I'm embarassed to ask this re shortness of... - Anxiety Support

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I'm embarassed to ask this re shortness of breath but...

kama24 profile image

Does anyone ever have a feeling of being bloated and short of breath in the area of their diaphram? Along with it comes worry, fear and "what ifs". I tell myself I've been experiencing this for a yr now and nothing worse has happened but I still fret over it. Yes, I take meds for my anxiety and GAD but this greets me every morning.

28 Replies

Hello Kama,Yes definitely, had it on and off for a year now. Sometimes in the day, or at times wakes me at night, it's a scary feeling.

I mentioned it to my doctor, but she just looked at me as if I was mad!

I've done my own research and believe I suffer with something called "Aerophagia" Google it. Basically it's swallowing too much air when you eat, drink or talk. You get so much air in your stomach it bloats you and pushes up on your diaphragm and it feels like you can't breathe., apparently it is very common in people that suffer with anxiety.

I suppose it's about eating and drinking slowly, I even seem to talk quickly. You'll need to research about things that can help you. To be honest since reading about this it has got better as I'm not freaking put about it as much. I think if you've had it for a year and nothing has got majorly worse, it's probably the same thing for you.

Hope this helps you a little xx

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Funkyfaerie

Thanks so much for replying. I am certainly going to google Aerophagia and look into it. It sounds so silly to be freaking out about such a thing, but it is scary. I just started a new med a month ago and it's helped in some ways. This silly breathing thing went away for a while but has returned. I appreciate the info!

Funkyfaerie profile image
Funkyfaerie in reply to kama24

You are very welcome. Don't feel embarrassed about asking anything, you know this forum is about us all helping each other.This bloating, breathing thing is scary, but I think it's about calming down too. And once you realise that's all it is swallowing too much air, you will get calmer.

Let me know what you think and how you get on. xx

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Funkyfaerie

I did google as suggested and was surprised that the feeling could be associated with anxiety Since that is "me" then it did make some sense in my "head of worry". Thank you for mentioning it and giving me hope

Funkyfaerie profile image
Funkyfaerie in reply to kama24

Take care ❤️

Sam1109 profile image
Sam1109 in reply to Funkyfaerie

This happens to me. Used to happen more often when my anxiety was bad. Also when I used to smoke it used to be even worse. But I never knew what it's called. Just knew swallowing air is the culprit. So thanks for mentioning the name. I guess if it is worse in the morning then you are not breathing right in your sleep. A visit to the sleep clinic should help. It was also worse whenever I ate to close to bedtime. It caused reflux too. Can happen from drinking water wrong too. lol there are so many crazy problems, I wonder how we can function at all.

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Sam1109

I too sometimes have acid reflux wake me. It's amazing what we can learn on here!

Funkyfaerie profile image
Funkyfaerie in reply to Sam1109

Yep, and burping problems, I suffered and still do at times all the same symptoms as you.It's frustrating that we have to do the research ourselves, the doctors don't seem to know about it.

It wakes me up sometimes and it's real scary, a lot of times it's because, like you I have eaten or drank too late in the evening. If I can belch a bit when I wake the feeling ebbs away.

Not so terrifying now I know what it is, but obviously living anxiously as we do doesn't help.

Glad it's helped you a bit too xx

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Funkyfaerie

If I could now just find something, anything to calm my FEAR and panic, I'd be a happy camper. I started Remeron a month ago and it made a new person out of me for 3 wks!! Now I'm back to living in fearful thoughts & just trying to battle through each day. I will continue to battle.

Sam1109 profile image
Sam1109 in reply to kama24

I wish too but I think there is no med that can get rid of anxiety for us. I think most of it has to be done by us with mental strength. I've been trying and it does work. Just have to develop a badass attitude towards your mind. I now say "do it go nuts, make me as crazy as you can but you can't kill me or even make me really sick" lol something like that. It works. You have to start believing that imagined problems even if you're all dizzy and shaking while walking to the store or whatever, it can't hurt you you're not going to be afraid of scare tactics by your own brain and fight it and move on and keep your mind busy with other things, important things. Doing things that really matter to you and others is the key to keeping your mind busy. Playing games or watching tv doesn't really work that well. It just delays the anxiety a little bit if at all.

I think the only kind of drug that can help with anxiety well is something that makes you high. Think about it, it would have to be something like that if you want it to completely change what you think about minute to minute. My hope was that after weed becomes legal here I can depend on it. Nope, turns out even a very little of it makes my heart go crazy for 2+ hours. Tried 2 times happened both times. I was on the bed hoping it's not a heart attack for more than 2 hours both times. It happened long time ago once when I was like 20. That was the last time I smoked weed. But looks like it was something permanent.

