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Topic: Anxiety - Shortness Of Breath

13 posts, 0 answered
  1. Tense Sez
    Tense Sez avatar
    0 posts
    20 November 2019

    Hi Guys,

    Fairly new here and can see a lot of threads on similar symptoms, but I'll share my story to let you all in on my situation and possibly find people out there who are in a similar place.

    Just about a year ago, I was at a concert and was tired and over worked - lots of alcohol and little sleep. I then felt a sensation of not being able to take a deep, satisfying and full breath. Being a healthy 22 year old male who regularly goes to the gym and had quite a good diet, I'd never experienced such a thing in my life and absolutely scared the hell out of me. I tried to calm down, checked my pulse, had some water but still became faint and lay down and started having tingling sensations in all my extremities. I was told that I just had a panic attack by some average looking 'medical officer' who thought he'd seen it all before (I study medicine and thought I knew more than him at the time). I was convinced it couldn't have been anxiety causing such insanely scary symptoms.

    I've been to a handful of doctors and had all the tests done and each one looks at me like I'm crazy, all my tests turn up normal (seems to be a common occurrence on this page), I've never actually been properly diagnosed or prescribed any drugs but have been to a psychologist. She's great but it just doesn't do anything for me. I never really catch myself thinking or worrying about things too much other than my health and have generally been relaxed most my life (or at least from my perspective), until this scare which has got me constantly thinking about my breathing.

    It's been a year since then and although my breathlessness has improved, I'm still plagued every day by it - and struggle to get a deep breath almost half of the day. When I breathe in, I get a super full breath and expand my chest to the point that it hurts my back, but still doesn't satisfy that feeling of a 'complete' breath.

    Just wondering if anyone currently/has felt like this and what people do to cope or how people have 'cured' it (might be a stretch). I know it's horrible to say but it almost eases my mind knowing there could be other people out there in the same boat as I am...

    Thanks

    Sez

    2 people found this helpful
  2. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    894 posts
    20 November 2019 in reply to Tense Sez

    Hi Sez

    Great to have you on the forums and good on you for posting too!

    I understand your situation as I felt the same when my anxiety 'kicked in' when I was 23....and it was absolutely terrifying (just from my own experience with anxiety as intensity of symptoms do vary as we are all different)

    From what you have posted the medical officer seems to be accurate Sez about you having a panic attack. Subject to your doctor's diagnosis of course. These anxiety feelings..especially 'tight breathing' are very common and yes very scary as our adrenaline is working overtime which restricts our chest muscles/ability to breathe

    Our breathing and our digestive system are the most sympathetic to feelings of anxiety.....

    You are proactive by consulting a psychologist and having the various tests done as well

    The forums are a safe and non judgemental place for you to post Sez..Your well being and privacy is paramount to the Beyond Blue forum community :-)

    you are not alone Sez.....I felt like I was reading about my own background when I read your post

    any questions are always welcome! There are many gentle people on the forums that can be here for you too

    and yes....the breathing does free up! I hope you can see your GP for a diagnosis which will help you start to build a strong foundation on which you can recover...not to mention having some peace of mind as well

    I hope you can stick around the forums....only if you wish of course

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

    1 person found this helpful
  3. daniel.cjm
    daniel.cjm avatar
    0 posts
    22 November 2019 in reply to Tense Sez
    Hey Sez,

    I have that exact same issue. I always feel like I can't take a full satisfying breathe.

    I ended up having a bunch of anxiety attacks a year and a bit ago, and it's been on and off since then. When the breathing thing starts, it lasts for a couple of months.

    I've been to multiple doctors (mostly unhelpful), and have 3-4 antidepressants/anti anxiety medications. They've all worked in some way, but then I've had harsh side effects i.e. scratching my arms, getting really ansy etc. I'm currently taking one which has worked alright . I've been seeing a psycologist recently too, but also find it's not super helpful with the anxiety.

    Another thing I'm starting to notice though is my moods are always up and down throughout the day. I'm finding myself feeling really down and depressed for little to no reason at all and this is accompanied by some bad iritability/agitation, and then half way through the day I just seem to flip into a yippy happy mood.

    This is starting to make me worry I might have bipolar, but I'm not sure how to go about finding that out as doctors seem to be pretty hopeless most of the time. Do I just go to a doctor and say "Am I bipolar?". I just feel like the treatment for anxiety just isn't fixing all my problems, which leads me to beleive I have other issues.

    It is quite a nice feeling knowing that you're experiencing that exact same breathing feeling! It's such a drag on my daily life, and you're right, other people tend to think you're just weird. Like, why can't you just breathe?

    I'd be keen to chat to you more and see how you're going.

    Thanks,

    Dan
    1 person found this helpful
  4. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    894 posts
    22 November 2019 in reply to Tense Sez

    Hi Sez.....(Im sorry to hijack your thread....)

