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Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

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Old 03-01-2005, 10:11 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 188
groovyk HB User
Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

hi everyone!

I've always been a nervous person....but since I got inner ear damage last July I have been 10 times worse.

I have constant dizziness....and have been unable to work for 8 months.
It seems that almost every single day...I am fighting for breath....I can't calm myself down. It usually happens at night. Though recently its through-out the day.

I used the think the anxiety was down to not knowing what was wrong with me....but I've been diagnosed now....but I'm still panicking all the time.

My chest feels tight and I feel like I'm suffocating.....this goes on for hours everyday. Last night I was awake til 2.30am hyperventilating.

Its not severe (breathing into a bag)...but its still very horrible and scary. distressing. I've been feeling bad all afternoon...and I can't get rid of the feeling.



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Old 03-01-2005, 05:36 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Texas
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cynder HB User
Re: Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

I was so surprised to read your post. I am having almost the exact same thing you are. I have suffered a vestibular problem for almost 2 yrs now and for about the last 8 months my anxiety is on overload! I am now experiencing palps and feel like I am not taking in enough air breathing. I worry all the time about having a heart attack. I am not on any meds for anxiety yet. I dont know what to do anymore. Is it anxiety or a real problem..

Old 03-02-2005, 03:53 AM   #3
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pheobe13 HB User
Re: Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

Hello to both of you,

I just wanted to maybe give you some hope because I used to have the same problem but am now more or less 'normal'. I also had undiagnosed symptoms and dizzy spells.

I actually realised that it was my paranoia about my breathing that was bringing on my panic attacks. I would feel like I was fighting to breathe, that I was breathing too much or too little.

When you breathe funny, you affect the amout of carbon dioxide and stuff in your brain, which in turn makes you feel even screwier. Then with the panic on top, used to turn me into a wreck. But I'm still alive!

Just think, your body keeps you breathing all the time you are asleep doesn't it? I used to wake up panicking that I'd stopped breathing. I now realise this was all in my head.

It is difficult at first training youself to stop thinking about it. Because once you realise you haven't though about it, you're then thinking about it!

What I used to do is challenge the thought. Like "come on then! Do your worst! Is that all you got?!" It didn't always work but over time it got better. Once you start to feel silly it becomes easier. Try making a stupid noise. Sounds stupid, and you feel really stupid doing it, but that's the idea! The ridiculousness of suddenly shouting "PAAARP!" breaks the tension of thoughts in your head. Try it!

I am still an anxious person but I haven't had a full blown panic attack in ages (touch wood!)

I wish you both the best of luck in getting rid of your anxiety...

Old 03-02-2005, 04:29 AM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: UK
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Dave[UK] HB User
Re: Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

Hi All,

I suffered with exactly the same problem for a while around a year ago when my irregular heartbeat was going through a really bad patch. I constantly had the feeling that I couldn't take a full breath and was suffocating. Firstly Iím 100% back to normal and have been for ages and have no intention of going back down that route, so as Pheobe rightly points out, it can take a little bit of time, but once you're out the other side it can go away completely.

Right, now on to the potential useful stuff... I'm not usually a believer in alternative therapy, but I learnt one VERY simple technique that sorted out my breathing every time. It sounds a little strange, but I thought what the hell gave it a try and it worked really well! What you need to do is locate the joint where your big toe meets your foot (this is just the crease between your big toe and your foot). Then massage/push this area hard in the joint (it may hurt a bit) but just keep doing that for a couple of minutes while breathing normally. Apparently some people use the corner of a table or similar and push their foot onto it as they can get more pressure (that sounded a little sadistic to me, but might be worth a go!). After a few minutes of breathing normally while doing this sit up and take a deep breath, I felt MUCH better every time I did this so give it a go!

The breathing thing is a very popular anxiety symptom but it sure is a scary one, I used to hate it. Thankfully with that behind me and a load of deep breathing exercises life is back to full speed.