If weed is legal there and you can tolerate it, try some edibles. But make sure not to become too dependent on it. Ultimately we're doing to have to retrain our minds to get rid of anxiety. I've done if successfully once when I got anxiety first time in 2005. by 2010 I was almost completely anxiety free. Then slowly all this stomach and heart fears started and brought anxiety back. Now I'm in the process of getting rid of it again. I'm half way there I'd say. The way you start the process is to get as many medical tests done to show your mind your fears are baseless. And then you start rewiring your thinking by becoming brave and saying bring it on! I'll show you who's the boss from now on! Trust me it works for me better than any med out there.

When I refused to get started on serious meds back in 2005 and told my doc I'm going to fix it myself he wasn't thrilled. But then by 2008 I got so much better he was impressed. He said most people can't do this without meds and he made some kind of joke meaning I haven't gone nuts. lol Still don't know what he meant but doesn't matter. Fact is he acknowledged you can conquer anxiety without meds. Right now I'm getting close to how I was around 2010 to 2015. I've never been truly fit in my life since my teen years. I think becoming properly fit again will make this thing go away for good. Because all my anxieties are health related. FEAR OF UNKNOWN HEALTH ISSUES. We should start calling it that instead of anxiety.

Try this psyche.co/ideas/one-womans-...

Sam1109 profile image
Sam1109 in reply to Funkyfaerie

You've said it! I've seen forum comments saying the same but you're the first person I'm talking with who also thinks doctors don't know about it. Absolutely right! Even gastroenterologists don't seem to know. Me and my mom has this problem. When she gets a lot of pressure on her diaphragm it actually causes her heart to go into arrhythmia. Cardiologist wants her to start taking a beta blocker on top of all her blood pressure meds just to control that but no one is addressing the actual problem. Her gastro guy said it's just constipation. Metamucil, prunes and Restoralax were prescribed. Not sure if they are doing anything because she still has the problems but it never gotten as bad as before so far. But it was already an intermittent problem. It feels like the problem can get worse like before any day and it doesn't help with the anxiety.

Same problem with me but no arrhythmia. We've stopped eating so many bowel irritable foods. It still happens. Sometimes just bread and jam causes it. And nobody knows what's going on. It blows my mind how this is possible. Makes me realize most of medical science is total BS. They kill you half to death with radiation to kill cancer and too many times it doesn't work while you still suffer radiation sickness for years. That's not a "treatment". That's like stopping to breath air to avoid airborne diseases. Nobody knowing what's causing gas and bloating seems so primitive. Only way it can be undiagnosable is if the cause is 100% swallowing air. But I doubt that's even half the reason.

Funkyfaerie profile image
Funkyfaerie in reply to Sam1109

Hi Sam,I have had heart palpitations with it. Thing is if you can't breathe, then there isn't much oxygen about, it all makes sense to us, but as you say doctors and even consultants have never heard of the condition. I say condition because that's what it is, it isn't a disease.

I get constipation too, but I think that's because I have unfortunately learned to hold myself rigid, and how can anything relax and work if you hold yourself like that every day? I get a lot of neck tension too from the same thing. So I'm not so sure any particular foods are causing it. I think it is us fearing our anxiety symptoms, not coping with life because of it. We manufacture these mannerisms of not letting go, holding on, being rigid, talking fast, eating fast because we are nervous, so consequently cause us to gulp air. Which in turn with digestion and bacteria in our gut can double, there your trouble starts with the build up of gas, pressing on your diaphragm so you can't breathe, your heart is under stress too so flips a bit, you feel mightily strange and fearful of what's going on. It normally happens to me at night, when my body is more relaxed, it wakes me up and the only relief I get is from burping the wind up, which can be quite a bit for a while, but it's pretty much an instant fix.

When you Google Aerophagia, it pretty much says it affects people with anxiety issues a lot.

So why don't the doctors know about this!?

You are so right, you have to kick anxieties ass yourself, I used to swear at it like an old fish wife! 😂 it's the only way you will become less fearful. I still have a wobble every now and then, but I'm 95% better... Good luck to you.

Sam1109 profile image
Sam1109 in reply to Funkyfaerie

Thanks for confirming! Kicking anxiety's ass yourself was only something I felt was the only way to get rid of it in a major way. Glad to hear you think so too. No meds can really help you not think in a certain way without totally changing your consciousness.

