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Breathing in but feeling like not getting enough air? Don`t panic!

Updated on January 12, 2015

It happens to people of all ages

It happened to me while I was in my 20s. I was sitting on a bench in the evening, contemplating who knows what and all of a sudden I felt like I didn`t have enough air and the need to breathe in deeper. Nothing helped, it was like the air was not entering my lungs. Difficulty breathing can make your life a nightmare.

I didn`t want to tell my parents to create panic so I went for a walk, I tried breathing in harder without success.

While it was very disturbing and my quality of life dropped a lot I carried on without consulting a doctor and for about 5 years this was the type of thing I had to deal every day. When I was waking up and was rested I had no problems for a short while but then the symptoms came back. You cannot really ever get used to it because it`s too disturbing and trying to breathe in very deep too many times was also making my mouth and throat feel very dry.

On the nights when I was going out with my friends everything was alright and I knew that I didn`t have a physical problem because after a few drinks the problem would go away completely and I would breathe normally but I knew it wasn`t the solution because I would have to become a drunk this way.

Oh..and one more problem was the fact that the breathing problems were even worse the next day when I was hungover.

I even had problems falling asleep and many times I would wake up feeling like I forgot to breathe in my sleep! It was a nightmare and I couldn`t believe it was happening to me.

When you`re having this problem breathing in but feeling like not getting enough air there are also other thoughts that come into mind, not pretty thought....you`re thinking that you will pass out, die and other things that depress you even more, so you feel trapped in your own body that doesn`t want to breathe like it should.

*One tip: by trying and trying to get more air you will just make the feeling worse. Try to slow down your breathing, inhale slowly through your nose and feel your belly fill up with air, then exhale through your mouth slowly. Do this a few times and you will feel better.

Get checked by a doctor

My approach wasn`t the best because I didn`t go to a doctor when my symptoms started but after about 5 years I was tired of trying to breathe and went to check my lungs. I had an x-ray and while I was waiting in line for my doctor to examine the x-ray I was looking at it and imagining all that could be worst...I was sure I had something...maybe I didn`t have a lot of time left to live, etc.

When the doctor examined my x-ray I was pleased to know that my lungs were ok but that confused me even more. I even asked the doctor: "how can my lungs be of If I`m having a hard time breathing even now as we speak?" The answer was she didn`t know. Great!

Researching on my own

If nobody knew what I had I tried to analyze my symptoms and search online for a cure to my problem. The sad thing was that most people that were having problems trying to breathe same as and not getting enough air me were just as desperate, some even went to the emergency unit thinking they were having a heart attack so that didn`t help a lot. Everybody had a different theory. This is when desperation but also ambition came into stage.

Finding a solution

I always knew that every problem has a solution but now the thing is that it was my problem and I had to find it fast! I wasn`t going to be bothered by this anymore.

I thought about it this way: It is surely all in my mind because there is no other reasonable explanation for it. I always have something on my mind and I worry about a lot of stuff that I shouldn`t and maybe there is a certain point where our bodies can`t take it anymore, we just have to stop worrying and live our lives!
I was always envious of people that didn`t worry even when they had a deadline coming so how could I change the way I think?

No anxiety medicine for me - while I was desperate to solve my problem I even researched the possibility of taking anxiety pills ( I was sure they were the cure but I didn`t want this kind of cure ). I didn`t want no side effects or something that would influence me in any way, I just wanted to be me but without the problem and I knew that if I found the problem it would be a BETTER ME in the end!

The solution

In fact there is not only one solution and everyone has to find theirs but here is what I did:

  • - I started losing some weight (eating less alone made my problem better I don`t know why)
  • - I started working out ( I thought what better way to feel and think positive than to feel good when I look in the mirror)
  • - I started sleeping more ( I don`t know if this wasn`t the trigger of my problem because I was always partying and my sleeping habits were a mess.)
  • - Before sleeping I was always repeating in my mind "I feel so good, I can breathe great and I don`t have a problem anymore"
  • - I tried not to think about breathing anymore (it`s normal not to think about it and when you have this problem, thinking about breathing makes it worse because you are controlling your breathing and you shouldn`t, your body does it for you and that`s the way it should be.)

Some final words of advice

All the above changed my life for the better not to mention the breathing problem that had messed up my life until then. When I am very tired there are times when I feel like the problem still lies dormant somewhere in my subconscious but whenever I feel this I think about it like a thing of the past that I got over and it passes.

What really changed my life and made me feel like it never existed:


The birth of my son! He makes me so happy every day and just looking at him smiling makes all my worries go away.

I know that it`s not easy, but you must always remember, it`s all in your head and you are the master!

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      Caitlin 2 months ago

      Yea I have the same issue and its been happening for about 4 days, I feel like when I eat it feels like I can't breathe and I do have anxiety but I do think alot about my lungs could be filling up with water, or I might die.. what even is this weird breathing thing called? and please help with how I can stop this. Please.

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      Kai 16 months ago

      I got the some problem so suddenly since few days ago I woke up at night and felt I can't breath. I checked everything and they all normal. Doctor said its should because of the anxiety. I believe this Is a kind of psychological problem caused by anxiety and worries.

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      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi I know the feeling, as I have the same issues. If you don't scare yourself, you will be better, as you say. Good thoughts, like your son, are so great. If we could stay away from worry and sing and laugh and enjoy life more, it would be a better world. I try to meditate and think of pleasant things. Glad you are better and enjoying your family. Blessings, Audrey