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  • Help: Feel like I can't breath and am Agoraphobic

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    Old 06-07-2009, 01:20 PM   #1
    salekt's Avatar
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    salekt HB User
    Help: Feel like I can't breath and am Agoraphobic

    I am 19 years old and a male. I have been having a really hard time the past 5 days. 5 days ago I was messing around with some chemicals trying to make paint/ink mixes. I opened a can of Hercules Purple PVC Primer that I wanted to add to a mix of things I had, and once I opened it, I couldn't get it closed no matter what I did and I was not in a well ventilated area. I quickly poured it into another container I had and closed that, then I left the area and disposed of the can. I noticed that the can had some scary warnings written on it.
    After reading this I started feeling very anxious and panicky and I felt like it was hard to breath. I ended up taking a nap and waking up feeling better. I went out that night and hung out with a few friends. I still felt a little jumpy, but nothing too bad. I slept fine that night.

    The next day I still felt my chest was feeling little tight, but it didn't bother me too much. I went out that day with a diesel pickup truck and apparently there was something wrong with the truck because it was flooding diesel exhaust fumes into the cabin and I had to breath that in for a while. After this I have felt like its very hard to breath and I have also become obsessed with my breathing patterns. I can't stop thinking about my breathing and it feels like I am forcing my self to breath instead of it being automatic. I keep telling myself there is nothing wrong with me and that even if I stop breathing, my body will automatically start breathing when I pass out but none of that is helping.

    The third day I still felt like I couldn't breath and I couldn't take my mind off of my breathing pattern. I made plans with my friends hoping I could go out and get my mind off of things and go back to normal, but I couldn't. I got in the car and started driving to meet my friend. The farther I got away from my home, the worse I felt. I kept getting more and more panicky and it felt like it was getting harder and harder to breath. I slept fine that night, too.

    The fourth day I tried going out again and the same thing happened. I ended up going back home and breaking down crying to my mother. I couldn't stop crying. I was crying about how I am unable to leave the house, felling "out of it" like I am not myself anymore, and how lonely I felt because I am stuck in my house. I also kept crying because I really missed my ex girlfriend. She always helped me when I was having anxiety attacks in the past and she is currently on vacation and will not be back for 10 days. I got over the crying, but still felt like it was difficult to breath and I still had the out of it, I don't feel like myself feeling. I ended up going out that night to the grocery store alone just to see if I can do it. I was able to do it, but the whole time I felt scared in the pit of my stomach and it felt hard to breath. I sleft fine that night too.

    The fifth day, today, I am just feeling very depressed and anxious. And it feels very hard to breath. I don't feel like I am myself anymore and I don't know what the do. I can't tell if I actually can't breath, or if I am just forcing myself to believe I can't breath. No matter what I do to distract myself, I can't get my mind off of the tightness in my chest. I am very depressed because of the fact I can not go out and enjoy myself and that I have to be in constant fear. I am so scared that this feeling will not go away. I have had anxiety/panic attacks before, but never for such a long period of time. I have never taken any medication for my anxiety or talked to a psychologist. I used to be mildly agoraphobic, but never this bad. I would just be afraid to go on vacations without my parents.

    Sorry for such a long post. I hope it is easy to understand. I am very scared and depressed and I don't know what to do. Please help.

    Last edited by msmod; 06-07-2009 at 06:56 PM.

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    Old 06-07-2009, 02:03 PM   #2
    salekt's Avatar
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    Re: Help: Feel like I can't breath and am Agoraphobic

    Another thing I forgot to mention is that at night, I seem to be a little more relaxed for some reason. I don't know what this means but I feel a little more relaxed once it gets later. I also feel okay right when I wake up, but once I get out of bed the panic and breathing problems start again. I feel like I'm going crazy.

    Another thing. I am looking for help on how to find a good therapist to go to. I am not sure how to go about findind a good therapist in my area (northern virginia). I think I am in need of a phsycologist as I am just looking for seeking help through talking and things like that. I don't really want to take medication unless it is absolutely necessary.

    Last edited by salekt; 06-07-2009 at 02:18 PM.

    Old 06-09-2009, 01:52 AM   #3
    garrett24's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2008
    Location: Kingman, AZ, USA
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    Re: Help: Feel like I can't breath and am Agoraphobic

    Hi Salekt,

    I read that you have had anxiety in the past, but you didn't say what triggered your prior attacks. Were your prior attacks due to excessive worrying about situations or where they caused by body sensations that just didn't feel right? It sounds like your current anxiety fits the latter description in that your breathing pattern is causing you major distress. If this is the first time that body sensations have triggered anxiety for you then it is understandable that you are totally freaked out, since it is very hard to distract yourself from something so repetitive as your breathing pattern.

    I went through something similar for over 2 years and I know how horrible the experience feels. My advice to you is to have your lungs checked by a doctor to make sure that nothing is physically wrong with you, and then if you are declared healthy to slowly learn to live with your anxiety symptoms. That is what I did and now I feel alright, although it did take time for my brain chemistry to normalize after such prolonged and severe anxiety. To this day (3 years later) I still feel weird many times throughout the day, but I have learned to trudge along as if nothing is wrong. My anxiety always dissipates over time and I simply forget about it until the next sensation hits. I refuse to get sucked into the self-analysis about what my symptoms could possibly mean; this is destructive and only guarantees misery. If I truly am in danger, then I will face that obstacle when it actually happens, not when I think it is happening. Do you understand what I'm saying?

    You really need to stop obsessing that there might be something wrong with your breathing because that is definitely not helping your situation. Fear and anxiety can make many normal body functions seem dysfunctional. If there is something seriously wrong with you then you will have ample opportunity to be frightened by it, but being scared prematurely is probably the cause of your current misery. You will be much calmer if you can learn to live life one moment at a time and to not read too much into things.

    I hope you feel better.

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