Thursday, October 12, 2017

My First Hyperventilation Episode

Wow! It’s been so long since I last updated this blog. Life got quite busy after my last post – resigned from my job, got pregnant, had a miscarriage, clinically diagnosed with Generalized AnxietyDisorder, and been taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds for almost 2 years.

Mostly people do not know what mental illness is about. They sometimes make fun of it. But hardly do they know that people are really suffering from this illness. At first, I was skeptical about writing about mental illness as my current employer does not know that I’m suffering from it. But as time goes on, I’m really having a hard time keeping it to myself and would like my friends, coworkers and even the bosses, to know that mental illness does exist and I do suffer from it.

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It was around 1:00 am of February 17, 2015 when I asked my boyfriend to take me to the hospital because I cannot breathe. I really thought that I was dying. I told him several times of how much I love him (it sounds funny now, but not during that time). When we got there, the doctor took necessary steps to know what is wrong with me as I am having difficulty in breathing, numbness/tingling sensations on my hands, feet, stomach and mouth and vomited while waiting for a cab to arrive. Then they told me to lie down and relax. They put a brown bag covering my mouth and nose and told me to breathe slowly. The nurse then injected me something, maybe something to calm my nerves.  Slowly but surely, I was able to breathe properly and everything was gone - the storm has already passed. But just what really happened? Am I dying? Why did I feel something like that?

The doctor approached me and told me that I should always bring brown bag and use it if ever I had trouble breathing. She told me that I have Hyperventilation and that was the first time I’ve heard about it. I thought, what is hyperventilation? Is it a terminal illness? Is it curable? Why prescribe me with only brown paper bag?

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I was discharged after 3 hours of breathing in a paper bag in the emergency room. On our way home, I was thinking what did I do to feel that way? I need to know more about hyperventilation.  And so I researched.

Hyperventilation or over breathing is a condition in which you start to breathe very fast. It is although you feel that you don’t have enough oxygen, but it’s the opposite – your body has too much oxygen. Common symptoms are shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, chest pains and numbness of hands and feet – all of which, I felt during my “episode”.

I changed my lifestyle after that incident. I quit smoking, drinking caffeinated drinks and even started to sleep earlier than I used to (I’m a night owl/evening person). I thought that by doing so, I will not experience it again. But I was wrong.  I still experience it up to this day. Saying that I’m kind of used to it is an understatement. I will never get used to it. Every day is a struggle, but I survived and still surviving.

I know this article is incomplete. I will write another one about my miscarriage, hyperventilation and how I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. My mind is racing with different thoughts right now so I need to hibernate. Until next post!

"Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting."

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