    Hi daniel.cjm

    Welcome to the forums and good on you for providing support for Sez and being so proactive with your own health as well! I am also on AD's and they work really well

    You are welcome to start your own thread topic! You mentioned that you have difficulty with doctors which can happen..sometimes. Please don't consider bipolar or any other condition unless you have had a diagnosis :-)

    Anxiety issues can take a long time to 'fix' and requires patience...determination and strong desire to heal

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

  5. sharpie2
    sharpie2 avatar
    0 posts
    28 November 2019 in reply to Tense Sez

    Hello Sez,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, ones that I feel are almost identical to mine.

    I’ve battled anxiety since about a year and a half ago after I had issues with my job and career options. My breathing symptoms are the exact same as yours!! Every 3rd or 4th breath I have to expand my chest all the way to catch a big one and it’s very distressing. My body also feels quite shaky most days and I get twitches in the body.

    I also cannot exercise at the moment without feeling faint, apart from the fact that I haven’t properly exercised in 12 months because I’m recovering from a torn ACL.

    I’ve been to my GP countless of times (also seen others) had multiple tests done, again and again, and they all tell me that nothing I’m experiencing is pointing to disease and only points to anxiety.

    It’s an annoying diagnosis because of how you feel in your body. It leaves you wondering how it’s even possible that anxiety makes you feel this way! I started medication only a couple of weeks ago and I notice that my mood fluctuates a lot with it but it can make me feel better in some other ways.

    I’ve also seen a psychologist but my GP has assured me that a combination of medication and psychology should hand in hand make a difference. We’ll see about that.

    Anyway, just letting you know that other people are feeling like you as well. You aren’t alone here.

    Cheers,

    Sharpie

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Stanlee14
    Stanlee14 avatar
    0 posts
    30 November 2019

    Hello Sez welcome to the forums!

    Not too much I can add to the others who already have commented except share my own experience. I particularly related to you when you said you didn't believe anxiety could case all these symptoms. I was very much like you when I suffered my first panic attack just over a year ago. I have suffered from generalised anxiety, social anxiety, severe depression and even some PTSD thrown in the mix.I was first diagnosed when I was 9 years old. Im now a grown man and I was certain that I had experienced every possible thing mental health could throw at me. Then my whole perspective changed when I had my first Panic attack over a year ago now. My anxiety had become literally crippling, to the point where I could not control myself physically. My hands and arms shaking my legs nearly gave out from under me and couldn't seem to get any air into my lungs no matter how hard I could try.

    In that moment I swore I was going to die and nothing I could do could stop it as I had no control. As I sat there on the ground head spinning, trembling I begged my now very concerned family to take me to the ER. Fortunately my family understood what was going on and were quite supportive and where able to ride it out with me ( Bless them). This soon would become a regular occurrence for me, I began fearing the next one which made it even worse. Some of my other symptoms as you described are the tingling sensation which I can get in all different parts of my body I also get that tight chested feeling (its one the most common symptoms but quite scary). I also get quite bad gastro too- sorry but it needs to be said.

    Perhaps the most important thing this new passage in my mental health journey has taught me is that anxiety can present itself in so many ways and no two peoples symptoms are exactly alike. It also can evolve and change over time. This is why many doctors struggle to identify it I think. Don't take it personally when your doctors are not sure, you are NOT crazy. In regards to your Phycologist its a personal thing, for one you need some one you trust and connect with. I tried about 4 different ones before I found someone I felt could help me so try not to let one experience turn you off.

    Sorry for the ramble but hope something here helps.

    All the Best Stan

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Tense Sez
    Tense Sez avatar
    0 posts
    5 December 2019 in reply to daniel.cjm

    Hi Dan,

    Sorry for the late reply and cheers for sharing your story - as I said, as bad as it sounds, it always sort of comforts me that I'm not going through this alone...

    It's interesting you say the psychologist isn't helping as I didn't find it any better myself, I've asked my doctor for some SSRI's, but ended up not taking them as I'm fearful of side effects. It's such a weird loop I'm in.

    How often does your breathing occur? Or is it sort of just 'there' all the time like mine is? It had me really worried about my health, so I checked EVERYTHING, but alas - no better, although I think I'm coping with it better, as it's become a part of my day to day life.

    I've recently started trying to get back into the rhythm of things like going to the gym 4-5 times a week and playing some social sport through the week as I've read some things on physical fitness drawing heavily from mental fitness and visa versa - it's not helped just yet and I still feel almost breathless majority of the time, but i think I enjoy it so I'm going to keep doing it.

    Thanks,

    Sez

  8. Tense Sez
    Tense Sez avatar
    0 posts
    5 December 2019 in reply to sharpie2

    Hey Sharpie,

    Thanks for sharing - as I said to Dan, I think we all feel a little better if we know we're not alone.

    It's genuinely crazy how it can make me feel physically, as I rarely ever feel too anxious about anything ever in my mind - or that I'm aware of. I think our symptoms are very similar.

    I've had all kinds of symptoms and been through it all: hot flashes, dizziness, nausea, tingling, lump in the throat - name a generally common symptom of anxiety and I've had it.

