Shannon Stacey

Horizontal panic

If there’s something weird out there that will make a person think that’s a thing?, somebody in my family will have or have had it. That’s just how we roll. Lately, I’ve seen a resurgence in my least favorite quirk: a fear of lying down.

That’s a thing? I know, right? It feels a little like an attack of claustrophobia, with the tight chest and inability to breathe. As soon as I sit up, I’m fine. Until I lay down again. It’s a vicious circle. Sometimes moving to the couch, with my head up on the arm is enough. Sometimes I have to sleep sitting up straight. Air helps. The ceiling fan on low, just moving the air around, will help, but my husband has this thing about ceiling fans in the winter and wanting to be warm. In the camper, if I crack the window just enough so I can feel the cool air and hear the night sounds, I can usually sleep.

I know it happened for the first time in 2000 because I was pregnant with the Short Kid. Assuming it might be connected to the baby pushing against something, I asked my nurse-midwife about it. She pretty much called me a crazy person and I felt stupid and shamed, so I just live with it now.

Unfortunately, if I get out of bed, Taz gets all ZOMG, it’s time to get up and play now!, so I spent a good chunk of last night trying to sleep sitting up in bed, leaned against the wall. It tends to come and go, so I’m really hoping it’s time for it to go now. Because a fear of lying down? Really?

In the meantime, I’ll be wandering around the internet, groggy and stiff-necked, like a coffee-zombie shuffling along the caffeine trail.

8 comments to “Horizontal panic”

  1. Sharon
      · February 19th, 2013 at 9:46 am · Link

    I may never have heard of this before, but I don’t think you’re at all crazy. I’m sorry you’re going through this. If I find out anything that might help you, I’ll send it to you immediately.

    *passes Shan a gallon of coffee*

  2. Charlene Teglia
      · February 19th, 2013 at 10:36 am · Link

    Shan, do you have athsma? Because that sounds like what you’re describing. I often have to sit up to breathe and it was much worse while I was pregnant and had less rooms for my already-constricted lungs to expand. And yes, open windows help, especially if an athsma trigger is something in the room. Like, um, pet hair.

  3. azteclady
      · February 19th, 2013 at 4:05 pm · Link

    I hope you find the underlying reason–asthma or another breathing issue perhaps?–soonest.

  4. Tracy S
      · February 19th, 2013 at 7:17 pm · Link

    Shame on the midwife for doing that to you! That really irritates me!

    I’ve never heard of it, but that doesn’t make you crazy!

    As a card carrying member of the OCD club, I know how it feels to have people shame you over your fears :( it’ no fun!

    I hope it gets better soon–if not, think of finding someone to talk to about it–a doctor you trust not to be an idiot like the midwife!

  5. Becky
      · February 19th, 2013 at 10:38 pm · Link

    Sorry but I’m not much help. I’ve never had that problem but it doesn’t make you crazy at all. Maybe it’s asthma like Charleen said, it sounds similar. I hope you find a doctor that will actually listen to you and help out. Or maybe another reader will have your answer. Hope you sleep tonight.

  6. Lynda the Guppy
      · February 20th, 2013 at 1:03 am · Link

    Like Charlene, I also have asthma, and while laying flat doesn’t constrict my breathing, I get a panicky, trapped feeling. I’ve found if I use a couple pillows and sleep slightly propped up, I can sleep more comfortably. It’s a recent thing for me, too. I found after The Year of Pneumonia I need to sleep this way.

    And I hoped you kicked the midwife on her way out the door.

  7. Shannon
      · February 20th, 2013 at 8:01 am · Link

    I don’t have asthma, but I do have high blood pressure and Jaci suggested to me yesterday it might be connected. That really makes sense to me. If I were to track it, I’d probably find some correlation to stress.

    I might look into the pillow situation—on Twitter, a pregnancy pillow was suggested—because right now I end up shoving my arm under my pillow to get my head up and, over time it takes a toll on my left shoulder.

    I’m glad y’all don’t think I’m crazy. :D

  8. Jaci Burton
      · February 20th, 2013 at 1:33 pm · Link

    I never think you’re crazy. And I sleep surrounded by a fort of pillows, including one of those long body pillows that my husband is convinced is separating the two of us. *eye roll*.

    But sleeping flat freaks me out. I have to be propped up or it just doesn’t feel right. It’s probably why I do my best sleeping on the reclining sofa.

    But do ask your doctor about it. And if he’s a good doctor, he won’t insult your worries like the midwife did, who was obviously a moron.

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