The Thing About Anxiety
Last updated: February 2023
It is common knowledge for those with COPD that it comes with a full dose of anxiety and stress. Often these issues are confusing, unwelcome, and foreign to us.
As we try to deal with these constant anxiety episodes, we develop stress reactions, which can prove very unhealthy. We often think we are doing everything we can to help ourselves, but the outcome can end up being the exact opposite of what we intended to do.
Always in need of help, and in fact, if we don’t get the help we need, we will hinder our recovery.
Recognizing our feelings of anxiety
The first thing that we have to do is recognize it. We must understand that this feeling is not a symptom of COPD. Rather it is a part of the anxiety that can come with COPD.
If we can learn to acknowledge it as anxiety and we can somehow learn to accept that it can be changed. You just have to want it enough and believe that you can have control.
Listening to others
Sometimes we must learn to listen to how other people see us. People who are surrounding us can and do make judgments about how they see your problem.
You don’t always have to listen, but sometimes we should. My girlfriend once commented that my problem was not from COPD, but more likely it was a case of anxiety.
She had COPD, too, and I knew her intentions were pure. Her voice was not criticizing me, and listening was the first step to controlling my anxiety.
It was a relief to realize that this was probably anxiety. I knew I couldn’t change the failure of my lung function, but I had the experience of learning to overcome anxiety many, many times in my life.
Once I acknowledged it as anxiety, I felt empowered to take control of it and work through the steps to changing my outcomes.
Learning about mindful breathing
Way back in 2016, I had my first kick at respiratory rehab. If I concentrate long enough I can still hear the lessons. It was a long time ago, but my memory of those days is locked deep in my brain.
Reaching deep into those memories, I would find what I was looking for. I dusted off my books and the handouts that I was given and found vital information.
Asking for another stint at rehab was a bonus, and because of COVID, these classes were being delivered online. I was in a hurry to sign up and to have an instructor once again encourage me.
I got one of the best respiratory therapists ever. He was gracious enough to work with me one on one.
I was taught to lower my shoulders and to do abdominal breathing. He taught me to inhale through my nose and exhale upon exertion. I learned about mindful breathing and how using positive self-talk helps us all.
Do you have any tips for getting through anxious moments? Please share them in the comments!
What stage was your COPD diagnosed as?