A woman looks back in worry at the outline of an inhaler

The Constant Worry of Forgetting My Inhaler

Last updated: September 2021

Ever since I was a child, I can remember being totally panic-stricken if I left my inhaler indoors, or if I thought I had dropped it somewhere. It's a fear that I'm sure most asthma sufferers have experienced. The fear itself can actually trigger tightness in the chest which really isn't pleasant. The notion that you have come out without your inhaler is a real and scary prospect.

Understanding the worry

For anyone who does not have asthma, imagine how you feel when you suddenly realize that you haven't got your cell phone in hand. You don't know if you have lost it or left it at home. The sudden panic you feel is very real and distressing. Our phones are our lives. Our emails, business contacts, diaries, friends, and family WhatsApp groups, are all on this tiny little device that slips neatly into our pockets. So, the thought of this important little device being lost can be very overwhelming to think about.

However, if you did lose your phone, one thing that almost certainly would not happen is that you probably wouldn't get a sudden feeling of worry about your life. I doubt you would become breathless or tight-chested. However, this is the reality for most chronic asthma sufferers when they can't locate their inhalers. Sure, even if you have come out without your inhaler, 9 out of 10 times you will be fine. We all take preventative medications these days, which hopefully means we don't need to rely too heavily on our Ventolin inhalers. It only takes that one time, if you have gone out for a run or you are miles from town or home and that can trigger an attack.

Internal dialogue around forgetting my inhaler

Now that I am approaching middle-age, I have learned little techniques to keep calm and relaxed if I do go out without or have lost my inhaler. It doesn't happen all that often but when it does, my internal dialogue kicks in: "keep calm, if you had your inhaler on you now you would not need to use it. You definitely have a spare inhaler at home and if the worst comes to the worst, you can ring 911." Even as I read back these little psychological ploys that whirl around my mind whenever I forget my Ventolin, it makes me realize just how much fear is deeply embedded in my psyche, which still, to this day, gnaws away quietly in the back of my mind.

The ultimate nightmare

If I am in a really catastrophic mind frame, I will imagine the world running out of all asthma meds. This is my irrational side coming out. This normally occurs in the early hours of the morning. It's strange just how impactful the psychological effects have been on my life.

My reality

Asthma is a condition that will be with me until the day I die. And so too, will be all the things that come with having this condition, including the worry of forgetting my inhaler. I have to be thankful, however. Living with asthma has its downsides but so far, my life has been great and I am eternally grateful for the professionals that have helped me live my life to the fullest.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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