British Lung Foundation
35,453 members42,822 posts

Panic

Just had what seemed like a panic attack to do with my breathing. Had just been out in the air to the shops and came back and had dinner. Kept thinking couldn’t breath properly and had to leave table to hide from the kids and try to deep breath in the toilet. Feel chest tightness since diagnosis, how could it get worse in a day and progress over this week? Have no rescue inhaler but afraid this will happen again. Is it just panic attack or is breathing gone that bad when just sitting down. Nearly wanted to go to emergency room.

43 Replies
oldestnewest

Hi

Could it have been caused by a trigger. Aerosol, Air freshener. Scented candles. Not necessarily in the home could have been outdoors which as built up. Stress can fetch on a aniexty attack with periods of uncontrollable breathing. I have similar when things don’t go according to plan, can last 30/60 minutes. Then back to normal.

I do take medication for aniexty but don’t what over use. So I still get the occasional episode which I tend to work through with pursed lip breathing.

19 likes
Reply

Not sure Stone, new to COPD but making me very anxious so maybe that. On no medication for anxiety and on Spiriva Inhaler for COPD. Settled myself with pursed lip breathing but really unnerved me. Have just been at such a loss since my diagnosis.

3 likes
Reply

When I was in hospital 2 years ago I kept having anxiety attacks and a physio told me to do the following:-

Close your eyes and imagine your standing on a beach looking at the sea. You can feel the warm sand under your feet. Watching the tide come in and out you breath in as the tide comes in and breathe out slowly as it goes out. As you do this you should b relaxed and have your breathing under control. I find this helps a lot.

I do think that you should see your doctor about getting a rescue inhaler as soon as you can.

18 likes
Reply

Thank you Pantini, it gave me such a fright. Do not know what stage of COPD I have so don’t know if related to that. Will try standing on a beach, sounds so lovely and see if it helps. Also will talk to doctor about rescue inhaler. Trying to persevere with Spiriva but I suppose it could be that causing chest tightness.

3 likes
Reply

Perhaps the Spiriva handihaler with the capsules isn't working for you.I was using this but changed to the Spiriva Respimat which delivers a fine mist. I was always worried with the other one that the powder wasn't getting down into my lungs. How were you diagnosed with COPD,dif you have a CT scan and Xrays along with spirometry

3 likes
Reply

I agree with what Stone says. Try to stay calm with concentrating on breathing. I have the same sometimes and its very uncomfortable and frightening. Breathe slowly. You might be wise to ask your doctor for a rescue inhaler.? Take care.

6 likes
Reply

I will do sheepdog and will concentrate of breathing if happens again. Feel a bit more relaxed now thankfully but so worried about how my life is going to change. So pleased all you lovely people are here to help when needed. Thank you so much.

3 likes
Reply

Oh yes it is scary when you can't breathe I know that only too well. I agree with others and There advice. I find if I start to panic then the breathing gets worse, so I close my eyes and concentrate on slowing down the breathing and then again concentrate on breathing in through nose and out through pursed lips as if blowing out candle. . My doctor told me to do everything at a slower pace. After a while you will find all these worrying things become a way of life and they become easier to tackle. Take care of yourself Shazam 🌹

7 likes
Reply

Thank you Stumpy55, as with all of you I’m sure it is taking time to get back to life, I know life won’t be the same but I am praying for the strength not to let it completely ruin the rest of my life. Will concentrate on the slow breathing. Take care x

3 likes
Reply

Shazza59, I know it's a lot to take on board at the moment but as long as you take all your meds, pumps and regular check ups it's something that you learn to live with, and then you carry on with living. We all know and understand what your going through and the key thing is you are in control of this disease, not! The other way round. Please stay Intouch with us and let us know how you are getting on? ✋️😊

2 likes
Reply

Thank you for your kindness Stumpy55, feel quite emotional at the moment. Feel it’s got me but as you say it’s the other way round. I will definitely stay in touch, think you will all be fed up with my posts 😉

1 like
Reply

Oh that's good Shazza, stay with us. There's always someone on this site to help you cope and offer you good advice, so don't worry, you are not alone. 🌹

