British Lung Foundation
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Worrying is making me so down

90I wrote a post on here a few weeks ago about shortness of breath .I had a spidomitery test and the results were no obstruction , And my lung age is 90years ,I am 71 years old ,Since I have been told that I have been paranoid . I cant drag myself from bed until very late mornings , I Feel drained of energy I Feel really down the dumps ,IHave had depression twice ,the last being 14 years ago and I'm still on tablets ,I would hat to come off them as I have been told they are harder to get off than heroin .Any one else feel like I do please?

11 Replies

Hallo Cathfach,

I'm sorry you are feeling so down and worried. I have been through 2 or 3 prolonged sessions of depression over the years so I do understand what you are feeling even if we may not have the same reasons for feeling horrible. As I am not a medical person I can't offer medical advice but the wanting to sleep as long a possible I do recognise. Also being breathless (I do have lung disease which effects my breath) but I also had panic attacks (still do sometimes) which can sometimes feel quite similar. Would your doctor perhaps refer you for counselling so that you can voice your fears, I had a couple of courses with psychiatric nurses and they were a great help to me, I am still on medication to help me keep calm and will probably be on them for life but that's ok.

Don't be afraid speak to your doctor and see what they say.

Take care, remember we are here and we will support you. You could also contact the British lung website nurses and they can give you advice perhaps one of my friend can tell you what you need to do.

Take care.



A lovely reply, bayleyray. 😊


Hello cathfach,

Can't add a lot to your good commonsensical reply bayleyray. I do think 14 years of medication for depression is rather a long time though.

I wish you all the best whatever you decide to do:-).


Hi Cathfach. Sorry to hear that you're struggling and I do understand how you feel (I've had a General Anxiety Disorder/depression since I was a child) and bayleyray has offered you some really sound advice. Doctors very often aren't great at dealing with what you're experiencing but could refer you to a counsellor. Good luck with it all and I hope you find some peace soon. Take care.



Thank you so much Pam x

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Hi Cathfach, I've been on antidepressants practically none stop for 31 years. Getting off them is not that hard, if you are no longer depressed.

You clearly are so, getting off them is not the problem at the moment. You need to see your Docter and tell him/ her how your feeling.

The antidepressant I had been on for nearly 10 years, suddenly stopped working on me at the death of my partner.

I had also been diagnosed with COPD just 3 weeks later.

It took several attempts and many weeks to finally find one that worked for me. In the mean time, I had counselling, attended a wellness group for three months and they both helped immensely.

You were probably already feeling a bit low and the health scare has escalated it into a deep depression.

Go see your Docter and take any help they offer and you'll soon be back on your feet. xx


Greetings. I take antidepressants because COPD and depression go hand in hand, along with exhaustion, which makes bum-dragging a fact of life. You really do need to ask your GP for further tests if you are out of breath. Spirometry doesn't tell the full story.

If it's any consolation, I'm 69and have a lung age of about 98. I plan to get them level :)

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My practice respiratory nurse said not to worry about the respiratory age, as she only uses it to frighten smokers into not smoking. Mine was about 10 years older than I am, and I don't let it stop me doing the things I want to do, I just do them more slowly.


Dear Cathfach

I'm so sorry you're having problems

1st I'd like to try to help with your breathlessness and then later, your anti-depressants...

Some 'helpful' person telling you your lung age is meaningless .............. My dad, at 90 was still driving and looking and using 'Lonely Hearts' adds in the local paper because he didn't know how to use the internet Try to visualise my dad's lungs in your chest. No, on second thoughts imagine you have......................Her Royal Highness The Queen's lungs in your chest! She's 90 years young Very seriously though, try to visualise normal functioning 90's lungs

Going through you local GP, do you have a Respiratory Nurse assigned to you (you should have an email and phone no for contact) ?

When you have a respiratory nurse - speak to him/her to check on your inhaler technique please ask him/her for help with techniques to deal with breathlessness too

He/she can give you such advice and comfort (well, that's my experience)

In the meantime, have a look at BLF site........

Breathing control techniques

that starts with..........

“If you are living with COPD, there are a number of ways you can deal with breathlessness.

A lot of the techniques below are taught as part of pulmonary rehabilitation and can be very helpful in reducing breathlessness if you practice them every day. They also help if you get breathlessness suddenly.

Breathing control means breathing gently, using the least effort, with your shoulders supported and relaxed.........”

