During the last week I have been short of breath which is causing my anxiety attacks, I've lost about 18lb in just over a week because the anxiety is driving me nuts, I am pretty sure I have COPD but of course with being the time of year getting PFT's would be near impossible.

I went to the ER the other day, I had high hemoglobin levels but everything else was normal, clear chest xray, clear lung sounds, but tachycaria (140bpm).

Anyway, I am a smoker who is 35 years old but smoked like a trooper in my teens & 20's (I'm talking 100+ grams of tobacco per week). I gave up before the panic started because I was feeling SOB.

I guess my question isn't do I have COPD, that's for the test to diagnose, but my question is can anxiety from SOB be managed!? Because at the moment I am so scared I can't get on with anything, luckily I have a wonderful husband who is taking over the house for me but I can't even be around the kids at the moment. If I have COPD is this my life forever?

66 Replies

  • Do anything to regain your mental health...drives in the country...anything.

    And once you are calmer you will be able to cope.

    Being calm is the best thing.

    Eat some fruit and some nuts.

    Drink plenty of water.

  • Morning Clockfacejay

    I am so sorry that you are having these problems. SOB is stressful. Being able to breathe is so basic and obviously vital to everything else in your body that NOT being able to is horrendous. Concentrate on gently breathing out. Try to make that part of the cycle longer than breathing in. Don't concentrate on inhaling, that will take care of itself. Breathe from low in your lungs, not in your shoulders. And do all the relaxing techniques that you can think of. Sometimes others who are witnessing your distress give the wrong advice, e.g. "Take a deep breath." NO, don't. Instead try to empty your lungs, but don't force it.

    I think even with your smoking history you are quite young to have COPD.

    Try not to think of the future. You will cope, whatever it is. You have children, so you will.

    Well done for giving up the cigarettes. Very hard to do, a lot of people on this forum have done that and know how difficult is it.

    All the best

    K xxx

  • You have to get yourself a treatment plan and getting it working for you will take time to get right, with the help of gp and other doctors,,,,tests are not always right first time,,, some use average levels,,, then when you are getting the help and treatment,,work on getting your life plan and slowly work at that,and achieve your goals one at a time,,,,it is not the end of your life,,it is an adjustment to how you do things and for how long,,,, not giving up is the hardest thing to do,,acceptance will come and along with patience you will have an adjusted life,,,build it for yourself,,Karen.

  • Thank you for your replies everyone, I'm sitting here now just freaked out and I am pretty sure the lung infection is coming back but I am still taking the erithromycin and my xray showed up clear at the ed 3 days ago. I haven't had any chest infections for about 18 months but a couple of years before that I was hit with them for about 4 times a year, it was so crazy, then I had a gastric sleeve and felt healthy ever since apart from recently,.

    My main thing is that no matter what, I need to get on with life, hubby goes back to work on Tuesday and I can barely have a shower with fear at the moment.

  • Every time I have given up in the past I have got lung infections etc, coughs, colds, I'm wondering if that is what is happening. Quitters chest?

  • Hello clockfacejay

    I am not a medic, but, one goes hand in hand with the other....sob/anxiety...Anxiety/sob, and not eating is also making you feel weak and unable to cope.

    You need to calm down, and this takes a little time....Go on the internet and listen to relaxation videos, you will soon get to know the routine and will be able to do this for yourself. I suggest doing this several times a day in a quiet, dark,room with no distractions, its no overnight cure, you have to work on it, but it's beneficial in the end.

    See your doctor, perhaps he will be able to give you a short course of medication to calm you down, and offer you alternative therapies to try.

    You also need a distraction, not spending all you time on dwelling about what might be. Set yourself a little task to do each day, play with the children, cook a meal, get yourself out the house, do something, instead of getting lower and lower, it just makes it further to climb back up.

    If you do have COPD, it's not the end of the world, you will be given medication to help with your breathlessness, and advice on a healthy diet and exercise..... You will probably die of old age not COPD.

    You have found this brilliant site now, the members are great and will help and support are not alone, but only you can take the steps to change your outlook, and state of mind.

    I wish you well, we are here when you need us.

    Velvet xx

  • Hello clockfacejay. Having read your symptoms I am more concerned that the sob is caused by your heart than by your lungs. A bpm of 140 is very high, even for being caused by anxiety. If your chest xrays are clear and you have not actually been diagnosed with COPD, it is not necessarily your lungs and so getting a proper diagnosis should be your first focus. If you dohave COPD or any other condition, they are all manageable.