I'm very much interested in what you call holding yourself rigid. My whole life as long as I can remember I've had very tense shoulders at all times. Even now. Whenever I notice it I try to relax them but they become tensed again within seconds. I can't always consciously. My friend who passed away always told me to meditate but I never gave it a serious try. I need to do it. Maybe it will help. Have you tried meditation seriously for learning to relax your muscles?

95% better is amazing. I'm close but probably not 95% yet.

Hi Kama,You might find this strange, but the only drug I have ever taken is a 2mg diazepam, when needed. I battled on my own, although don't they say you shouldn't fight!?

Well, don't think I did fight, I suffered yes, and most of the time in silence and no one knew just how bad I was feeling sometimes.

I've sat and worked out my symptoms overtime, I began to think, well... They are not killing me so why is this going on? And gradually over 18 months ish. I got slightly better, and the more I thought, for example the aerophagia thing that it was a symptom of what I was doing, gulping air unintentionally and getting these weird feelings, or waking up terrified with a churning stomach with diarrhea, or feeling dizzy with skipped heart beats, because I wasn't taking a breath, vtawning all the time, which is a symptom of not enough oxygen due to my panicky over breathing... I could go on. But I slowly realised my anxiety was doing all this to me and once I thought it through and calmed down over and knew it wasn't going to kill me, the gradually went away.

It took time, and I do still have as I call it funny moments, especially the aerophagia moments, but I'm not afraid anymore and that makes so much difference.

No doctor has ever really helped me, yes they've been sympathetic and can only offer drugs.

I have had more help on this forum than anywhere else.

Hopefully if you can now calm down about this swallowing air thing, you can relax about that now, and will feel a bit better.

What are you fearful of? x

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Funkyfaerie

I have been afraid of (my) death for years. Terrified of it, picture of smothering, gasping for air, clutching my throat trying to breathe. The fear of death has become constant and daily now that I'm a senior. My husband and daughter try to reason it out with me but the brain is a strong organ. I see a physciatrist and a physco therapist but they haven't been able to "talk me normal". I've come to the point where I just face one day at a time and hope some day I can enjoy what is left of my life.

Kama,I'm no spring chicken! 😂 I am 67.

Live one day at a time and try to enjoy it, we must not waste our lives by being scared.

I know everyone is scared if dying and to be honest they would be lying if they said they weren't.

Try and go out and visit places in nature, the beach, I still do a lot of mountain walks. My attitude is I'm going to be around a long time yet. Don't get me wrong I do get down, but I turn up the music, 60's and 70's of course and dance in the kitchen....I wear my crazy clothes and don't care. Thinking of you, write any time you want 💕

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Funkyfaerie

I admire your attitude! I am turning 73 this month and don't know how it happened!! My fear really limits me in leaving the house. So many "what ifs". I do try to talk myself brave but fail miserably most of the time. I so want to enjoy what's left of my life but this anxiety I've had since highschool years has taken over my mind. I just try to do one day at a time.

Titan2857 profile image
Titan2857 in reply to kama24

I am 71 and feel exactly the same, anxiety on and off most of my life, feels as if I have a constant battle with my thoughts. All I want is peace to enjoy the rest of my life.

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Titan2857

You said the exact words I use..."I just want to enjoy my life". I've been told many times I have to adjust my thinking. Easy to say! Every day is a challenge. It got worse as I got older....over thinking I guess,

Sorry if my reply seems a bit flippant, I don't mean it to be, just trying to chivvy you along xx

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Funkyfaerie

Not at all, :-) everything you say is true and I agree. I just have to battle my thoughts!!

Please don't battle it gets exhausting. Where did your fear start from.?Mine started years ago when I was a child, and the I had a long time without it. It was only recently when I reached urn out with travelling to work it started up again. First with tiredness, headaches and nausea, then dizziness that frightened me, so I couldn't breathe, and then wouldn't go out, so many different symptoms jumped in then. I left work at 62, I loved my job, I worked in Microbiology, but I wasn't reliable anymore. I was in such a mess I could even go and visit my kids and grandchildren and that really upset me.

But slowly as I said I suffered it and worked it all out for myself. I have had a few tests done that thankfully came back clear, but nothing else. Don't feel bad that you take medication, if it helps you live your life again then that's great.

