My anxiety has escalated - breathing problems - help

Posted , 14 users are following.


I'm sorry for the long winded message but i just want to tell everything as I'm not sure if it's all linked.

15months ago I had my first baby and everything was well. 

In January I returned to work and I put my son into nursery - everything seemed to be going fine until February/March.

We started going through a restructure at work, I was planning my sons 1st birthday and christening and the relationship with my partner started going downhill.

I started getting all weird kind of symptoms - pins and needles, pains in my tummy, problems with my vision, feeling dizzy, problems breathing.

I went to my GP and i had various tests (ECG, EMG, MRIs, X-rays) and all have come back fine (which I'm relieved about).

However, because of experiencing these problems I started to get panic attacks and was signed off work with anxiety (from May-present).

It got so bad that I wouldn't even leave the house unless someone was with me (I'm slightly better now but still afraid to go places by myself).

I was referred for counselling (but was told I'll be better having CBT therapy instead which I'm still waiting to hear back from) and prescribed fluoxetin but was hesitant to take them - partly because I don't like taking any kind of tablets and partly because I didn't want to rely on tablets to make me feel better.

Anyway I started to feel a little better and some of the symptoms seem to have gone but I'm still having the problems with my breathing - feeling sometimes it hard to exhale or I can't seem to catch my breath etc

It happens daily and a few times a day (even at the moment I'm experiencing it).

I went back to the doctors and the nurse said it's probably asthma but unfortunately they cannot do exact tests to diagnose it. I was prescribed inhalers to use.

The problem now is I'm worried to use the inhalers 

Encase it's not asthma.

Please could someone advise what I should do.

I really hate feeling so scared about my health and the what ifs I.e what if it's not asthma and I've been using the steroid inhalers, what if I have a major panic attack whilst out and pass out etc).

Sorry once again for the long story.

2 likes, 15 replies

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi tinytitch, 

    I have had the same difficulty in breathing when I was going through a peak phase of anxiety. I kept feeling like it was an effort to breath and I had to consciously take in a breath sometimes. It was very uncomfortable so I can empathise with you. 

    I think it is definitely anxiety and not asthma (I have had asthma too as a child, it is different. With asthma you will feel the tightness in your chest and there will be a wheezing sound on your breath, whereas what you describe I feel is the same thing I had due to anxiety - a difficulty in catching one's breath). 

    Try the following breathing exercise when you are really anxious, breathe in for one second, out for one second, in for 2, out for 2, so on up to 5. Or else you could try in for 4, hold for 2 and out for 6 but that will be a bit harder to do if you are very anxious at the time. 

    Also, speak positively to yourself and ground yourself by bringing yourself back to the present. "I'm here and I'm OK. I am just experiencing some anxiety right now but everything is alright and I'm going to be fine.". I found that really helped me before. 

    I hope these tips help in some way and best wishes,

    Agirl xxx

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    • Posted

      Thank you for recommending another type of inhaler.

      Not sure if I'm bring stupid and some kind of hypocontriac by not wanting to use the inhalers I was prescribed.

      I will try the breathing technique you suggested as I know when I can't breathe I get all panicky and then my heart starts raving which in turns makes me even more anxious/scared x

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    • Posted

      I know it helped me a lot at times of peak anxiety. Even the concentrating on the counting distracts your mind and then getting the air in helps so it's doubly effective! :D 

      I hope it helps!! 

      Agirl xx

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  • Posted


    I just put up some tips for dealing with anxiety/depression which you may (I hope! smile ) find helpful!

    Oh! And also, CBT is really good. I think you will find it really helpful! smile And don't worry about being on the meds. I didn't like the idea of going on them either but things got so bad, I decided I had to do something and started on them and it's fine. I agree though, you shouldn't depend solely on drugs to ease the situation. They do help though and make therapy more effective as they make your mind more receptive to it. Therapy will give you the skills to bring forward with you into your life, even after therapy so that you can dispel your negative thoughts and prevent them taking a hold of your mind and subsequently causing distressing physical symptoms. 

    The most important thing is you are getting help now. You are going to be just fine and there are people on this forum to help. smile 

    All the best for now, 

    Agirl xxx

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  • Posted

    Well if u have asthma and don't know it it is safe to use the safest inhaler is proair even if u think u might not have it maybe just to try it once or twice to see if it will help it will be safe I know I have breathing problems to with anxiety I cant seem to catch my breathe and always going to the Dr to get my oxygen checked you'll be OK I have hope for u feel better 
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    • Posted

      Thanks for mentioning proair - I will ask my dr if they can prescribe it.

      I just get myself so worked up when I feel like I cant breathe. 

      These feelings have been ongoing and just when I think I'm getting better something else seems to happen and it's like I'm back to square 1 again.

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  • Posted

    Hi I'm so sorry it sounds really horrible what you are feeling. I'm asthmatic and it's a tightness in your chest which by using the inhalers releases the tightness more it less straightaway. Try the inhaler it can only do one if two things for you relieve the tightness or not. 

    Try going to a yoga class for meditation this helps slow the thoughts and controls the breathing as does pilates both are excellent for calming the mind.  Good luck 

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply.

      I guess you're right about it doing one of yep things - my worry was if I used it and it's not asthma - would I do damage to my health?

      A few people have suggested yoga so I will look into it.

      I have problems with my hips (had a pin and plate fitted when I was 4) and now I have limited movement (another thing wrong with me - I'm only 30 as well) but hopefully I should be able to do it.