    What others have said about calming down and using relaxation and breathing techniques is very wise. Whilst doing this you need to work on a proper diagnosis. This will concentrate your mind and help you to stop flapping about like a butterfly in a glass jar, which is very distressing for you and doing you no good at all.

    Once you know what your condition is you can get the correct treatment and a management plan.Your life should then get on to an even balance, you will be in charge and you will feel much better in yourself.

    Many people on this site have lived very good lives with serious lung conditions, sometimes coupled with other problems. We have brought up children, had carears and live a full social life. You are very young, have given up smoking which is the best thing that you can do for yourself and the outlook is good.

    Do let us know how you go on.

  • Hi still stnading, you do make very good points there. I was also a bit dumbfounded that the ER doc didn't pay more attention to the heart thing. he just looked at me and pretty much decided from there that I am a healthy woman who is having anxiety. My heart rate went back down to 80 (there's where it normally sits, between 80 - 95).

    I've had anxiety before, but this one is different, this one is a very stiff chest, lots of clear phlegm every day. Burning sensation in the lungs, and something that has plagued me for about 6 months now.

  • Everybody is treating different sets of symptoms, complicated by what happens when you are highly anxious or having a panic attack. None of this will get to the bottom of what condition you actually have or help you to take control. So at the risk of sounding boring I am repeating that you need a proper diagnosis. You sound a highly intelligent and capable woman and I am sure that given the right information and tools you will be able to manage your health and anxiety in the same superb way that you obviously do your family.

  • Thank you very much Velvet, Yes I set myself a task today to fold the washing (and with a 9, 2 7 year olds, and a 3 year old in the house) that was an enormous task, with panic attacks all the way but I knew I needed to do something 'normal' instead of obsessing on the internet about how I am going to die. When I googled COPD in New Zealand (where I am currently) it was all palliative care stuff.. I just had to close it.

    I've called the psychologists office who actually called me back (on a sunday too) and has organised an emergency appointment for Tuesday at 11pm! Just 3 weeks ago I was a fun mother who was only slightly worried about a little bit of breathlessness and then panic set in and just escelated to the point where I can't distract myself and I'm awefully sad (plus still going through nicotine withdrawal) I don't feel the need to pick up another cigarette but it doesn't stop the withdrawal effects. My hubby was supposed to stop with me (we used to go outside and smoke together) but he has started back up again and I am STILL not tempted to pick one up! It ain't aint worth it!

    So I I think the psych said something about being referred to CBT, mindfulness course and of course mentioned an anti anxiety medication called citalopram to try.

    Thank you all for talking to me, it really helps to have someone say.. come up, chin up, it's not so bad!

    I figure no matter what the tests say, if my chest xray was clear, my oxygen was 100% and my lungs were clear sounding then it can't be as mad as these symptoms 'feel' so it must be anxiety making it much worse, that and giving up smoking has always meant a lung infection following it, this time won't be much different I guess... not sure what that will do for testing though!

    The difference is that this time I won't pick up smoking again, I paid a lot of money to have a gastric sleeve 2 years ago so I could live a long time! Now THAT would be a waste of money to cark it 2 years down the line because I couldn't give up the smokes permanently.

    Besides I have a wonderful husband and beautiful children who I normally love raising, this anxiety and scaredness is a glitch.

  • Can you tell me what a gastric sleeve is please? my son has four children, 9, two four year olds and a three year old and so I know just how frenetic that can be. He and his wife get anxious and worn out and they are both well! Believe me you are doing fantastically well to be coping with all of that hard work, having given up smoking and having an undiagnosed cause of sob. Stay away from Dr Google as the amount of rubbish on there will make you even more anxious. chin up. There are a host of people here rooting for you. xx

  • Dr google scares me! Wow that is some nasty stuff out there!! Lung Cancer will always ring a bell with me, I lost my mother to Lung Cancer and my Father to Esophageal Cancer a couple of years ago. The docs said it was his weight that contributed to the cancer growing (GERD over time). I knew I had to do something about my weight shortly after that so I had something called a sleeve gastrectomy where they make your stomach the size of a vivid :)

    I've been maintaining for about 6 months, trying not to lose more weight and trying not to gain! The rapid weight loss has been lost through a lack of appetite (probably nerves like you said).