(May I suggest one of my own hints for breathlessness? We sufferers must breath deeply.........everyone should really but, apparently, only new borns do........ the rest of us, by culture etc (holding in our bellies!!!) 'learn' to breath wrongly. I run a choir for people with COPD (I have a catalogue of breathing probs so it's been suspended for 6 months but I'm still hoping to get it going again - the singers are so lovely and loyal and are waiting for me ....I hade COPD diagnosed in 1997 so I stopped smoking.....had lung cancer in 2000 when I was 47 so they removed my right lung - 16 years down the line I'm still here!!!! But life is difficult now - You have to maintain a sense of humour throughout our hard times dear husband of 36 years who is the dearest, kindest man in the world is my carer and he was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease 7 years ago ............ Naturally he's slow, wobbly and shaky but he works so hard to keep me fed and cared for. It's very hard - It's very hard!!!!! Sometimes .............. well, I won't burden you with my stuff but sometimes it's can be good ........ watching a good film, having a friend visit .........I don't say that for any sympathy .......... I just want you to know that there is a life to be had.........I and my husband are managing so can you dear Cathfach.)......................I've digressed haven't I? Sorry! Now, when we were 'warming up' for singing ......... I would suggest to the choir that they imagined their lungs as old fashions upright Hoover bags. To take in the air and fill up from the bottom up. When you've done that a few times, imagine filling up from the bottom and have the 'bag' swell out at the sides too. NB I would explain to be sure to take a few normal breaths in between otherwise they may pass out I've just thought.........these are only my ideas I'm not saying you should try them yourself without checking out my suggestions with a qualified medical person

Another suggestion I can make for dealing with breathlessness is 'Distraction' Think of a sort of challenging puzzle you. When I get breathless, which is often, these are part of my 'arsenal' to cope I try to count backwards from a 100 in 3's or 7's and so on You can also try thinking of a pleasant scene in your mind, or an object, like a flower or your favourite car. Really concentrate on it. You can try doing sums in your mind, like me, or singing a song....I do this too. The important thing is that your attention is taken off your body and on to something else. Use what works best for you. Again, you need to distract yourself for at least three minutes before symptoms will begin to reduce.

I am quite a way down the line with lung disease so this may not be appropriate for you......

I have a VPAP breathing system to sleep with at night (Sorry to use jargon but a Respiratory Nurse will tell you what this is - be sure to wash it every day tho'. When I just followed the hospital's cleaning regime, I got a bad Upper Respiratory Track Infection. VPAP, BPAP and BiPAP's ................most are used for Sleep Apnoea so there is a less rigorous cleaning regime)

I also have medicine to put under my tongue when my breathlessness gets really bad This may not be suitable for you though


"..............I'm still on tablets ,I would hat to come off them as I have been told they are harder to get off than heroin.............."

Just the same as your lung age.............this is so unhelpful and, I believe, meaningless..........we are all different and react to medications in all sorts of different ways (Just read 'possible side effects' in tablet packets ................ hardly anyone gets them ..........we're all so different!!!!! I was on an antidepressant for 12 years and weaned myself off slowly over a year

Dear Cathfach I hope you can get to feel better soon I do know how you feel and I wish you lots and lots of wellness!!!!

Please be discerning when given such negative impute by unhelpful people who obviously have no empathy I've had similar but different impute and I know, at my lowest, their words echo in my ears!

I do hope I've helped Cathfach

Lots of gentle hugs



thank you very much .You have been most helpfull


I am depressed every once in a while. But less and less now days. You need to understand though I am dying and there is no stopping it. Well I guess I could stop it but it would take 2 new lungs and a heart and I am only 64 years old now. Too old for the waiting list also. Me I have come to terms with the fact of my looming death. So has my middle son, we talk about it like any other conversation or we use to until my Wife told us it was making her upset. So we don't talk about it in front of her now days. I have come to realize that medication can not take away depression because it is a mental state you are in. Drugs mask the real problem you are having. A friend told me one day when I was having a bad day. "You put yourself there, get yourself out!" He was right I thought about a problem I was having at the time and it was making me confused, so I was depressed that I couldn't take care of it. So I put it on the back burner, back of my mind to think about later, and thought about the present issues at hand. Changed my whole demeanor for the day and made me feel better too also those around me. I do wish you well though. Hope all works out for the best.


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