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What do I do during a hyperventilation attack? I run up and down the stairs...

"Doctor, I think I'm going to die." "How long have you been thinking that?" "Twenty minutes at least." "What do you feel?" "A pressure on my chest and I have to gasp for breath." done then?' 'Run down to get the newspaper, so I knew who the doctor on duty was.' run. Do you get it?

"Ma'am, I can assure you that if you can go up and down the stairs, you won't die yet." Sounds good.

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What actually happens during a hyperventilation attack?

When I wake up the next day, I'm glad I still slept. Husband is on a business trip and I prefer not to wake the kids while blowing into a bag, which is still quite a job. Every time I blew into the bag, it got stuck around my nose. I think of the conversation with the doctor about the hyperventilation. He asked if I've been under a lot of stress lately and my first reaction was no. But actually I have had quite a busy time. Busy with the normal stuff and busy with really fun stuff. But fun things can also be exciting.

The GP has reassured me, but I would still like to know exactly how hyperventilation works. When googling I come to a page where they explain what hyperventilation is exactly and how such an attack can be brought about. Hyperventilation means 'too much' (hyper) breathing (ventilation). It is a symptom of anxiety, panic, stress, or fatigue. When we breathe, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide (CO2). Because you exhale faster with a rushed breath, the CO2 value in the blood decreases.

Oxygen deficiency

I thought it was terrifying. A hyperventilation attack is frightening:you feel that you are not getting enough oxygen, and you may even be suffocating. You may not die, but it still seems that at such a moment. I read that you cannot suffocate during a hyperventilation attack:you in fact breathe in more oxygen than normal. Hyperventilation is therefore primarily a fear response.

Good to know.

Do you also recognize that continuous maelstrom in your head?

Perhaps it is indeed time to take a break from my life once in a while. But the word "pause" really isn't in my dictionary. My body is telling me to slow down a bit. But I'm always super enthusiastic in everything I do. Sometimes ... I do of course carry on a bit and a relaxing evening would also be good. Would such a hyperventilation attack be a sign? The sign that I have to let go of the gas every now and then. But how do I do that?

I forget to enjoy

​As a busy bee, I often go on and on and on, and forget to enjoy the journey

I want to do everything the best I can, but it's never enough. There is always that critical voice in my head that says things could be better – how tiring that is.

Sometimes I long for more peace of mind, a more relaxed life with more time for myself, and that I can enjoy it more without feeling guilty. Moreover, it would sometimes be nice if I could experience a satisfied feeling. Sometimes I have to take the time to look at myself from a distance and also enjoy the results I have achieved.
Unfortunately, the feeling of satisfaction is always drowned out by feelings of fear. What if I am no longer good enough?

Go and do mindfulness…mind what?

A good friend gave me the tip to start practicing mindfulness. She swears by it and enthusiastically told that it really gave her peace of mind. Of course I went to find out what exactly that means.

Mindfulness teaches you to focus your attention on the here and now. As a result, you learn not to make situations worse with your thoughts, for example by continuing to worry about the consequences. Worrying less sounds fantastic, of course, but I really don't see myself doing that.

Mindfulness is defined as

  • 'attention training',
  • 'being present in the here-and-now',
  • 'attention without judgment' and
  • 'acceptance of what is'.

You would experience less stress as a result. All you have to do is practice, practice and practice. And if that doesn't work, start over and practice again.

Whether or not a new adventure

There is still no enthusiasm to fill in the registration form or to buy a self-help book via I get stressed again just thinking about starting something new. A new hyperventilation attack is then lurking. I'm looking for an easier way to relax. How about watching television? No no Sun, drinking, hospital (a bit too intense for relaxation), not a nature documentary (that's too relaxing) but just a good series from Netflix. Anyone have any tips?