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Author Topic: Asthma + Anxiety=Misery  (Read 437 times)

Ashmire

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Asthma + Anxiety=Misery
« on: June 28, 2017, 12:50:17 am »
I am trying very hard to remind myself that I feel this every year during fire season, that the world is highly unlikely to literally come to an end and I am not even that near the wildfires burning the countryside ( though how horrible for those who are!), but I just have no idea how to shake this apocalyptic dread that comes along with restricted breath and smoky air.  I am not great at letting go of worry at the best of times, and now it feels like every bad thought is magnified a hundredfold or more.   Anyone else have good ways to deal with this massive level of irrational panic and paranoia, or at least understand how it is to experience this at this time of year?

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Re: Asthma + Anxiety=Misery
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2017, 11:58:43 am »
I am not great at letting go of worry at the best of times, and now it feels like every bad thought is magnified a hundredfold or more.   Anyone else have good ways to deal with this massive level of irrational panic and paranoia, or at least understand how it is to experience this at this time of year?

One thing I regularly remind myself when I'm having asthma issues is that shallow breathing makes our bodies anxious (because it's a thing we do when we have reason to be afraid.) And so if I'm feeling more anxious and I'm having lung issues, just knowing that sometimes helps me stop and figure out what's going on emotionally better.

(My bad times of year are fall molds, usually, which are less immediately threatening than wildfires, so there's no logical reason to be immediately anxious about what's making my lungs cranky.)

Stuff I do that helps:
- Yoga-related exercises to stretch out my lungs and expand them.
There's a supported bench pose, where you basically put a sturdy bolster down your spine to about waist leveland let your shoulder blades hang off and droop, that opens the lungs and undoes a lot of the anxiety posture things. 5-10 minutes a couple of times a day can help a lot, and also help a lot with that horrible ache between the shoulder blades when you have trouble breathing.

Meditation along with this might also be very helpful on the anxiety front, but being in the position with some pleasant music or something soothing to listen to will likely help anyway.

- Checking to see if medication is a helpful thing.
I have really nasty side effect issues and not much benefit from most of the steroid inhalers we've tried me on, so I use a rescue inhaler when I need it, but don't do asthma meds daily. But if I were having lots of anxiety issues, or it were interfering with my daily life enough I couldn't do most of the things I need/want to do, I'd be revisiting that with my doctor.

- Look at making spaces where the air quality is better.
I run an air filter in my bedroom (where I am most of the time I'm home) that was not cheap but works great against the things I have the most trouble with. Totally worth the investment. (I also do some stuff about how I wash bedding, what the bedding is made of, etc. that reduces dust mites and other allergens. Even if you can't get rid of everything, making the spaces you spend the most time in easier on your lungs can have a big effect.)

- Exploring (carefully) stuff that helps with lung expansion.
I've been swimming regularly for a year and a bit now, and I'm poking at doing more singing, because both of those are ways to remind my lungs they can do things but where I can decide how far I'm pushing myself moment by moment. I had a horribly nasty cold about 5 weeks ago, and I still sound like I have tuberculosis when I cough, but I got back to being able to function generally much faster than before I started the swimming.

(I'm not terribly chlorine sensitive, which helps, but I much prefer swimming to walking, because I dislike treadmill walking, and outside I have the constant 'if I push myself too far, can I get home safely' problem for reasons not just related to my lungs. Swimming, I just have to get to the other end of the pool, and since the pool is 4' deep, even that isn't very hard. Which means I'm willing to push myself a bit more to get the lung expansion and get stuff moving and flowing.)

- Looking at food choices
I can always tell when my lungs are cranky because I buy *all the dairy*. A past herbalist explained why this is: it's one of the better food sources for vitamin A for most people, and damaged lungs will suck up tons and tons of vitamin A and use it for repair. These days, if I start having that specific set of cravings, I contemplate supplementing vitamin A for a few weeks. (Check with a doctor, etc. about any contraindications). There's a ton of foods that have it, dairy's just what I get the specific cravings for when I'm having lung issues.
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Ashmire

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Re: Asthma + Anxiety=Misery
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2017, 08:54:47 pm »


Stuff I do that helps:
- Yoga-related exercises to stretch out my lungs and expand them.
There's a supported bench pose, where you basically put a sturdy bolster down your spine to about waist leveland let your shoulder blades hang off and droop, that opens the lungs and undoes a lot of the anxiety posture things. 5-10 minutes a couple of times a day can help a lot, and also help a lot with that horrible ache between the shoulder blades when you have trouble breathing.


I am actually supposed to be doing that exercise regularly as a physical therapy thing.  I guess I am going to have to make some time and space to do it in the guest room, though, because if I try in any of the spaces they have access to, my dogs immediately panic and act as if I must be dying.

Quote
- Checking to see if medication is a helpful thing.

I have really nasty side effect issues and not much benefit from most of the steroid inhalers we've tried me on, so I use a rescue inhaler when I need it, but don't do asthma meds daily. But if I were having lots of anxiety issues, or it were interfering with my daily life enough I couldn't do most of the things I need/want to do, I'd be revisiting that with my doctor.


I usually have such specific triggers( ie, smoke, and very cold air) I haven't even refilled the rescue one in a while, but should probably ask because I have been needing it often lately. 

Quote

- Exploring (carefully) stuff that helps with lung expansion.
I've been swimming regularly for a year and a bit now, and I'm poking at doing more singing, because both of those are ways to remind my lungs they can do things but where I can decide how far I'm pushing myself moment by moment. I had a horribly nasty cold about 5 weeks ago, and I still sound like I have tuberculosis when I cough, but I got back to being able to function generally much faster than before I started the swimming.

(I'm not terribly chlorine sensitive, which helps, but I much prefer swimming to walking, because I dislike treadmill walking, and outside I have the constant 'if I push myself too far, can I get home safely' problem for reasons not just related to my lungs. Swimming, I just have to get to the other end of the pool, and since the pool is 4' deep, even that isn't very hard. Which means I'm willing to push myself a bit more to get the lung expansion and get stuff moving and flowing.)

I have actually recently taken up lap swimming at a local gym on weekends, due to other recent health problems related to my having gained more than 50% of my total optimum body weight ( went from a 7 to 14 in dress sizes) over the past year and a half.  It would be great if it helps with more than one thing.  I have similar issues with regards to needing an indoor workout for safety reasons.  I think movement in general is good for mental health, too, at least mine.

Quote
- Looking at food choices
I can always tell when my lungs are cranky because I buy *all the dairy*. A past herbalist explained why this is: it's one of the better food sources for vitamin A for most people, and damaged lungs will suck up tons and tons of vitamin A and use it for repair. These days, if I start having that specific set of cravings, I contemplate supplementing vitamin A for a few weeks. (Check with a doctor, etc. about any contraindications). There's a ton of foods that have it, dairy's just what I get the specific cravings for when I'm having lung issues.

I hadn't heard that about vitamin A( and I always thought it was mostly only in carrots!), but I'll definitely consider that.  I know I get dairy cravings from general stress, which is part of the reason for gaining so much weight---I'm currently stuck in a customer service heavy job that ill-suits my personality to say the least.  If I can fill some of that need with healthier options, that is definitely a bonus to my whole body.

In sum, thanks very much for your suggestions.   Going over a plan of action, even if I already know most of it, is innately comforting, and in this case it sounds like many of the things I need to do would help with multiple different aspects of my health that have been giving trouble recently, which is very encouraging since it means not having to address all of them separately.

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