Asthma UK community forum

emotions of an asthma attack

I have noticed i follow a fairly consistent pattern of strange emotions, i wondered if this was just me, or if others were the same (or had their own unusual ones instead)

I always find when my lungs first start to get cross beyond their usual 'couple of puffs of ventolin' type cross-ness i get annoyed, mixed with a kind of 'if im going to have an asthma attack i might as well get a load of stuff done first' i found this the hardest stage to overcome - i get an overwhelming desire to go for a long wak, i've even wanted to go for a run, its not to hurt myself, but i feel like i want to prove that not only am i ok, i want to feel i am actively better than usual, and its all going to be fine. I get a lot of takeaways during this stage

Then i go into 'scared little kid' mode, i just want to curl up in my bed and be looked after by my mum (and im 18!) my mates use this stage to get me to hospital early, i WILL just do as i'm told. This is a short one, but i really dont like it. its a stressful one as i just want to be looked after, but still usually dont want to leave my bed!

Then i go into complete denial. Im not stupid and reckless like the first stage. I just ignore it. completely, get on with whatever i was already planning on doing. except maybe sleeping. but i just pretend its not happening (usually by listening to music) i find it hard to motivate myself to take ventolin or do peak flows or w/e during this stage

then i get a bit tired and there is a mad rush to ring an ambulance (or go to a doc if i'm being stubborn) and more importantly as far as my brain is concerned, i make sure my bag is packed, i have food and entertainment as well as clean clothes etc. If im being sensible this happens while the ambulance comes - if not i ring afterwards

then in the hosp i perk up initially, i feel pretty in control and calm as they have basically taken over for me, i am just letting it happen, i am usually very strict with who comes near me, i dont trust anyone pushing those 'needle trolleys' but other than that its a pretty good stage

then i really crash, usually this actually happens as i've started to turn the corner, i think ive just been fighting too hard for too long and just want to curl up and sleep. (someone on here said they said ""i just want to stop breathing and go to sleep"" which beautifully sums up how i feel!) i get whingy and annoying, i dont cope well with pain or nausea, to the point that i have cried when the BP cuff got too tight for too long.

I dont really understand why my brain does this. Most stages seem to be counter-productive. i see no evolutionary advantages and yet it seems to be a fairly consistent pattern. so i figure there MUST be a reason. even if its a side-effect of something (for example changing blood gases...unlikely as i tend to be pretty good but that sort of thing could be possible) does anyone else get this? or have any ideas why my brain does this to me!?!

5 Replies

Have you thought of discussing this with your GP in case its a side effect to some medication that you are on or alternatively phone the Asthma UK advice line whenever I have contacted them I have always found them very helpful.


It sounds like you want to deny that you are ill at the beginning. If I ever feel this way my mum will tell me to just ""make it part of me"". By this she means just relax, don't fight it. This is your body and you can't control everything about it (sadly) so take the stress away and accept it.

Now I have learnt to enjoy it when I have to rest. Most people would love to just relax on the sofa and watch a film but they are too busy, whereas sometimes Asthmatics have no choice on their rough days. Take full advantage and take the stress away. Trust me, stress makes it so much worse. If you relax you may find that you might not need the emergency room as often.

Think about it this way in the long run, the more you rest, the less the negative affects will be and the quicker you will recover.


I don't think I've noticed a pattern (but then I am not always tuned in to my body/emotions). But some of these do sound oh so familiar to me!

Particularly the first one! I have noticed that when feeling ill for any reason I always seem to try and get more done (and sometimes even succeed) - like you say, it's almost as though I'm thinking 'well I might not get this done if I don't do it now so I'd better'. Housework, niggling tasks I've needed to do, work gets them done, but then I do think it makes me feel worse. I also think I'm not very good at just stopping doing things unless I feel REALLY ill - I feel like I should just be getting on with it as long as I physically can, which is not always sensible. (Last week with a flare-up, I kept thinking that as I work from home I should be able to work as it's just a matter of sitting at my desk, but actually it was making things worse). I guess this blends into the 'total denial' stage you mention where you just try to get on with things...

I have not needed to go to hospital so far (crossing fingers though I think I came very close a couple of weeks ago and perhaps would have done if I had rung for advice and not been stubborn) but I think I know what you mean about the 'being calm when someone else is doing something' as my worry is always that if I do get help, even the non-urgent sort, I'm going to have to use a lot of energy persuading whoever it is that I'm not just hyperventilating, my PF doesn't drop that much etc etc etc. I will say it was actually a relief this time when my GP just whacked up the pred without me needing to say anything and told me to quit rushing around, though that was not an immediate emergency like you're describing.

Anyway this is kind of rambly and I'm just sort of pondering my own thoughts...but just trying to say really that even though I've not had the same experiences with asthma as you have, what you're saying definitely strikes a chord with me and sounds familiar! I have no idea what the point is either but I can kind of see where some of these might come from, at least from my POV!


Yup i get this sort of stuff a lot too. Feeling alternatively totally helpless please look after me ot im not really that ill leave me to do whatever i want.

Rose xx


Glad its not just me! I did wonder if it was a pred side effect - maybe it is,it just doesnt feel like my usual pred weirdness! I feel really out of control when the pred ismaking me emotional, i dont get that with this though - maybe something to think about. I saw this brilliant t-shirt today, deffo want it! (warning: has a swear word with ***'s)

exactly how i feel and it made me giggle :-)


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