I'm sure when my doctor said last week that my problem was chronic hyperventilation and sent me out of the surgery with a printout, he honestly thought that was all I needed. But since then I've done some research, and realised that I've probably never breathed correctly my whole life. It would seem that chronic hyperventilation is a growing problem in asthmatics. Years ago, when there weren't so many drugs available, an asthma diagnosis would be routinely followed up with breathing retraining to make sure that people were using their lungs as well as they could - but this has fallen by the wayside since inhalers became available. It's unfortunate, really.
I've now got and read this book. It is crap. Half of the book is dedicated to convincing you that hyperventilation might indeed be the cause of your problems, and the other half is bordering on new age wishywashy bollocks. There are only about 10 pages of actual breathing exercises to do, but they are entirely unhelpful to me. Clearly, I have never breathed properly in my life. So how am I supposed to work out for myself how to do it, just from a text description and a silly cartoon, only slightly relevant to the subject matter? I need diagrams, lots of them, with arrows to show movement, and explanation of the difference in physical sensation. Actually, I need someone trained in breathing retraining to hold the various parts of my body and physically show me what it should feel like.
I am feeling completely awful, because I am getting worse, not better. And now I have this constant nagging feeling that I'm not getting better because I'm not trying hard enough - this is, after all, a comparatively minor problem with a simple treatment. But now I'm conscious of my breathing all the goddamn time. I haven't slept properly in days because I lie awake worrying about whether I'm breathing properly, then when I do eventually fall asleep, my nose gets blocked, I have nightmares and wake up dizzy and light-headed from oxygen deprivation. Tonight it's all coming to a head, because my shoulder, neck and intercostal muscles hurt all down my left side - I don't feel wheezy, but the last time they hurt like this was the lovely Christmas day when I had such bad asthma that it needed hospital treatment. I'm not sure that bronchiodilators would do anything to help, because I don't think there's anything (particularly) wrong with my lungs, and I don't really feel like spending out money for a taxi to go up to the hospital and have them say they can't really do anything. I'll call the doctors' in the morning for an emergency appointment with anyone and beg for a referral to a specialist physiotherapist. I've even got a list of specialists in my area! I just need a GP to take me fucking seriously for once in my life.