was associated with work. Well, it might have been - and that would make sense now that it has returned - but it's been around for decades, so seems it's more than anxiety associated with work.

It is exhausting. My chest is super sore due to the costochondritis, which makes it harder to breathe. I've been using one of the apps for relaxation, but not sure how to get to the bottom of the anxiety.
Funny you posted this just now. I have the opposite. I hold my breath. Then breathe very shallow. Was always told to breathe. I had forgotten about it. Recently I was having blood pressure taken at Doc's office and RN said you have to breathe. My T said take a deep breath during a session. Started realizing the old behavior had returned. Know have been more anxious lately but far less than other times. Hadn't related the two until you mentioned it. Don't know the cause. Hope you'll post any new insights you have. Thank you.
 

Warrior Chicken

MyPTSD Pro
I’ve noticed this too. As though the air gets stuck part way when taking a deep breath, like @rubbercoraxxx, the air doesn’t get to the bottom. Then I just want oxygen so I try harder to take a deep breath and it just doesn’t work.
I’m not necessarily aware of a specific trigger each time it happens (sometimes yes, there is a trigger).

Something that works on occasion is to focus on pushing out all the air in my lungs. As though if I empty the lungs there will be more space for new oxygen. This also has the effect of turning on the parasympathetic nervous system - or the side that lets us start to relax. It doesn’t always work, but it’s the first thing I try when I can remember to use it!
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I’ve noticed this too. As though the air gets stuck part way when taking a deep breath, like @rubbercoraxxx, the air doesn’t get to the bottom. Then I just want oxygen so I try harder to take a deep breath and it just doesn’t work.
I’m not necessarily aware of a specific trigger each time it happens (sometimes yes, there is a trigger).

Something that works on occasion is to focus on pushing out all the air in my lungs. As though if I empty the lungs there will be more space for new oxygen. This also has the effect of turning on the parasympathetic nervous system - or the side that lets us start to relax. It doesn’t always work, but it’s the first thing I try when I can remember to use it!
Yes focusing on expiration rather than expiration does somewhat work. At least you know something has entered and that you aren't choking.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
I've had asthma for many years. I had a panic attack after a very triggering event. I thought it was an asthma attack, even though it felt different. I grabbed my inhaler, but it didn't help. My son and daughter-in-law were there and said it's a panic attack and tried to talk to me and help me calm down. I eventually calmed down on my own, I didn't want anyone near me. I needed physical space after that horrible trigger.

During the panic attack I felt like I couldn't breathe and I started to panic, hence the term panic attack. Knowing what it is helps me to know that it's not asthma and I can work to slow my breathing and calm myself after a bit.
Good you were able to come to understand the difference. Mine is not a panic attack, although it is anxiety. It can go on for days or weeks. Happily, I'm down to just hours right now. It comes and goes.
 
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