    I seem to be better at night at the moment, but all day I've had the tight chest and I definately hear bubbling at night and cough like a nanna in the mornings. For years my lungs have hurt and I always found that having a ciggy would take away the stiffness, but I don't have that to rely on anymore, so it could be entirely possible that I am having panic attacks from the first thing now because the cigarette doesn't take away the 'tight and sore' feeling.

    One thing I do know for sure is there is definately some damage to my lungs that I have learned to live with over time. It would be nice to think it's not COPD but all the signs (even before anxiety) do point that way, but bless the lord if I DONT have it I will *NEVER* pick up smoking again, and that's not as someone who is scared but as someone who has just been given the 'opportunity' to give up through fear and have been through the worst of the detox now!

  • Just as a side note, I'm not smoking, that sounded like I was still trying to have a ciggy in the morning to take away the stiffness and soreness, now I just stand at the porch with my cup of tea :)

  • Hi CFJ

    Well done, l think l would go in a panic with four young children to cope with when you are not at your best, give yourself a huge pat on the back, you have just taken the first step towards getting your life back on track....

    Have a sit down and think why did l panic over folding the washing, l've done it, and now l realise there was no need to panic. Tomorrow l can do that problem.

    Build up what you do, and keep telling yourself, l can, do this and l will do it.

    The panic symptoms you are feeling are very real to you, but it is a state of mind...Anxiety will flood your body with adrenalin, sending you into the fight or flight mode, you at the moment are in the flight state, running away... you will get better, l know, l have been there.

    It takes time and determination on your part.

    When you are better, you will look back on this episode in your life and realise anxiety and depression can be overcome.

    And a massive piece of advise from me, Don't spend time on Google, you will scare yourself unnecessaryily.

    You have found this site, you are now communicating with ordinary people who know what it's really like to live with lung disease and how to cope.

    Keep up the good work

    Velvet xx

  • Velvet you are so lovely! Thank you! Really I truly thank all of you ladies for helping me through this anxiety and through a time where I'm not exactly going to get instant testing results (why must stuff like this always go on around holidays hmm?) heh.

    I've been reading these boards all day, and honestly some of you I feel like I am getting to know already! I've seen fear, strength, joy and lots of support for each other, what an honour to be here!

  • Hi CFJ

    We are all caring and supportive on here, and you would be hard pushed to have something that someone on here can't help you with.

    I guess its evening time in your part of the world, so l prescribe a goodnight hug and kiss for your children, turn off your PC and go and relax with your husband.

    Forget your worries tonight...l hope you feel a little brighter tomorrow.

    Velvet xx

  • Hi jay, so sorry that you are suffering ....I have had panic attacks and suffered from anxiety so I know what it is like. You have been some good advice so far, and you are going to get help soon so hang on in there.

    You have been through some big life changes recently, giving up smoking, the gastric sleeve , the fear of COPD ...all while being responsible for the welfare of your children...and Christmas as well.

    Don't beat yourself up, try and relax your muscles as much as you can...drop your shoulders and relax your diaphragm and breathe very gently through your nose and not your mouth ....hyperventilating will increase anxiety.

    Try the Pursed lip breathing technique that you can find on You tube.....breathe gently in through the nose....not too deeply and then out for a longer time, again gently through pursed lips. Repeat a few times

    Have a look at David Carbonnell video on anxiety and breathing on You tube too...he is very calming I think.

    I have a meditation app on my iPad and went on a mindfulness course.

    Relaxation exercises and massage helped too.

    Take care ...we are all thinking of you.

  • Thank you for that information I will definately look that up, and do everything I can to help my anxiety before I get this test done so I can at least be prepared for results with a better frame of mind. The mental health clinic as accepted me as an acute case of anxiety so their 'skeleton' staff have agreed to take me on board and give me the meds needed.

    I wonder if having a 'little' medical background knowledge is making me worse too? I was a student Midwife for 3 years and know just enough to scare me I suppose, but without the helpful insight of being a Doctor or a wonderful nurse who has practised in these settings for years.

    I'll be very surprised if it's not at the very least mild COPD, I've noticed (of course in retrospect) a decline in fitness compared to peers for a while, and there are other clues like I said, tight chest, bubbling at night, (never had asthma) serious history of lung infections, consistant productive cough etc.

    Like I said, only the test will tell me, but you answered my questions very very well, that if it is COPD causing this anxiety (sob etc) then it's still manageable and you all seem to be leading lives and are happy.

    I was very scared that it would all be misery till the end if I was diagnosed with COPD. So seeing you all strong and so supportive means that regardless of the outcome I face, COPD is livable and I will smile again!