    Do you have any coping mechanisms? What do you think triggers it? As for me, I can't pinpoint anything in my mind that actually triggers it as I have bad days and good days, to bad weeks and good weeks...

    Through trying to focus on what I'm thinking of during my worse times, I've found it's actually an acquired skill to be able to narrow down what you were just thinking about, when you've been thinking about 'nothing'...

    Thanks Sharpie... I hope that we both pop out the other side soon!

  9. Tense Sez
    Tense Sez avatar
    0 posts
    5 December 2019 in reply to Stanlee14

    Hi Stanlee14,

    Sorry for the late reply, I've been extremely busy, and this silly thread doesn't notify me of replies!

    Your story is very interesting and I feel bad for everything that you've been through. I've only started noticing physical symptoms directly after my panic attack - never had anything to do with anxiety prior to a year ago, but it's hit me all at once.

    My panic attack seems very similar to yours, when I was lying on the ground, looking up into the sky dazed and confused - I too felt as if it was all over. I feel like this might be a very common thing during a panic attack. It's scary shit.

    I've not suffered one since, but can almost 'feel' one coming on? I'm quite good at staying out of it, but can't control the symptoms that stick around afterwards...

    What do you do for coping mechanisms if you have any? I'm looking for a way out, and I'd love an alternative to taking drugs for who knows how long...

    Cheers,

    Sez

  10. Bluray
    Bluray avatar
    1 posts
    5 December 2019

    Hi everyone

    I have suffered from Anxiety for many years due to PTSD. Like depression, anxiety is ultimately changed by our thoughts. Thats the problem with panic attacks - the first attack is usually granted but there after we are usually having panic attacks because we are scared of having a panic attack.(our thoughts). Have you ever tried to will on a panic attack - you can't do it believe me i've tried! The things that helped me over the years are CBT and Meditation. Both are not particularly easy but worth practising. If you are going to doctors that don't work for you then find another one, if that one is no good, find another one until you find one you feel comfortable with and you are going forward with. The last thing is that when you are feeling this way, place your hand on your stomach and push your stomach out while breathing in and counting to 5, then hold the breath for the count of 5, exhale for the count of 5 before breathing in again count to 5 then repeat. Your hands are in that position to make sure you are breathing from the diaphragm. I really hope this helps. It does get better when you do the work. xx

  11. sharpie2
    sharpie2 avatar
    0 posts
    9 January 2020 in reply to Tense Sez

    Hey Sez,

    Really sorry for the late reply, I’ve been meaning to but have had a very crazy December, work is killing me.

    I can’t seem to pinpoint my triggers either, it just happens without me being conscious of it. That’s what I find the most frustrating, it basically lives within me. Maybe we don’t realise that our thoughts are subtly overriding us even though there’s no need for obvious panic about something?

    Like you I have good weeks and bad weeks, the bad is very bad and the good is manageable at least. Recently I’ve been bad because I’m not happy at work at the moment, not sure I’m on the right career path etc. I’ve been trying to do rehab on my knee so I can play soccer this season and right now my muscles just don’t want to work they’re so tense and sore, which depresses me because I’m a 24 year old male that’s loved sport all his life.

    My GP started me on a low dose of medication which seems to help keep my head clear and lift my mood up. It helps my physical symptoms slightly as well. It’s very expensive though which is annoying..

    Coping mechanisms? This is a hard one..I don’t have many really..go for a walk by yourself, push everything away and take in the outdoors. Talk to people, seriously talk to people, friends, family etc, do catch up with your friends regularly. Rest when you feel like you’ve had a big day and are irritated. Take things slowly, don’t always tick at 100km/h. Try to think of things you’re looking forward to in the not too distant future like holidays etc if you have any planned.

    I know it’s a massive battle when you’re feeling like you are, with all these symptoms happening but you need to stay on top of things because that downward spiral is disastrous and I don’t wish it on anybody.

    Hope you’re doing alright?

    Cheers,

    Sharpie

  12. Tense Sez
    Tense Sez avatar
    0 posts
    13 February 2020 in reply to sharpie2

    Hey again Sharpie,

    I know the feeling all too well, my Dec-Jan has worked me at every possible angle and I currently have a couple weeks off, but am feeling like I once was.

    I think you're definitely onto something when you say that it builds up sub-consciously, until the point we actually notice physical symptoms, the feelings of stress have dissipated since.

    I'd like to hear more about your meds and diagnosis - what you had to go through to get to where you're at if you feel like it, i'd be really interested.

    Cheers,

    Sez

     

  13. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    894 posts
    15 February 2020 in reply to Tense Sez

    Hi Sez!

    you are proactive with your health and thats a huge step towards having some peace of mind

    There are many people (including myself) that have had the tight chest and shortness of breath. I understand you are busy yet I have provided the copy & paste link of 'Annabays' 'Physical Symptoms of Anxiety' thread below for you

    www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/anxiety/what-physical-feelings-of-anxiety-do-you-get

    Shortness of breath is a very common symptom of anxiety

    I hope you have a good weekend

    Paul

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