Over the past few days, my anxiety-related breathing problem has returned -- with a vengeance! It only happens when I'm going to bed. Usually it stops after 5 minutes, though sometimes it goes on for 20. The trick I've used is to lie on my side, which seems to keep it at bay and allow me to fall asleep.
Well, last night it kept me up at least two hours. It got to the point where I was tempted to just get up and clean the rest of the house, working 'til I was totally exhausted, then going to bed at 6 a.m. or something, hoping that the exhaustion would overcome the anxiety!
I find it a little hard to describe exactly what goes on in these attacks, so maybe a better way to explain what happens is to say it's like I have OCD involving breathing! I'll be in bed, lying on my back, ready for sleep, slow steady breaths, and then it's like "OMG! I'm never going to breathe again!" The feeling I get is that I've exhaled but somehow my lungs have forgotten how to inhale. So I gasp and then force myself to inhale, then try and relax and just breathe automatically, since it IS an automatic function... and it happens again. And again. And again!
I know it has to be some strange stress-related thing trigered by the bed, because if I get out of bed, walk around, etc., I have no problems. Even if I just stop trying to sleep and sit there talking to myself, I am magically able to breathe. But as soon as I close my eyes, the problem comes back. Last night I tried every position -- back, side, stomach, half-sitting -- but it didn't help. I don't know how I even fell asleep.
This problem first started a couple of years ago, going away after a few months, then coming back a couple of times. It was really only sporadic. It came back last week though and I have no idea how to stop it.
Inevitably, the good feelings I enjoyed over the weekend have gone poof! Also, I have a headache and my figurative female relative came to visit. Ugh.
I have errands to run and a To Do list I *thought* yesterday was doable (when I was in optimism mode) but now I just want chocolate.
The sleep problem last night worries me. I worry that I'll have an anxiety attack on top of the problem itself, just from being worried it will happen again. Maybe if I go to bed at like 11 at least by the time I fall asleep it will be like 1, the time I often go to bed.
# of tax forms I've put into envelopes: 5
# of times I've burst into tears: 1
# of times I've almost fallen asleep: 3
# of times I've wanted Starbucks: 2
# of times I made coffee: 1
# of times I was too tired to drink coffee, fell asleep: 1
Sometimes I just want to hand over the keys to my life to somebody else and say "You drive, I'm tired and I think I'm going to get in an accident if I keep this up."
Meanwhile I tried to take a nap but the breathing problem prevented me. It's like that falling-down-the-stairs freak-out a lot of people have as they're falling asleep, only with breathing. It happened around 5 times before I grouchily got out of bed.