The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.
EPISODE SIXTY ONE: Give Me Second…I Have To Breathe…
Breathing comes naturally. If it didn’t, our life expectancy would be really low. If it’s taken from us for just a few seconds, it feels like dying.
I loved being in my den when I was a kid. It was warm in the Winter and sub-arctic in the Summer. You could come in from playing outside in the hot Summer humidity, lie down on the floor with your shirt off and nearly get frostbite. I loved it.
One night, the whole family was in the den. I’m not sure why since my mom and dad tended to spend more time upstairs in the living room. But there we all were. Looking back, I think that was a good thing.
I was being a young boy, trying to impress. I was standing on this little red stool we had. I liked doing that, it made me feel taller. At that time, I was a bit of a pip-squeak.
So, I’m standing on this stool when it goes out from underneath me. I land straight on my back. I’m lucky I didn’t hit my head on the tiled concrete floor.
But most of my breath got knocked out of me. I mean, 95 percent left my body and into the air above me.
I couldn’t breathe. I tried to take a breath and nothing. For those that have never experienced that, it feels like somebody holding you mouth and nose shut and standing on your chest at the same time.
I was scared. I mean really scared.
My dad pulled me off the floor and stood me up. Still no breath.
Then he had me lie down on the couch with my head in my moms lap. I could tell they were just as bit as scared as me.
Then slowly, ever so slowly, I started to get my breath back. After a few moments of panic, I was breathing normally again. Well, I say normally but I was taking in huge gulps of air like a thirsty man drinking water from an oasis in the desert. I got light-headed from breathing so hard.
I got up and kicked the stool as if it was its fault that it happened.
Of course, I stubbed my toe in the process but I was mad. And embarrassed.
But I could breathe. I was scared to go to sleep that night because I thought it might stop again while I was sleeping. I stayed up reading a comic book under the covers until I just fell asleep.
It’s been about 38 years since that happened and it feels like it happened yesterday.
You never forget when those things happen, things that feel like it’s life threatening.
Everyday we breathe. In and out, without thinking about it. As our hearts beat, our eyes blink, our blood pumps…we breathe.
Sometimes we forget to really breathe. When we are stressed or we’re in pain, we forget to breathe.
You’ve done it. When you become really stressed out or you feel a sudden jolt of pain, you take in a deep breath. And then another. And then another. And depending on the seriousness of the trauma, we feel a bit better.
I’m not sure if you’re like me but when those things happen, I tend to breathe more shallow. As if I’m trying to stay quiet and the breathing will be heard and make me feel worse.
I have to remind myself to breathe in deep through my nose and out through my mouth. And slowly. I have to make myself fill up my lungs, hold it for a quick second and then let it out of my mouth.
It’s obvious why this works to help calm down and help the pain diminish. It all has to do with your hypothalamus and neurohormones. If you want a clinical answer, look it up. But trust me, it’s all there.
Just think about a lamaze class. Other than an epidural (or drugs), deep breathing helps the mom deal with the pain. In the class they teach you all kinds of breathing techniques for when the pain comes. And as silly as it might sound, I bet they would help when it comes to any other pain. I bet men could learn something from it.
And running. Running becomes a lot easier when you learn to control your breathing. You know you are on your way to becoming a runner when going up a hill doesn’t take your breath all the way when you reach the top.
How about when you go outside after being stuck inside for a long time? When I leave work and head toward my car (not looking back, mind you), I always take a deep breath. In through the nose and out the mouth. Makes me feel like the pain is over…for the day.
I bet you smiled, if not, laughed at that. You know that feeling.
To breathe in air from the outside is like breathing in the world around us. To breathe in deep is to feel life. Ever notice you breathe in deep to sigh when you are comfortable and content? Why do you do that? Maybe it’s because sighing brings relief.
I think we are all seeking that. Relief.
And deep breathing helps bring that about even when stressed or in pain.
It helps bring that welcomed relief.
We are all going to face times when we get the breath knocked out of us. Sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally. Either way can be helped by doing the same thing.
Even if it’s stress.
Even if it’s pain.
Even if it’s giving birth.
Even if it’s running.
Even if it’s contentment.
Just remember to breathe…
March 17th, 2017
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.