    Thanks again ladies for lending me crutches of strength <3

  • Good replies from Velvet and Stillstanding. Clockface it's very unlikely you have COPD. Sats of 100%, clear lungs and lung sounds upon examination and a clear chest xray actually indicate you do not have COPD.

    It sounds to me that you're suffering from anxiety and association panic attacks. The anxiety and panic will cause sob, it may also be causing your tachycardia.

    Speak with your doctor about this and see if a care plan can be set up for you.

  • This might be a good opportunity to change Doctors actually, there's a medical centre up the road that is much better equipped. I lost faith in my Doctor when he diagnosed my 4 month old (at the time) with croup 2 times and yelled me out of his office the third time. That night she was in the ER and the Doctors didn't know if she would make it, she had pneumonia and it was lucky that I had done Midwifery because I noticed the pulling on at the ribs (I'd just had an exam on it actually) and realised she needed to go to ER RIGHT NOW.

    But also these Doctors don't seem to have any decent facilities, sometimes it's worth it to pay a little more for better quality care!

  • A gastric sleeve is a surgical weight loss procedure where the size of the stomach is drastically reduced.

    Clockface your gastric sleeve would be the reason for the weight loss you mentioned you have.

  • I've been maintaining for a while, this recent loss has edged me towards the lower end of the BMI (which ordinarily I'd be exstatic about) but eating at the moment seems like this huge impossible task! But yes you are right, it would be very easy for someone like me to drop weight accidently.

  • Hi jay again...I was just thinking of your weight loss this week...with your gastric sleeve can you eat nourishing soups so that your blood sugar levels can be kept as even as possible...this will help with your anxiety too..

    Remember your chest is clear, try not to think what happened in the past when you stopped smoking...the chest infections for example. You are now slimmer as well and that helps with breathing.

    I know it can sound trite...but concentrate on enjoying the Now...not what might me. Is it possible for you as a family to have a trip out away from the house today it can help as a distraction .

    Best wishes

  • That is a great idea! I did notice a jelly like feeling through my body today and said as much to my husband and he said (that's what happens when you only eat 3 bites a day for 2 weeks) he's actually been really wonderful, he's had panic attacks before and is the coolest cucumber in the bunch. Nothing phases him what so ever. I'm very lucky and currently focusing on the positives that I married such a wonderful man who didn't even question and just took over dinner and household duties for me because he could see I was not doing well <3

    We were going to go to the beach today (sunny here in NZ) but I panicked at the thought of leaving the house, I will try again tomorrow and try to just be out and feel the feelings rather than running home to my safe place.

    Thank you again!

  • No. Your life is not over. COPD is an "umbrella" for all sorts of lung need to fid out exactly what your problems are. I have emphysema and Bronchiectasis and although I have had to learn to handle them properly ( inhalers, etc) and have to accept I have good and bad days, life is still with me!!!! (I am 78 in two weeks time) Try not to get so anxious as that's the worst thing you can do for yourself. Good luck :)

  • How do you get through your bad days? Does it cause panic for hours? Or did it? How did you work through it? What concerns me is if it's scaring me this much now what will happen when it progresses? Is each new stage this massive decline? Or is it all very slow going? I jsut don't know, and google is way too scary for me. At 35 I'm not OK to read about what I should do when I get to palliative care :P

  • Oh and a HUGE congratulations on the 78! :D

    My Mum was 47 when she passed away from Lung Cancer and I remember her saying to a friend of hers who was complaining about what age was doing to her face "That's a priveledge I may never get to have". Thinking about it now, I sort of ended my own thoughts of future around the age my Mum died! How wonderful to make it to 78 in good spirits :D

  • I try to remind myself that my three sisters (one was my identical twin) all died at very early ages, so I am priviledged to have lived so long, frail or otherwise! :)

  • With respect clockface...when what happens? Your lungs and lung sounds are good. Your sats are 100%. Your chest xray is clear. There is absolutely nothing to suggest you have even mild COPD...and now you're talking about palliative care. What the?

    Don't wish this disease on yourself. You diagnosed yourself via some pretty dodgy research on Google and still I don't know how you even reached the conclusion that you have COPD when there is a total absence of the symptoms of this very serious disease.

    There are quite a few of us here who have severe and very severe COPD. You should probably forgive me for wishing my numbers and the condition of my lungs were even half as good as yours. Those of us who do have COPD know what it's like to battle this disease and we do our best to remain positive on a daily basis. Sometimes that's a lot harder to do than it sounds.

