Last updated: March 2023
There are many days when I am just tired of being an asthmatic. I am tired of taking medication for it every day. I am tired of worrying if I remembered to grab my inhaler before I went out the door. I am tired of constant doctor appointments to make sure my lungs are doing okay. There are times when I feel like my asthma is relentless and it is all I can do to just remember to breathe. I am tired.
I take my maintenance inhaler every morning after I put my contacts in. I find that having a routine helps me better remember to take it. But the other morning, after putting in my contacts, my thought was, "I don’t want to take my inhaler today. I’m tired of taking it every day. I hate the way it tastes. I’m tired of looking for a cup of water to rinse my mouth out. And I just don’t want to use my inhaler this morning."
These thoughts are what I call "asthma burnout." Asthma can be exhausting. There are days when it dominates every waking thought. Days when it is all I can do to just breathe. Days when I worry about medication burden and the life-altering consequences of long-term medication use. There are days when I just don’t want to "asthma."
I don't know why using my inhaler is difficult some days. It literally takes two seconds to do, and I’m currently on a maintenance inhaler that is just once a day. There have been times when I'm on multiple maintenance meds two or more times a day, and of course, I went through burnout with those meds too, but why now when I'm down to only one inhaler once a day? I honestly don't have an answer to the question. I sometimes wonder if it's just a part of feeling "different" and having to cope with medical issues that healthy people do not have to. There are times that I am jealous of people who do not have to rely on expensive drugs just to be able to breathe.
Tired to thankful
Attitude goes a long way in coping with a chronic illness like asthma. On the days that I struggle with taking my meds, I remind myself to be thankful for the things I do have. Instead of feeling burdened by having to take my inhaler every day, I focus on being thankful that someone went to the trouble to invent medicines that make it possible for me to function. I think about how lucky I am to have insurance that covers most of my medications. I consider how lucky I am to have such good doctors who help me manage my disease.
As much as I want to just scrap all of my asthma medications and routines that keep my lungs healthy, I have to admit that my lungs are in a really good place right now. After having some serious trouble over the summer, a switch in meds has really improved my lung quality. In fact, there are days that go by, albeit rarely, that I do not think about my asthma, its symptoms, or taking my meds. Days when going through the routine of using my maintenance medication don't seem burdensome. Those are the days I look forward to.
Have you experienced asthma burnout? What part of your asthma routine seems the most burdensome to you? How do you cope with asthma burnout? Let us know in the comments!
How often do you experience a shortage in your asthma medication?