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  • Posted


    I am a guy and I totally understand what you are saying here, I have suffered exact same things and I really think my advice would help a lot! And if you follow my advice you will heal completely. And since I have overcome this problem I think, nay I know my advice will help you.


    Good news is you can totally overcome this thing. I am keeping it as concise I can. First of all you should know your problem isn't an ailment of your body 'cause it's pyschological. Don't worry because you are not alone with this problem.

     In order to solve the problem you need to get to the root of it but I know you can't because over thinking will definitely not help in your case as it didn't in mine.  So I will get to the root of your problem and you will do as told.

    First listen to a short story of mine that way you will understand why this happens so you will be able to get over this problem. ----  When I was little, I suffered from asthma and then pneumonia and I had allergies so medicines never really helped me recover completely. My breathing got a little better with the help of medicines, but a little cough and cold would kick start breathing problems again and again. It all stayed and as I grew up I even started feeling pins and needles all over my body and doctors couldn't decide what that was because medical reports came out fine. I researched on my own and came to a conclusion -- it was psychological and not physical.

    Also I noticed when I tried to overthink at times and tried to process what was happening to me it kick started my breathing problems, so I tried to stay as calm as I could and since I know what a physical asthmatic problem is like, I could easily distinguish this breathing problem from the previous one.

    In asthmatic breathing problem you would feel that there is not enough space left for you to pull your breath in and also inhalers help in such cases because they make way for air to get inside the lungs by physically expanding the space within,

    but in pyschological breathing problem you would feel that there is nothing there to choke your lungs from the inside and also inhalers will not help much and also you will feel your body reacting to your own breathing pattern like preventing itself from breathing properly, ain't it? And being scared all the time will only make it worse, believe me because at first I was scared too, because I didn't know what I was dealing with, but when you know what it is, the fear subsides.

    The thing is our body reacts to feelings, like when we get shocked our heartbeat raises(because it affects our heart a little), similarly when we are overstressed or are scared then it reacts in such cases too. 

    So the solution is --- don't overthink and don't take pressure and do not be afraid of this, you will achieve what you are trying to achieve here, because it is ACHIEVABLE!

    Also try to inspire yourself by listening to some inspirational songs and on the end note I would say this ---  take inspiration from yourself (see yourself as your own role model, no one can be better role model than you yourself), see yourself in the mirror and speak I am stronger than this and I will not tolerate this. And don't overdo this, do this when breathing problem is at peak and believe it when you say this to yourself, say this with determination that you will not stay with this and say- I kick you out of my life and I take control over myself. ( Or say whatever inspires you)

    Stay determined and don't pay much attention to your breathing problem, because paying attention to it only feeds it(Literally). Focus on your own life and take control, do your chores and work and get busy with life you will sure notice some small changes or even big changes if you are too busy to think on this matter, try not to think about it at all and it surely will go away, I don't even remember when I became free from my breathing problems because I didn't feed it with much attention which it requires to stay alive in your body. I only remember that I noticed small changes at first and so I quickly decided to go all the way not caring without paying heed to this.

    Sorry it was a long one, but I hope all of this above helps you in every way.

    I am a christian so I used to say I leave my cares upon you (God), and I would just stop thinking about anything I was thinking about at that moment and so I could concentrate on what I was doing at the moment .

    The "key" is to "not" take stress. 

    Take care and don't take stress.

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  • Posted

    Hello, I have the exact same thing with my breathing however I do not know why it's being like this!

    I've had it on and off for about 3 years now and it's never been too bad but recently I'm getting so annoyed and upset about it as it's so uncomfortable I've noticed I have to really breathe in hard and feel like I can not get no air. I try yawn and I can't feels like it's being cut off. I constantly sound like I'm sighing as I try to get a really good bit of air It's getting really frustrating for me I would say I'm a very closed book I don't talk about things and I would say I'm more anxious than normal people. I've been feeling a bit dizzy and I really do think where I'm getting my self at it because I don't know what it is I'm thinking of all sorts I think this is making it worse? Like you I would also like to get to the bottom of this I have already been to the doctors before where they have told me it's anxiety but all they have done is given me a leaflet so I'm back Next week to see them again I hope we both get this sorted as its so frustrating and worrying!

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    • Posted

      I feel exactly like this and now I'm getting physical muscle pain in different spots from trying to breathe so hard. I've been to the hospital twice and been told with direct strong words that there is nothing wrong with my heart or lungs.

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  • Posted


    I have the exact same thing with the breathing and what it means is that because you'r so anxious your body starts to hyperventilate and you can start to have panic attacks. The thing with hyperventilating is that while your brain is telling you that you need more air but, it's actually the opposite. You need to calm down, take slow breaths, hold them then release. Another idea is to use a paper bag to regulate your breathing.

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    • Posted

      Have your vitamin d levels checked it should be between 80 to 100 for optimal health any lower u will start to experience numerous problems from panic attacks to breathing problems to vision problems to bone and joint pain to brain fog to heart problems etc
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  • Posted

    Your symptoms sounds VERY FAMILIAR....HAVE YOUR DOCTOR TEST U FOR VITAMIN D LEVEL your level should be between 80 to 100 for optimal health if its any lower u will experience anxiety breathing problems vision problems bone pain etc HAVE THEM CHECKED ASAP
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  • Posted

    I just wanted to add that I completely understand your fear and panic.

    I am asthmatic and find this tightness frightening!

    I know this sounds weird but I tie a scarf around me just under my breasts and it makes me slow down the breathing and calm down.

    Not super tight but firm and having it there stops over breathing.

    I joined so I could pass this on so that it may help another feeling so much distress.

    Take care and peace to you all.


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