    It's probably best for your anxiety and panic condition not to search for an illness or disease on Google. It will bring you grief as this one has done and cause you to worry for no good reason.

  • Some days I do nothing....but I do try to walk about a bit, and make your body and lungs move. I would strongly suggest you try to get yourself onto a Obsessive Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic - your surgery should be able to sort that for you. Believe me you will learn a lot about caring for yourself, etc......and will help you be so negative and anxious. Forget about palliative care........take each day as it comes, and get the best medical help possible. Everyone of us is different and it took me ages to come to terms with it all, but it really worth trying. All the best to try and get on to that clinic - it's usually a 6 week thing, once a week.

  • whoa!! clockfacejay! slow down baby. You. don't even have a diagnosis that anything is wrong with your lungs and you are already seeing yourself in palliative care!

    Change doctors, demand a referral to a good chest consultant at a big centre for lung problems where they can do all of the proper tests incuding a ct scan which is the only really effective way of diagnosing these things. When you know if you have a lung condition you will be able to take proper steps to look after yourself and LIVE with it.

    Also I would suggest that you get some help with your more generalised anxiety about many aspects of your health. It must be wearing you and your poor husband to shreds.

    In the meantime, whilst you are organising that please do what one of the others said. Turn off your computer, stop obsessing that you are dying and go and enjoy that wonderful husband and your special children.

    I have had a serious lung condition, which is different to COPD since 1953. I have raised 2 children, travelled and lived all over the world, run an international manufacturing business and returned to university in my 40s. What I have is progressive and extremely debilitating and yet here I am at 65, still standing and giving everybody what for. And so will you

  • Hi Clockface,

    Sorry to hear that you are having problems with SOB but congratulations on giving up smoking. I don't think I can add any more useful advice than the previous reply's other than to say like many of us on this site I do get panic attacks though not as many as I used to. I now plan my day with achievable goals but don't knock myself about if I don't achieve them all, just move them over to the next day. I know it may sound silly but the act of crossing off a goal achieved and moving onto the next is a positive thing for me.

    Take care of yourself.


  • Thank you Sue, it's probably the single hardest thing I have ever been through, and I thought the sleeve and childbirth was hard! I'm currently feeling better, although I was like this last night and then woke up with maximum anxiety again this morning. So it seems that yes while I am still SOB and tight chested, the anxiety seems to really exaserbate (sp) the situation and blow it up to a huge magnitude.

    I made the mistake of googling COPD and anxiety (I don't recommend ever googling the combination) but then it did lead me to these boards, the only thing on the internet that seems to have kept me sane, reading about real people with COPD who are leading their lives as normal and still enjoying life! Puts it in perspective for me!

    I'm so glad I came here, I can't thank you all enough for the support you have given me today!

  • Now there's a nice, positive post from you, clockface. Excellent, I'm glad you're feeling better. Anxiety is awful, it really is, though it is something we can learn to manage. Being sob will cause anxiety and panic in all of us.

    For the love of everything good. Stay away from Dr. Google.

    Take care.

  • The relief when an anxiety attack subsides and you are able to start thinking rationally and then wham oh another attack happens for sometimes no apparent reason was and is the hardest part for me to cope with. I consider myself to be a rational sensible person with a good dollop of common sense and could not work out why I was like a breathless dribbling mess when confronted with a sometimes simple task.

    I realise now I can't control or make sure everything and everybody around me are safe and hunky dory, so I take everyday as it comes write my lists tick off my achievements and try to ignore my lapses, which today were forgetting to take some batteries to my dad for his torch (he's in a nursing home now) and not getting a second load of washing in the machine to wash. a year ago I would have been running around like a headless chicken and getting in a right old state. If I have a panic attack at least now I know what it is and wait for it to pass.

    You will find your own method of controlling these attacks and if COPD does become part of your life, I'm sure that you will live to a ripe old age. Stay in touch with us and let us know how you get on.


  • Hi, just wanted to welcome you because I can't add to the marvellous replies above

    I can confirm that breathing exercises really help. Pursed lip breathing is now automatic for me in tines of crisis be it SOB, stress or anxiety.

    There are lots of clips on YouTube, please have a look.

