As a child who suffered from asthma, I wasn't aware of my physical limitations – I relied on my mother to tell me not to run, to sit still, and to take my meds.
But even as a young child, I understood the power of this disease when I saw the panic in my parents' eyes every time I had an attack. Asthma IS scary – for adults, for children, and for people watching loved ones in the throes of an attack.
My first asthma attack occurred when I was 5 years old. Coincidentally, it occurred on the first day my parents went out together as a couple – without kids – since before I was born. Does anyone detect abandonment issues?
When I read about the link between emotions and asthma, I thought about that first time. I lived with my parents my whole life – for five whole years, and now both of them were gone for the first time – ever. The experience may have been frightening to me, even though my parents left my sisters and me in the care of someone we all trusted and adored, our next door neighbor.
I remember our neighbor placing me in my parents' bed. I was never allowed in my mom's and dad's bed, so that alone elevated whatever it was I had to a mysterious level that created a sense of awe. I remember the doctor coming to our home (yes, doctors actually made home visits back then), and telling my parents I had "asthma." I saw the concerned and curious looks on my parents' faces, and I realized that whatever asthma was, it certainly had a powerful effect just by mere mention of the word. I remember the hospital stay when I was put into a room with four adult women. Curiously, I felt no abandonment issues when I left the home; I actually liked the attention of the hospital staff and the women in my room, but I never liked people leaving me.
Not until I got older did I realize how frightening not being able to breathe was. Not until I was older did I fear dying of this disease. As a child, asthma was a disease I struggled through. As an adult, asthma became a disease I feared.
Since my first asthma attack, I've had numerous asthma attacks, many of which landed me in the hospital. After living an entire lifetime with asthma as my constant companion, I've learned a lot about this disease, and I've written several articles about asthma. If you have children who suffer from asthma, I invite you to read the following articles to help you cope with your asthmatic child:
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