I hope this helps!

Old 03-02-2005, 04:58 AM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 32
mandaj HB User
Re: Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

Hi Kelly

I know how you are feeling because i feel it to. Having an ear problem myself 8 months ago has left me feeling anxious and panicky nearly all the time. I dont know why because the problem wasnt even serious. Now every time I get the slightest ache or pain, I convince myself its something serious. I saw my gp a few months back who thought it was depression and wanted to put me on medication but I refused. I am going back to see her next week because I just cant go on feeling like this anymore. I want my old life back.

Old 03-02-2005, 09:22 AM   #6
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groovyk HB User
Re: Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

Thanks for everyone's input. It makes me feel lots better.

Last night I slept a few hours because of the anxiety....but I'm to get a better nights sleep tonight.

cynder - I'm so sorry to hear you've been feeling bad too. How is your dizziness lately? Do you do VRT?

pheobe13 - Thanks for your input. I'm sorry to hear you've been feeling bad in the past. I'm proud of seems you are doing better now.

Dave[UK] - Thanks for that. I'm definately gonna try the foot massage if I feel bad again.

mandaj - Its a horrible feeling. Sorry you've been suffering too. Its horrible when things get so bad...and you just wanna feel normal again. I'm here if you need me.

Thanks everyone! Your kind words mean a lot to me.


Old 03-02-2005, 12:22 PM   #7
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Dalton, Georgia
Posts: 56
shirley07 HB User
Re: Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

I have had the same problem - I got the inner ear deal about the same time and even thought some days the dizzy's are better - the anxiety comes and goes - do you take zanax or anything?

Old 03-02-2005, 01:28 PM   #8
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Dalton, Georgia
Posts: 56
shirley07 HB User
Re: Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

sorry xanax

Old 03-02-2005, 02:51 PM   #9
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 188
groovyk HB User
Re: Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

Nope...I'm not taking anything....well apart from St John's Wort.

I take natracalm sometimes too....but nothing can calm me down.

Old 03-02-2005, 04:29 PM   #10
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Neverenoughslee HB User
Re: Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

I have had this for years, and have gotten it much more under control in the last few years. It sounds like Hyperventilation Syndrome. You may not think you are hyperventilating, but you are.

What helped me was Anxiety Workbook, reducing negative self-talk, and meds.

I hope you feel better and I know what this feels like. Its no fun. I almost passed out a zillion times.

Old 03-02-2005, 05:18 PM   #11
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 303
tooanxious HB User
Re: Help! I feel like I can't breathe all the time!

I get that tight feeling in the chest and feel like I cant breathe when Im in certain stressful situations and it feels aweful. It feels like there is something wrong with me but I hope the docs are right and its just anxiety. At night when Im sleeping I used to have the worst attacks luckily it has gotten better though. Try to distract yourself, anything to get your mind of your breathing. I heard a doctor say that even one or two deep breaths can throw of your breathing to the point where you will hyperventilate. So even concentrating on your breathing a little bit can cause probs. Good luck.

Old 01-29-2007, 05:26 PM   #12
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: charlotte nc
Posts: 1
metropool HB User
Thumbs down Cured

Recently I began having what felt like panic attacks when I tried to sleep. I would awake and not be able to catch my breath. It was very scary, heart pounding and shallow breathing. I surely felt like I was dieing.

I am an avide climber, hiker and runner. I have recently gotten into top shape for an ultra marathon in February. In order to get lean, I had begun replacing sugar with low carb drinks that contained SPLENDA!

I have never had these symptoms before I started consuming "diet drinks" sweetened with SPLENDA.

I knew that had to be the catalyst, because nothing else had changed. Once I cut out the SPLENDA, I have slept like a baby with no more symptoms and no more anxiety about going to bed wondering if I was going to die or wake breathless.

I am just wondering if any of you folks experiencing these same symptoms drink SPLENDA or diet drinks? I think this stuff is killing us.

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