    Also, I've read many times here that quitting smoking can make you feel really bad for a while. The brain is screaming for a nicotine fix and affecting your anxiety levels. Brilliant you had the strength to quit it, well done you 😇

    Good luck on Tuesday, citolapam has an antianxiety component as well as anti depressant and will act as a protecter while you heal and get back to loving life x

  • Thank you, I'm finding the breathing isn't helping through the worst of it, but I have that appt with the mental health team on Tuesday so maybe they will show me the correct way of doing it then! I read online to breath in for 5 through the tummy, hold for 2 and then breath out with pursed lips for 7, but I get dizzy and then freak out because it hurts my lungs more.

  • Hi jay....I find it better to go at my own pace with the pursed lip breathing technique, no counting as that can add an extra stress on you.

    Just try and breathe as gently as you can ....belly breathing very gently with a relaxed diaphragm and shoulders down.

    In the Uk there is a No Panic website....I don't know if there is a similar one in NZ ...with a helpline.

    Your body too is getting used to no cigarettes....even the habit and action of the routine surrounding smoking......congratulate yourself on doing so well. Is there a quit line you can ring to help with the withdrawal symptoms.

    Take care

  • Hi I know how you feel I have emphysema and today my breathing isn't great but your lucky you have a family i live on my own my family live miles away but hang on in there

  • I'm sorry you are having a bad day breathing and that you aren't living with family! While my Dad was dying he really loved mine and my brothers company and we would visit him whenever we could, but it still doesn't help when you have those nights alone! Where abouts are you? Do you have lots of friends around? :)

    My kids are on their 'summer holidays' at the moment, they don't go back to school till Feb, so I think that's why I might have been accepted into the acute mental health team. This evening I am feeling much better, though I still feel chesty it's not currently alarming me again. I even managed a big kiss and cuddle with my little girl without a pnic attack! So there's my super positive for the day :) :)

  • Clockfacejoy, what a wonderful name, you have read what so many people with all sorts of lung conditions have said and the panic and depression that goes with it. You have/will learn to accept each day and get through it. I'm a 53 year old "girl" with severe COPD and living alone. My two good friends do their very best to help me but in the end it is all about what I can do for me. It took me months and I mean months to accept this and I think I'm getting through the mental part of it. The panic attacks still cone- but they do go. I wish you all the best.

  • Hi there Camilla. I'm the same as you with COPD and struggling with breathing over the past week or so. Clockfacehoy has had so much great advice, especially learning to live with a lung condition.

  • You should get your GP to do a lung function test this would give him the results he needs to see if you have COPD then he can get you on the right meds. He could also send you on a PR course to help you deal with panic attacks

  • One of my biggest problems at the moment is that my own GP isn't there till the 19th, so I think I might sign over to a new GP and I know that this particular clinic has a Spirometer there (is that how you spell it?) otherwise I would have to wait till the 19th and then wait for the hospital to get back to me on the referal (which can soemtimes take months) so I will be signing up to this other place when they open their doors again (public holidays at the moment) and see if I can go through one of their Doctors :)

    Thank you so much for replying and answering my questions, it is really helping not googling all my questions and having someone answer them. Google is scary even with the simplest questions about COPD.

  • What dr are you going to as i am having the same problem like you my dr is not there and as you say it takes referrals months to go through

  • So sorry you are in such a state. I can't add much more you have had some good advice. Take care and that you get the right treatment soon xx

  • Speak to your Dr about attending a Rehab excercise gently plus get helped me so much to know why I was feeling like I did......learnt others had the same things wrong as I did....that I'm not the only one that gets this or that....

  • Fishtail Please do not make this sort of comment. My own daughter had a breakdown and was not capable of looking after herself let alone her family. Much as she wanted to.

  • Hi fishtail, I have pulled through much worse I've been there for both my dying parents and been the rock for everyone, but this time my mental health has fallen, I feel like a scared little girl and without my normal strength I am finding it hard to do the normal things. I'm sorry you don't understand, before this I may not have understood either, I was looking after my sick prem daughter in nicu while my father was sick with cancer 80 miles away, but the difference was that I was sad, but could push though.

    The problem now is that this anxiety has absolutely crippled me, so while I understand your reply, I am not sure you can understand where I am coming from, as I wouldn't have before this happened.

    Anyway I have my appointment today with the psychologist and I will talk to them about getting the help I need to pull through and then once my mental health has been stabilised then I will be back to my strong self.

  • clockfacejay I am sure you will be, when my daughter was ill and went into hospital to be treated for her breakdown I thought it was the end of the world, it wasn't it was the beginning of a better life for her. She is a much stronger person now, go along with the treatment that will be offered and give yourself time to recover.