1 like
Reply

Good evening. Anxiety can do all sorts of things to you. Since going to Pulmonary rehab where they teach you how to handle things when you can’t breathe I have put what they told me into practice and it has worked for me. The main thing is to stop what yo are doing then either lean against something and breathe in through the mouth and out through pursed lips, but at all times try to stay calm. Or, sit down lean forward with your elbows on your thighs and again take deep breaths and exhale through pursed lips. It’s not always easy to do these things calmly but if you can I have found it definitely works. When you can ask about Pulmonary rehab, you will learn so much and hopefully feel much better. Good luck Shazza. We are all in this together, you are not alone. I feel for you. 👍🤓

6 likes
Reply

Thank you Roysieboy, so hard to handle. I have been in touch with a nurse who is sending me out documentation and will look into a group for me, she is also phoning me next Monday evening to see that I have received everything and how I am getting on. My GP said another test in a year which I find very dismissive. I am really appreciating all the help here and already feel I am getting to know a lot of you. Do you have many shortness of breath experiences ?

1 like
Reply

I have been diagnosed recently too. I have been moved to forstair instead of seretide. Feeling a bit anxious about the future. I also had a panic attack. It is scary but now I know how to slow my breathing and my Dr has put me on list for pulmonary rehab so feeling more positive now. I think knowledge of our condition helps and this site is like being among good friends. X

2 likes
Reply

It is so hard to take in and carry on acting as normal. My doctor didn’t even mention the rehab. I know how to purse lip breath. Were you put on a rescue inhaler? I wish you all the best with this. This forum is invaluable.

Reply

I have ventolin if I need it which I need most days when I get a cold or sore throat. I have sore throat at moment and just pray it doesn't get worse. Ask you Dr about rehab. Should be available to anyone with breathing problems. Best of luck.

1 like
Reply

I still have good days and bad days. When I get up in the morning sometimes feel ok then late r on I rough shortness of breath etc. All in all I think (as u have probably gathered) Pulmonary rehab certainly fits the bill. I have to pay now when I go (they call it rehab maintenance) I go 1hr on a Tuesday £4.50) but I do the exercises at home as well. I am prattling on, sorry. Once again we are all in the same boat let’s help each other and get on with it. Best wishes. 👍🤓

5 likes
Reply

Hi Shazza59

This happend to me yesterday went for a really long walk outside has did not think it was that cold has the cold weather can effect my breathing

I got really wheezy and hard to breath and sometimes when this happens i will sit on a wall and keep calm and do breathing excercise that i learned at pulmonary rehab

But that can take me up to half hour or more to get breathing back to normal and i really wanted to get home to take a pee lol

So lucky i had my has and when ventoline rescue inhaler with me has 1 or 2 puffs of that after a few mins i am fine.

Really suprised your gp did not start you off on a rescue inhaler

Best wishes

Music

4 likes
Reply

Maybe the cold weather with me too Music, although felt quite tight chested all evening even in the house with heating on. I do the breathing and seems to calm me, I am just shocked this has hit me so hard in a week, never felt this way before diagnosis. Will have to enquirer about rescue inhaler as everyone here seems to have one but me. Take care and hope your chest has improved since earlier.

1 like
Reply

I get the same way after a outing and do pursed lip breathing you may have been having extra trouble do to kids and you didnt want them to see but you did the right thing by goung in a different room that they wouldn't follow you to good call mom

1 like
Reply

Than you, the pursed lip breathing does help but hoping I won’t get like this after every outing.

Reply

Weather plays a big role too

Reply

Have you ever had a panic attack before? Sometimes our bodies go into that mode. When I was first diagnosed with MS every little sound triggered a rush of adrenaline through my body. I can only imagine that's what a panic attack felt like in my body particularly. I also have bronchiectasis. What sometimes triggers me is cold air. You must get yourself an inhaler they're invaluable and you don't want to have to go through life without one. You may never ever have to use it again but just to be on the safe side go grab yourself an inhaler. All the best to you.

3 likes
Reply

I have felt a bit panicky before but this seemed full blown and had to really practice breathing, it was quite overwhelming and scared me. Will try to get docs apt for rescue inhaler, not sure why didn’t get one.

Reply

Shazza.. I know what you mean because the breathless i had the other day was the worse one i have ever had since diagnosed 5 years ago and that scared me but honest just one puff of my rescue inhaler i was back to normal in mins.

