Most of the time my asthma is well controlled. Most of the time it doesn’t impact my day to day life that much. Which is really the way it should be- it’s what all doctors aim for. But it wasn’t always that way (especially at the beginning) and sometimes to this day my asthma sneaks up on me and goes into attack mode. It usually happens after I’ve been exposed repeatedly to something that I know is a trigger like cigarette smoke or dander. In these situations I know I’ve been exposed and I wait nervously for my lungs to decide if they are in a good mood. While it often passes in a few hours or a day, if I’ve been exposed I know that it’s fairly likely it will trigger a flare up. I understand how it happened and I can deal with it. I’m used to it. But, sometimes my asthma is like a ninja. It comes out of nowhere and I end up winded, blindsided by an attack I didn’t see coming. This is the asthma I can’t stand.
I came across this article the other day and it made me laugh. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told that my asthma is in my head. Some people think that asthma is like anxiety (the symptoms feel real but do not pose any significant risk), some people think I’m just hyperventilating, and some people seem to think that I can actually control my asthma with my emotions. I’m not sure where these ideas come from although I’m sure it’s some combination of wishful thinking, what’s in their best interest, and ignorance.
The entertainment business certainly doesn’t help. Not that long ago I had a conversation with some well meaning woman who genuinely thought I could control my asthma by staying calm because she had seen it on a TV show. Asthma isn’t portrayed often in movies and TV, but when it is, it’s usually not accurate. Take a look at this great list on onebadlung.com.
I’ve also been told this line by many smokers, but I believe that this is their way of making themselves feel better for smoking around me. They aren’t endangering my life if I can turn it on and off right?