Hi, It’s Your Asthma, Are You Listening?
Last updated: January 2021
Have you ever noticed that no matter how well your asthma is controlled it can come up and hit you very unexpectedly and really hard? As if it needs to remind you, "Hey, I’m here and I won’t be ignored!" It wants to make sure we are on our toes. How can we stay positive while living with asthma?
Not long ago I was at home taking a short exercise class through an app on my TV. When I finished I was unusually exhausted and soon after my chest tightened. I had to rest for the remainder of the day. One 20-minute class did me in. I was so frustrated and a bit disappointed in myself.
On the verge of an asthma attack
What went wrong? Who knows! That is the nature of my asthma. Some days are great and I feel like I can climb a mountain-- or maybe just a flight of steps-- but still, it is very empowering when I am feeling strong. On this day though, I did a simple, short workout, in the comfort of my own home. Still, I was blindsided by feeling like I was on the verge of an attack.
I had no idea why I had that reaction to a simple workout. It could be a host of things. I have a few health issues that impact my ability to breathe which further complicates trying to figure out what went wrong. That feeling of being defeated by asthma; feeling as though I have failed in some way can be very discouraging. Well, I am working on being kinder to myself so I started to look at this hurdle from a new perspective.
Listening to your body
I am able to get a fair amount of exercise on a regular basis. That’s a positive! I try to work out in some way almost every day. Even if it is just a short walk, that is some level of working out too. I move, I push, I challenge and that effort is an achievement, even if some days it is for only 10 or 15 minutes. Obviously some days I am forced to listen to my body and lay low. Sometimes that lasts for days.
I am working on my health not only when I engage in some level of exercise but also on the days I am laying low. I force my body to try to work with and in spite of asthma every day. I use every tool I can find to keep myself on track. On the days that I can’t do much, I am listening to my body and accomplishing the very same thing, keeping myself on track. Listening! I may feel frustrated and disappointed but I am getting better at the ‘kinder to myself’ thing.
How to stay positive with asthma
I am not failing. I am battling with a chronic illness and still managing to live a full life. It is hard work. I make every effort to listen to my body, my asthma, and adjust as I go. Making the effort to listen to and treat the symptoms that feel like they are putting me on the edge of a disaster is also empowering. I know the things I am supposed to do; I am proactive and aware. I am my own advocate; for me, that feels really important.
Lessons I’ve learned
I feel I have succeeded, even on the bad days, simply because I am doing what I must to keep myself from a downward spiral. I know that doesn’t always work but even in that event, I know what to do. I keep myself open to the ever-changing aspects of my asthma too. I don’t think I’ll ever know it completely and that is also empowering. It means I know that I don’t know everything and that keeps me on my toes.
Here is what I have learned over the years, as I have gotten acquainted with asthma. I try not to let asthma take away my confidence. Some days are bad and I just can’t accomplish much, but that’s ok. On those days I am still working, and my effort is going toward staying healthy.
Staying positive while living with asthma
When I was new to asthma, I had to learn to listen to it; I had to learn that I can’t outsmart it. I have learned to take each scary episode in stride, trying to learn from its unique lessons. Asthma symptoms and triggers can change. I am vigilant. I keep an ear to my body and listen to its message. All of those lessons lift me up because I know they have taught me to be an active participant in staying on track, staying healthy, and staying positive with asthma.
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