Im not sure but i think you can buy them rescue inhalers over the counter in the chemist.

Music

1 like
Reply

Will check it out thanks Music, have never felt panic like it. Hope yours doesn’t come back either but good that inhaler works.

Reply

Very interested in hearing you have Multiple Sclerosis with Bronchietasis. I have similar issues and will be pleased to hear how you manage your situation . I am weak with serious mobility issues substantially aggravated by extreme breathlessness at any effort , however small. So exercise is extremely difficult . I`m on regular 4 hour double doses of Ventolin & Fostair with single dose of Genuair twice daily . Very frequent exacerbations of breathlessness are covered by increased Ventolin . Also now on daily maintenance dose of 5mm Prednisolone .

Keen to hear how you fare .

Kind regards

Roger Cox

Reply

Hi Rodger

As far as the MLS goes I'm not even really taken any treatments it's been since 1995 and things have sort of stabilized for the most part. In the very beginning and they had me on huge amounts of methylprednisolone intravenously I guess to keep the inflammation down. However now I can't even take 2.5 mg of prednisone it just reacts to my body so badly. So I just continue on with life. I'm a Christian so that always helps a lot. I have surrounded myself with a lot of really great people as well as knowing I am loved and precious to God no matter what my circumstances are. My bronchiectasis is another story though. I think I've had it most of my life and have been on countless medications. 3 puffers. But you know, I really get tired of taking all of that stuff so I have to admit I'm not on a regular regime. Mostly it's Ventolin or if I get a really bad breathing problems I use my nebulizer with also a 7% saline solution which helps bring up all the guck. However again I am so bad about doing it on a regular basis. I live in British Columbia Canada so our air is pretty clean except for Last Summer which really threw my lungs for a loop. There were a lot of forest fires and the smoke in the air was just far too much for my lungs to handle. So that really set me off and I had to go on a lot of different antibiotics. Six different ones to be exact. So yeah it's really maintaining when I do have an exacerbation. Oh and I never mentioned but I've just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis! If it wasn't so tragic I'd be laughing but that by far is the worst! I wake up on a daily basis with a lot of pain in my hands and wrists. Which really irritates the heck out of me! Because, I used to be a silversmith but I can't do that anymore. So there goes a lot of my income! But you just plod along, and just try your hardest not to feel sorry for yourself. I think when you do that, you're defeated! So I'm not much help to you I know that, and I'm apologizing Upfront for that one. I'm a bit of a rebel when it comes to taking care of my health I just do it when I really need to. I'm so tired of specialists is that I'm almost at that point where I give up! They don't seem to be able to do much. I make sure I take my vitamin D, my potassium magnesium is important, my fish oils and that's about it. I mean huge amounts of pain sort of puts a damper on life every now and then but you just have to put on a brave face and realize things could be a whole lot worse. Try to get out as much as you can don't isolate yourself. I know it's hard not to when you don't feel well. But it's really important not to isolate. I truly wish you the best. When you say that you have similar issues what exactly is going on and how long have you had it? I am in a wheelchair and have been for 6 years. I look at it as a blessing because what's the alternative? It allows me the freedom to get on the bus and just live my life. I am affected from my waist down and everything else is okay. My Mobility really does suck but again, it is what it is. I think having a good attitude is the most important thing. And just pray you like crazy there's no more forest fires to deal with this year! ☺ I'd love to hear how you deal with things. Don't be a stranger and reach out. Best wishes to you, Linda

1 like
Reply

Hello Shazza, sorry to hear of your experience. Have you heard of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) ? I can highly recommend it to help many things, including panic & anxiety. There are various therapists who specialise in it but it is really very simple to learn yourself, so simple, it can seem too good to be true!

One good place to start is thetappingsolution.com but if you search online there are many resources to assist & free resources on this site.

Wishing you well.

2 likes
Reply

Thank you Gmaj, will definitely look into that.

