Skip to content

The Uncertainty of Our Experiences

Breathing is something we all do, right? But since I was a small child it’s been a problem for me. Some of it was medical. I grew up in a house with a heavy smoker parent and was frequently sick. From a very young age I had croup, pneumonia, bronchitis, frequent strep throat and allergy-induced asthma. But I was also prone to hyperventilating from panic attacks. As an adult this has all been under control, more or less. But in the last week there was a convergence of events:

  • On Memorial Day temps hit 100 and triggered air quality alert warnings. My lungs were on fire for days. My inhaler is out and to refill the prescription I have to make an appointment with a primary care doc first.
  • I listened to a podcast episode with a conversation between two people discussing panic attacks that went into so much detail that I started having a panic attack. I also listened to a different podcast with an amazing episode about accessibility activists that included polio survivors who needed iron lungs to live and got down on myself about my dumb anxiety attack induced breathing problems.
  • My therapist has me practicing body scans, for meditation/mindfulness, but I’m finding that just gets me stuck on my breathing issues.

So right now I’m stuck not knowing how much of this is asthma vs anxiety but this conscious breathing is causing me to hyperventilate, feel lightheaded and dizzy, and then yawn deeply to try to get more oxygen in my lungs when the problem may be that I have already gotten too much oxygen. While reading about others who struggle with this I found an article: When Automatic Bodily Processes Become Conscious: How to Disengage from Sensorimotor Obsessions. And I am just feeling like a barrel of fun.

Colin Stetson

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *