“Relax. Hinga ka lang,”
I don’t know why the nurse was telling me to breathe, when I was already breathing too fast. It didn’t help that the room was so stuffy; the people that brought me to the clinic filled the small space of the school clinic. Claustrophobia ate at me and I felt like I was about to die because I couldn’t slow down my breath. My ankle was hurting so bad. Panic rose in me, and I felt the tears start to trickle down my cheeks.

Forgetting How To Breathe

The first time I hyperventilated was after I overlooked three steps on the stairs and twisted my ankle. I panicked because I thought I had fractured it. I remember my vision getting hazy, and my breathing starting to get ragged. I started to lose all feeling in my face, fingers and toes, and my fingers were curling up by themselves. All of these things happened because I forgot how to breathe normally, slow but not too slow, steady and sure.

Sometimes in our lives, we feel restless, worried and overly anxious. When we suffer failures, disappointment, grief, jealousy and bitterness we can feel such frustrations. It can be difficult to live up to what the world expects us too look like, what friends and family expect us to do, and what we expect of ourselves. A mix of all three can be overwhelming, and cause us to mentally and spiritually forget how to breathe.

Remembering How To Breathe

Breathing is wonderful. When my breaths finally slowed down, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest and my lungs couldn’t be thankful enough. The tears stopped, the room suddenly felt so much more spacious and my fingers uncurled. My nurse told me that I had just sprained my ankle, and there was nothing to worry about.

Most of the time, our feelings of worry can be just like that. It is our cluttered and unclear mind that causes us to overthink, causing panic and anxiety. It can also happen when we have too much going on in our lives; problems become too heavy to bear, tasks overlap with each other. However, we can breathe. Slow but not too slow, steady and sure.

We can remember how to breathe by willingly sharing our burdens with the Lord. He loves and cares for us in unimaginable ways. He has said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) He has promised, “I will not leave you comfortless…I will come to you.” (John 14:18)