  • I did feel better after their re-assurances I will get better, their theory is I am going on maximum fight or flight alert because of a potential diagnosis/breathing troubles, and the 'flight' alert isn't switching off as it should.

  • So sorry you are feeling so anxious cfj. It sounds as if you have been through a great deal of emotional trauma in the past couple of years. So well done on given up the cigarettes. As others have said copd is not the end to life, if it is this, you need a diagnosis, correct medicines and breathing training. As regards the panic, have you tried breathing into a paper bag? Also try not to worry, I know this is easier said than done. Focus on the here & now & small tasks, reward yourself in doing them. Maybe allow yourself a worry time, then pack them all away until your next worry hour. I hope this helps & you feel better soon. Love Margaret x

  • I don't know whether your problem is COPD or anxiety. I am not familiar with your abbreviations ER etc, but get yourself to your GP as you are clearly in a state with your mental health. I'm sure he can give you some advice or something to help.

  • Hello Clockfacejay, it is really nice to meet you, and you have come to the right place for help, support and advice.

    Panic attacks and anxiety, oh boy how dreadful are they, I got so bad about 18 months ago that I could not function at all, it terrified me because I had never suffered anything like it before and I thought I was going mad, my daughter took me to the doctor and she put me on Diazepam for a short while and Citalopram 30mg and they certainly helped, she also diagnosed me with depression so I am still taking the Citalopram, and will carry on taking them for as long as I fell I need them. I will tell you what I did when the panic descended, I got the knitting needles out and knitted a complicated pattern, I had to force myself to do this because all I wanted to do was cry, but once I got started it really did take my mind off ME, I also found a really good book had the same effect, might me worth trying something like that. But please believe me my new friend, it will pass, I promise.

    As for the COPD I have to say that all your stats say you haven't got it, but the only way you will find out for sure is through your doctor, so get the tests done then you will know one way or another. I will also say that your sob is being made worse by your panic and anxiety, it will raise your heartbeat and make you feel really ill, so please get some medication to help you.

    Stopping smoking, how hard is that, I smoked for 53 years and thought I would never stop, I tried so many times without success, but then I thought I needed help, I could not stop cold turkey, so I tried several nicotine replacement products, again with no success, then I found the lozenges, which I have to say taste dreadful to start with, but you soon get used to the taste. I'm convinced that having some sort of nicotine replacement really helps, because denying your body of something it has been used to for so long is bound to cause problems, like when you stop drinking coffee you get withdrawal symptoms. I couldn't stop straight away even with the nicotine replacement, I cut it down slowly, it took me 4 months to stop completely and I have had NO withdrawal symptoms at all, and that was 8 years ago.

    The pursed lip breathing does help, just sit comfortably and breath in slowly to the count of 3 then breath out slowly to the count of six as if you are blowing up a balloon or blowing out a candle, it is very important to breath out for longer than you breath in to get as much breath out as you can, but don't force it it will make you dizzy.

    Anyway Clockfacejay, I think I have rambled on for long enough, but please remember we are all here if you need us, with help, advice and most importantly, support, you are not alone. Take care and breath easy, Love and hugs xxx

  • Cybergran Thank you for putting into words all I wanted to say you are so right.

  • Good Morning everyone!! Wow a supportive group, I also was diagnose with COPD, Doctor not sure if I have emphysema. Have an appt with a specialist on Jan 18. Where I will find out if I also have emphysema. This Google search is driving me to a point that I just want to give up. I get really really bad anxiety and panic attack. One thing I with COPD. I might cough maybe once or twice a day. I go up and down the steps plenty of times and just a little out of breath but I think that is normal for someone going up and down the stairs. I do laundry, clean, etc. But I have loss lot of weight in the pass 9 month since my Mom passed away is where my lost of weight started. From 156 I am down to 117 pounds. People keep telling me that my oxygen level is gonna go down. And my organs will shut down. Is that true I am very scared. I do google a lot and it's is very scary. I do Drink a lot of water and eat but not much. I don't want to go any wheres cause I feel ugly and skinny and feel like people are starring at me. Wanted to share this to all. To get some support Obviously Ii don't have that with my family which is very sad.

  • Did you end up posting your own thread? Lots of wonderful people replied here, and lots of good advice. Sometimes I think we have to sort out the anxiety in order to cope with whatever comes our way!

