Thursday, March 20, 2008


When I started college, I began having some very strange and very scary breathing problems. Mainly, I would have "episodes" where I absolutely could NOT get a deep breath. The more I thought about it and tried, the harder it was. Seriously, the only things that helped were a good shoulder rub or a beer. I thought at first it was asthma. It would last sometimes for a day, other times for two weeks straight, with little relief. It is one of the most frustrating things in the world, to need a deep breath so badly and not be able to get it. I also was embarrassed in public because it was very obvious when I was having trouble breathing. I would take unnecessary breaths, and sigh all the time.

One time while I was at home with my parents, I noticed my dad breathing the same way...sitting up straight, fighting for a deep breath, not getting much relief...the frustration. I asked him about it. He said he'd had it for years and just thought it was "him." I asked him if his throat hurt all the time and he said it did. The muscles in my throat/esophagus would ache because I was constantly expanding them to try to get more air. He told me some things he had done to help relieve his symptoms, but nothing really helped. I did notice it was always better during the holidays, or during vacation from school, or while I was in a hot shower or getting a massage...anything relaxing (which, I guess is why the beer worked so well).

I finally went to the doctor during late college, and was diagnosed with "mild stress-induced asthma" and was given an inhaler. For a while I felt better and used my inhaler when I needed it. But I soon discovered my relief was psychosomatic more than anything. I wanted so badly to find relief, that I convinced myself the inhaler was working...but it wasn't. So, I've just continued to live life and deal with it as it comes.

Well, I've had a really bad case over Spring Break and I decided it was time for me to do a little research. Don't ask me WHY, I've never done it before's been at least 8 years, probably longer. So, after much research this evening and perusing some online forums, I have come up with a self-diagnosis of anxiety disorder. Reading all of the information, it makes TOTAL sense and doesn't surprise me in the least. It was REALLY nice to read about other people who have experienced the strange breathing thing. I don't have full-blown panic attacks EVER, and I'm so thankful for that. I will go to my doctor sometime in the next month and talk to her about what we can do. There are medications to help, but I would rather not take them if I can do something else. About a month ago when it started getting really bad and I could feel my stress levels rising, I started doing yoga, which has helped a lot. We'll see.

Just call me Dr. Charla.


  1. take care of yourself....I have some of those episodes myself....Mine is due to stress which causes my neck and back to tense up....I get some relief from the chiropractor....message...and just stretchin'....It gets even worse when you are just get ready....just make sure that you budget a message while you are is worth every also helps with you overall body....steph

  2. Oh honey! I'm so sorry that happens to you. I hope you find relief soon! Love you - Sharon

  3. Hey ole' roomie... I found your blog! I remember the breathing episodes in college! It seemed to me like the problem was worse right before a big test, so I'm not surprised by the diagnosis. Isn't the internet wonderful for learning about other people who have strange things in common with you?

    Good luck with your fertility treatments. I have a couple of girlfriends here in Dallas who have had struggles. They both conceived successfully after treatments began... one of them immediately! Don't do what she did, though. After her first daughter was born she didn't go back on birth control because she didn't think she had anything to worry about. She conceived again four months after giving birth to her first! Can you imagine?

    Have a Happy Easter!



  4. darlin'- look at your family history- probably more that 50% have some sort of anxiety related issues...... call me and I'll tell you more details. Gma and I went to SA yesterday and one of our conversations was specifically about this. Realizing and accepting are the first steps to managing.

  5. You know I am a BIG believer in medication to manage this type of thing. I KNOW it helps!

  6. girl, that is exactly what it sounds like! medication and deep breathing/relaxation techniques SHOULD help! way to go about reading up on the internet and educating yourself with your symptoms...hope your doc is able to work with you to find the exact thing that YOU need!!!


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