Deep Breaths

Something I have kept close to the vest is that for the past four years, I’ve been unable to take a deep breath. I don’t have a great memory, but I remember the day that my chest began collapsing on me. At first, I thought it was due to my asthma, but quickly realized it was something different. It felt like someone was grabbing my lungs from the inside and not allowing them to get bigger than 70% capacity. Was it a pulmonary embolism? Was it even my lungs or something else?

I went to pulmonologists and cardiologists who said everything was fine. While that gave me peace of mind at first, I was afraid given that I still couldn’t take a full breath and had no idea what the cause was. No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to get the same full, deep breath feeling I once did. It was like someone was cutting off the air.

This went on for four years. Some days better. Some days worse. But always feeling short of breath.

Some things helped. Most things didn’t. But no matter what I was being strangled.

Then starting about a month ago, I was able to breathe fully. For the first time in four years. I don’t know exactly what it was, but the full breath came the same way the half breathes did. Suddenly.

The end of my three hour daily commute certainly helped reduce overall stress. My amazing daughter certainly helped increase happiness.

But the habit that seems to have allowed me to finally breathe is … taking a multivitamin.

Naturally, I have no science to back this up, but it’s the only thing I’ve done differently in the last few months and that I hadn’t tried in the last four years. I wish I had taken a blood test for vitamin deficiences to be certain. I wish I had done a control as I implemented a couple other habits at the same time: intermittent fasting and no gluten (the chunks in the occasional ice cream snack notwithstanding).

The best health habits are the simplest ones. Sleep well. Eat well. Make sure you are getting your vitamins. And now I can take a deep breath.

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