  • Hello Anita5361. It is very nice to meet you. I know what you mean about panic attacks and anxiety, please read what I said to Clockfacejay. It is all very frightening but if you are able to walk up stairs without too much trouble and you are only a little out of breath then things are not that bad. PLEASE PLEASE don't listen to those people who are telling you all that stupid stuff, it is rubbish and should be ignored, and please stop going to Dr. Google you will frighten yourself to death. If it is Emphysema (which is what I have) you will not cough a lot, I don't cough and I have no phlegm, except when I get a cold. COPD is a blanket term for several different diseases and Emphysema is just one of them. Don't be scared Anita, this disease is livable with, keep moving, eat well and drink plenty of water.

    As for your weight loss, I think that is down to the death of your mother, when my husband died I lost 17lbs in two weeks, and it kept on going down for quite a while, but I am sure that will recover once you have got over the loss of your mother, please don't worry about it, I am sure it will right it's self given time.

    If you need any help or advice or just need a chat please come on here, we are all here for you, anytime. Take care xxx

  • Thanks so much for your help that means so much to me. And yes you are right the search on google was driving me nuts. That is when my weight loss started when I loss my mother that meant the world to me. But I am trying very hard to move forward and let go of many things. Everyone in here is very helpful. Thanks everyone!!!

  • Hi everyone, I've just had my appointmnt, I've been prescribed Citalopram, Quetiapine for at night and 10 days worth of Lorazepam to get me through. I'm not liking the effect of the lorazepam feels icky, but then it's better than a full panic.

    Opened up with the New Doctors today, met the practice manager and the doctor I am under will be there next week, so hopefully I will get my results.

    It feels like I will never be happy again right now, but I know I just have to wait for the meds to kick in.

  • Hi again Clockfacejay.

    You will be happy again my friend, once you have seen the doctor and found out exactly what is wrong you will stop worrying about what is wrong. Please please believe me when I say that COPD is not a death sentence and you are not going to die if you get sob, (which is what I thought in the beginning) when that happens you need to sit down, relax and breath as I mentioned in my first message. If the Lorazepam is not agreeing with you tell the doctor and he can either adjust the dose or change you to something else.

    One very important thing you must do is keep moving, even if it makes you sob, the more you move the less breathless you will become, walking or exercises or anything that keeps you active. The thought of exercising terrified me, I thought I would die from shortness of breath, but I found that after a week of doing some exercise each day my breathing was better.

    I hope some of what I have said helps you, and please let us know how you get on at the doctors next week. Take care xx

  • Clockfacejay So happy that you have been to get help. You will feel well again, don't expect it to happen overnight, take things a day at a time it sounds as if you have a good husband to support you. Please let us know how you are doing in the next few weeks.

  • Clockfacejay Should have added that the meds make take a little while to kick in, I know that from my daughters experience but it will all be so worthwhile in the end. don't try and analyse what has brought this on yet plenty of time for that when you are feeling better.

  • Hi everyone, I went to the new docs today and he sat there and went through all the information and said he didn't want to send me for more testing as he feels it would further my anxiety. He said he's more concerned about the fact that I am not eating properly and that my mental health is in a state. He listened to my lungs, checked all my vitals, got me to blow on the asthma thingy and gave me his reassurances that he is not concerned. I think he feels that sending me for testing at the moment would be a dis-service. So I guess that is where I am at.

  • Hi everyone, starting to see the sunshine through the clouds, I'm not there yet, but I am guessing the meds are starting to work because TODAY I SMILED and I actually felt like making soap again! :D (I make pretty food soap for a living) and even though the anxiety is still here I am managing to get some control again.

    I still think I have at the very least mild COPD, but the Doctor is right, I need to get my anxiety under control before those investigations start. But in the meantime it's always good to treat it like it's COPD because if it helps me stay quit then it can only be a good thing, COPD or Anxiety, or both, smoking isn't good for any one of them!

    Thank you all, thank you for being a rock in my darkest hours! Like I said I am not out of the woods yet and I might still wake up tomorrow with the anxiety back (seems to happen every morning and then it's a fight to get control for the rest of the day) but TODAY I *WON* :)

  • Hi I know this is an old post. I feel I'm in exactly the same boat as this clockfacyjay. Im 32 gave up smoking 3 months ago and having SOB daily which is relived with ventolin but keeps coming back, and anxiety I feel like I'm sinking into massive depression. My Drs think because of my age it can't be copd. Hope your doing well and are in a better place, anxiety is awful. Would love to hear from you 😊

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