After reading comments on my last post about breathing, I can’t decide whether I’m comforted knowing that so many other people have experienced this sort of discomfort, or whether I’m further distressed. Why are our lives so stressful? If we were to say that readers (or specifically: commenters) of this blog are a representative, random sample of the population (which, I know, is flawed in and of itself), we’d have to conclude that about 75% of people (let’s be a bit more specific and say women, since all the comments are from women) experience extreme, distressing, and disruptive physical symptoms of stress. That’s frightening.
So far, I’ve been offered ativan by a coworker and xanax by one of my students. My doctor didn’t offer me anything, and I can’t fault her for that. I’ve been trying really hard to manage my stress and anxiety in the hopes that this breathing thing will go away. I’ve been doing breathing exercises, meditation, and a variety of aromatherapy-based things, including rubbing lavender into my temples, wrists, and the nape of my neck, soaking in the bathtub with mineral salts, and using a warm, scented compress on my neck and shoulders. Those things tend to work, but only temporarily and it doesn’t take long before my chest and jaw sort of ache from my efforts to get the oxygen I need. When I give any thought beyond the most shallow possible to what I’m experiencing, I start to really freak out. I haven’t even been able to run much this week because I don’t feel like I can breathe enough. I ran a bit under 6 miles on Tuesday evening and sort of struggled the entire way through, just because I’m feeling worse than I did last week (at which point running was still entirely doable). I know that if I tried to run, I’d be fine. It’s just that the thought of having to possibly struggle to breathe is enough to start me freaking out, which I’m trying to avoid.
I’m hoping that tomorrow, being Friday, I will feel a bit better. I already feel a little less strained this evening since getting out of work. With Friday, Saturday, and Sunday left in the week, I can still get a decent four runs in this week. But I’ll be honest, I’m really terrified by what’s going on. And I feel helpless.
I’d take deep breaths to calm down, but I can’t.