Reply

Hi Shazza, I was just diagnosed in January so it's all new to me too. Keep getting chest infections. I do totally understand how you feel, its such a shock and hard to take in. This site seems fantastic though, with such lovely, kind people. Just discovered it so will have to introduce myself properly to everyone! I agree that you should definitely get a rescue inhaler, that's vital and I think it will make you feel more secure in the knowledge that you have something there ready to take when you get a sudden attack. I haven't been told about breathing exercises or pulmonary rehab either so I will have to ask. I already suffed from anxiety and depression so was on meds for that anyway. I think a chat with your chest nurse or doc will help you. I'm hoping both you and i, and everyone else newly diagnosed will soon get to grips with it so we can get on and enjoy life. Wishing you all the best Shazza, take care.

1 like
Reply

Thank you Chloe12, I feel so much worse than a week ago so not sure if anxiety or sudden progression. Have pain in my back now on left side but x Ray came out clear. Think my general fitness level low and could be making things worse too. Hope you are feeling ok and getting to grips with it.

Reply

Do you think you might have a chest infection? It might be worth taking a sputum sample to the doctors for testing. If they think you have one they can start you on antibiotics and then change it if necessary when they get the results. I would definitely go to the doctors if you have any worries. I don't know how many times I've been in the last few months but there's nothing worse than sitting at home worrying.

1 like
Reply

I haven’t got a cough or sputum, just sometimes have to clear my throat but still have slight pain in lower back, have taken Ibuprofen and hoping for the best. If gets any worse will head into doctors. Thank you for responding.

Reply

Sorry you're feeling so bad! Others here hAve said this too but I do think it's important to get advice from nurse and doctors before self diagnosing as panic attack. It could be physical and not panic. I know in the past I tried to resolve too many things on my own. I always felt I shouldn't make a fuss. Basically, I neglected symptoms and tried to tough things out.

1 like
Reply

Yes I have a habit of doing that too Robin and just hoping symptoms will pass but the anxiousness tends to escalate then. Will see if can get into doctors office for advice.

1 like
Reply

Hi Shazza

When I go out I have a scarf wrapped across my mouth so that I breathe in warm air rather than cold - a great help I can assure you. Mind you the very hot weather we had earlier last year also affected my breathing because the air was so dry. All part and parcel of COPD I'm afraid.

I take Revlar Ellipta and Incruse Ellipta medication (one puff of each in the morning lasts 24 hours). I was also on the usual Ventolin Inhaler which has now been changed to the Easy Breathe variety and my constant wheeze is now virtually non-existent.

Do you have a rescue pack in case you get a chest infection - namely antibiotic and steroid tabs. Get yourself referred to Pulmonary Rehab and they will help you with breathing and gentle fitness exercises and also can request a rescue pack for you from your GP.

Anxiety is not nice for anyone - try not to worry about things quite so much or so often - difficult but can be mastered. How about getting the children to help you with jobs around the house - I think you might have to tell them why you need their help but at least they will understand and not panic when they see Mummy having breathing problems. Children are more resilient and accepting than we adults give them credit for. That way you won't have to go into the toilet to "hide" away from the children which in turn will be LESS anxiety for you to deal with.

Best Wishes

Bardear

1 like
Reply

Thank you for that Bardear and it makes perfect sense to include kids and just explain to a certain extent, I’m sure they notice that I have been distracted this past week anyway. I am awaiting info sent out by a COPD nurse and she said she would look into groups in my area. Might look into yoga myself as think need some relaxation techniques when start panicking. Your advice and support means a lot.

Reply

Hi, live in Minnesota, USA, cold here for months at a time. I also have lung issues. I definitely think you should have a rescue inhaler. My regular doctor reminds me every time he sees me to cover my nose and mouth with a scarf if cold out. Good luck and stay calm with breathing, slow and steady. Try to get in a rehab class so helpful.

1 like
Reply

Doctor decided not to give rescue inhaler as I am not wheezy!! Thought it was for SOB! Will cover mouth when out. I am in Ireland and we have had very cold weather which doesn’t help. Will keep practicing breathing for when needed. Good luck with the cold there too.

Reply

You are welcome. I'm 72 now and not as "bendy" as I was so I give Yoga a miss, Have heard Tai Chi is relaxing. I still have anxiety/panicky feelings - it's human nature and you are not alone, Try and do something to distract yourself. Ask your GP to refer you to Pulmonary Rehab it does help

1 like
Reply

Am trying to follow up rehab class as need to know more about this disease. It is good to know I’m not alone and really thankful of support. Never too late for gentle yoga 😊

Reply

You may also like...