Hyperventilation Syndrome - My Mental Health Story
Updated: Sep 30
Seeing as how it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I wanted to share my own mental health journey with you all, in particular what has been helpful for me. So here goes…
My breathing was becoming a real problem just after the 2020 lockdown, with constant sighing, yawning and not being able to get enough air, as well as a racing heart. Thanks to my doctor I had a possible name for this condition… hyperventilation syndrome. I felt like it was running my life. Basically I had no natural breathing pattern anymore, I was constantly aware of my breathing all day, it did not come naturally at all. It was awful.
What I was to learn was that stress and anxiety had caused my breathing to become shallow all of the time, creating this terrible breathing pattern.
So this was the beginning of learning about stress and anxiety and the effect it had on my body. I read a lot of books about stress, anxiety, breathing, the mind, mindfulness as well as sleeping (later I also had sleeping issues as a result of stress/anxiety). That helped a lot. They say knowledge is power. I totally agree with that, the more you know, the more power you have.
I learnt that stress and anxiety is not always obvious, there can be a million little things in your life creating it, not just big obvious events. I think I was in denial that I was stressed at that time
What helped me overcome this breathing nightmare was…
· Learning about myself, and what triggers my anxiety
· CONSISTANTLY getting to the bottom of what is causing the anxiety and dealing with it
· Learning to become aware of my thoughts
What I learnt was…
· The mind is incredibly powerful, what you THINK, has a massive impact on physical health
· And ALWAYS listen to your body
I have a lot less issues with my breathing now, it is normal most of the time. When I am stressed/anxious my breathing and my sleeping do get affected, but I know now when that happens, to pay attention to what is going on in my life, and get to the root of the problem. Once I do that my breathing/sleeping returns to its normal pattern.
This anxiety journey opened up a whole new world to me. The world of the mind, mindfulness, and yoga, I find it fascinating and am constantly reading and learning about it. It is my new passion!
Take care out there, and know that there is always something or someone that can help.
PS Books that helped me... Dr Libbys - Rushing Womans Syndrome and The Invisible Load
The Breathing Book by Donna Fahri (this book has yoga moves specifically for hyperventilation
Mindfulness books by Jon Kabat-Zinn