I used to be on this forum so much asking questions, being afraid and I got so much help and advice and caring on here, it really helped me. Sometimes just to know someone else has had your symptoms is such a relief. It's why I replied to you as I could see you going through the same confusing fear that I had with bloating and breathing etc. I don't look on here so much these days, but if I can give something back I will.

I don't know how I got to this age either, I sometimes think how did I get 67 and I agree with you it's terrifying if I think too long. But you know I look around and see lots of older people complaining about their aches and pains and I don't want to be one of them, if you complain you give that pain credence, of course I do get aches and pains, but I don't talk about them, only if after gardening and you wish you were younger.

I look took to people like Joanna Lumley, she's 75, Twiggy, Helen Mirren, crazy Zhandra Rhodes. I still love my fashion, the music I grew up with and I pass all this craziness on to my grandchildren who call me " mad nanny!"

Being positive doesn't come easy to me though, I do have to drag myself out of the depths at times and I still have what I call my wobbly anxious moments, but I know they aren't going to kill me now.

Mt Father lived until he was 90 and didn't complain once and I know he suffered anxiety too, he died of dementia, but he never once complained.

You could have a good 20 years or more ahead of you yet, think that way and you will. Go out and hang on tight to your husband, have coffee, look in the shops, especially this time of year, just little things just for a short time and you will get more confidence. My hubby used to drive me out and then I couldn't get out the car, we'd go to a carvery for Sunday lunch and I'd have to have fish and chips because I couldn't get up and stand in a queue to get my food, one time I could even eat for feeling nausea 24/7.

So I do know where you are coming from.

We can write privately on here if you want, just so we can chat, if you'd like, no pressure.

Change your mind set and it changes your life. xx

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Funkyfaerie

Hi, I don't know how to write in private on here. So much of what you said had me nodding my head "yes". I have battled the FEAR and panic attacks since highschool, age 12. It was horrible when that classroom door closed. I did manage to graduate and got a good job immediately. Time passed and I did have some good periods where I could go out socially and even travel when we were lst married (not so now). I have a fear of death. It haunts me daily. It goes back to my chidhood and always visiting sick relatives in the hospital and going to funerals. Back then they laid people out in the living room. I was only about 4 yrs old and didn't understand. I was told they were asleep. Then I would attend the funeral and go to the cemetery with my parets & witness these "sleeping" people be put in the ground and covered up. I believe this was the beginning of my anxiety. The past 5 yrs have been a daily dose of fear that consumes me. I have tried everything suggested to diminish my thoughts, but to no avail. Today I had an echo cardiogram done & as I lay there on the table I felt so short of breath & scared (not of the test). A month ago I started an additional med that did help and I was overjoyed. The past week it just seems to have stopped! The fear is back. I just try to make it through each day. Thank you for being so kind in writing me.

Dorsey profile image
Dorsey in reply to kama24

Well said so enjoyed reading tha t as can relate to it all.

Funkyfaerie profile image
Funkyfaerie in reply to kama24

I'll send you a private message, you'll just get a notification like we do now and just open it.Your childhood memories, vaguely similar to mine starting my anxiety off.

Hope you've had an OK day.... Talk soon xx

Sam1109 profile image
Sam1109 in reply to Funkyfaerie

Great to know so much about you! Thanks for sharing. I turned 47 yesterday, the 9th. My body feels like I'm 90 but my mind tells me I'm not even 20 yet lol. I'm trying hard to live like a 20 year old in my head and stop being afraid of things until real problems makes me fall down on my face of something.

I would say please don't worry, I'm still a nervous sleeper, but it doesn't consume my life, I wake up with daft dreams, and I'm 58! And I take medication for it, I think we have to just accept that we are who we are, I've had trauma in my life, and it changed my outlook in life massively, health wise I've survived 2 major surgeries, and I don't think about that, in fact I can't remember the pain from these surgeries anymore, i don't worry about not getting enough sleep, if I wake up with a dream it's a dream, or a nightmare, either way, its part of my make up, it's my personna, it's who I am, it takes years to understand that, yes it's frustrating, but sometimes taking loads of tablets isn't a perfect recipe, we all have deep set thoughts from childhood, and maybe these are unfortunately rooted into your memory banks, however, rest assured, you will live a long healthy life, I had all these feelings as well, and its a revolving circle of life, but don't let fear overcome the rational part of day to day living, enjoy yourself, and you'll find that these emotional chains are holding you down, life is for living ♥😇

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Cb1963

Thank you for replying. It is much appreciated. My fear of shortness of breath is a daily thing. All I can do is try to think positive and be brave. Not always easy, but I need to get my life back.

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