5 Healing Breaths

I have trouble breathing. I know I’ve posted about that in the past. I have trouble breathing. I don’t breathe out all the way and I have trouble breathing deeply. I attribute that to the abuses on me by my biological mother.

I often refer to her as my biological mother. Even though I didn’t have a surrogate type mother or an adoptive mother, I often refer to her as my biological mother, because she was never a mother to me. The truth, no matter how painful, when faced, helps me to heal.

So my biological mother made it hard for me to breathe. When I was little she frequently interfered with my ability to breathe, usually in a rage, usually when I was not compliant to her sexual abuses. For years I didn’t know why I had so many issues. Just focusing on breathing exercises or meditation could bring on a panic attack. I didn’t know why, but I learned soon in the beginning of my healing that I couldn’t do anything breathing without being triggered badly.

When I am upset it is hard to calm myself down, because I can’t use deep breathing. I was told to do that the first time I tried DBT. The only good I got out of that first time was the therapist screamed at me over the phone that I should hold a rock, three weeks after I told her I couldn’t do the deep breathing. I had lots of issues with that therapist, and tried to tolerate her, because I was in the DBT program, but she screamed at me and that is something I will not tolerate from a therapist. I should hold a rock, I find them very comforting, but I usually don’t.

One of the only good things I got out of my second time with DBT (see comments) was that I should practice the skills when I am not upset. I was told that was the way I should have been doing it the first time I took DBT.  

Still, even when not upset, focusing on breathing; making deep breaths and holding my breath in,  can still bring on a panic attack. I discovered recently that when I have a bottle of essential oils open I can breathe deep and hold the breath several times. I tried that a for a few days.

Now I’ve decided to add it as a healing daily skill, something I do when I want to remind myself about doing some healing self-care. Breathing in the smell of the essential oils seems to help me focus on something other than the breathing and holding my breath a few counts feels different than just breathing. This is one method of using essential oils, breathing it in, and I think it is a good beginner skill for me to work on in breathing and thankful that I have found something that doesn’t trigger or panic me.

6 thoughts on “5 Healing Breaths

  1. Which essential oil helps you with the breathing?

    My mother did something similar and I always thought I was defective because I had so much trouble breathing during meditation, gym class, etc..



    • Hi Lisa,

      I am so sorry that you were abused like that. I know it has physically effected me and have I have found that very few methods recommended were at all helpful.

      I have several different kinds and it doesn’t matter to me, just so the smell is not disliked by me. Mostly I have been using lavendar, peppermint, and frankincense lately. I have wanted to try lemon, because I have some of that, but I don’t remember to try it at the beginning of my day and only remember late, and citrus oils tend to wake people up and keep them awake for hours and hours. It sure does that to me.

      I also have some combination oils by Young Living that I have been trying. My favorite is called Valor and is formulated for survivors of trauma; I don’t know what it is about this one, but it actually makes me feel braver when I am upset, in a panic, or in need of calming down. They have several other combination ones, but Valor is my current favorite. I haven’t tried them all yet, as they cost a bit of money.

      I get very upset when I am exercising and breathing deeply as a result of the abuses. It is one of the reasons that I have trouble exercising to the point of breathing hard. I also don’t like the feeling of shaking when exercising, especially when doing abdomenal exercises. Both can be triggering.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.



      • The lemon and sweet orange are nice during the day and I add drops to the mop water, too. I like sewing pillows with lavender and rice in them & then I heat it in the microwave and rest my head on it. Lately vanilla and sandalwood are my favorites.

        I’ll check out Young Living, too. For years I’ve been buying from gothrosary.com. She has some cool combos, too.

        I started Tai Chi two years ago because of arthritis, but it’s so relaxing and it never triggers me. I just go with the flow.

        I hope you have a good week!



      • Hi Lisa,

        Thanks. I will look at gothrosary.com as well. One of the ingredients in Valor is frankincense and I use that alone as well. I also blend my own essential oil recipes for health issues sometimes, from a book I got used called The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. The book that the same aromatherapist/author wrote on emotions is also good; The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood, and Emotion.

        I like making things for healing as well, especially if I can make it cheaply or with items I already have. Recently I posted a crafts for comfort post and the rice bags are included.

        Good and healing thoughts to you.



  2. Hi Kate,
    I have difficulty with some kinds of exercise too (end up crying, fearful), and anything restricting my breathing, mostly because of being strangled. I wish there were survivor exercise classes where I could try the exercises but not be embarrassed if I needed to cry it out or calm a flashback suddenly. Processing the memories of the incidents that go with it seems to help, but gradually building up my fitness so I don’t pant as much helped a lot more. A jogger I aint.

    The aromatherapy sounds like a good strategy. I’ll have to try that. I was thinking, you could also use fresh or dried herbs as a cheaper substitute for the essential oils. I use thyme sprigs in boiling water for a stuffed nose. It’s got a nice scent and it seems to help, but I also have a lavender plant, and the leaves smell similar to the flowers.

    I also have asthma, and find that breathing out in a ‘pressured’ way, such as saying SSSSS helps me breathe out deeper than I could have otherwise. I read that the ‘backdraft’ from the increased air pressure helps keep the smaller airways open so they can empty fully and don’t collapse like they usually do with asthma.

    Good and healing thoughts to you,


    • Hi SDW,

      I think those type of classes would be great and very healing. I would like to eventually be able to create some sets of cds that at least allow survivors to do this in their own healing space at home.

      Lots of essential oils are expensive; I only rarely buy them. I found a company that sometimes sells at health food stores and vitamin stores, called Now Foods. Here is their store finder link. Sometimes I can’t find some oils sold locally and I have bought oils online at amazon, but checked out the sellers to find the best price. I think that the quality of Now essential oils is not the quality that you get from Young Living, but they cost a lot more money as well.

      For the last five years or so I have been concerned that I am close to developing asthma. Losing weight is something I work on because I have found some relief in that area when I lose weight. My mother too used to strangle me, as well as smother, drown, and press on my body so I couldn’t breathe. I remember you posting about strangling by your father on your blog. I’m so sorry you went through that. I know how traumatic that is and how the aftereffects from it go on and on. Good and healing thoughts to you.



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