Breathe In, Breathe Out

The abdominal migraines have a peculiar trigger which I realized about two weeks ago. After yesterday’s obvious tightening of the upper abdomen, I understand it better and now I find myself capable of writing this down.

What triggers my abdominal migraine?

Here’s the cause: when I need to become ultra-alert, increase my focus to the maximum degree for important tasks like internet banking, making e-invoices for my father, working with numbers, driving a car or a bicycle, taking an aptitude test, or any test where speed is the absolute key to competing with other participants. Whenever such a situation arises where my focus has to be a 10 on a scale of 10, my breathing pauses and becomes shallow and the whole abdomen region around my lower rib cage gets tensed up and starts aching. Sometimes, it feels like it would blow up into God knows what.

Yesterday evening, I did some bodyweight exercises like pushups, squats, and lunges. After which I started making e-invoices for my father. Brain fog intensified at that moment such that I had trouble reading the inputs provided by him for making the e-invoices. Plus, I kept having phases of blankness where I couldn’t do anything as my mind turned blank, devoid of anything, making me incapable of even a simple and monotonous task such as creating e-invoices.

It took triple the time for this task than it would have taken with brain fog at a very low level. Within a few minutes, I gasped for air and my abdomen hurt. By the time I was done with the task in an hour, I felt a severe ache in my upper abdomen.

Still suffering 15 hours later

What happened to me? The brain fog made sure that I had to increase my focus level to more than what I could handle. Like stretching a string of a guitar so much that it breaks when you play it. Hence, my breathing was affected and I suffered and the aftermath was such that I am suffering even now. It’s been fifteen hours past that event. Such is the impact! Can you believe it? I can’t. I am unable to do anything properly since yesterday evening as this is a major distraction. Even now, every few seconds, I focus on my breathing as it stops and becomes shallow. Usually, this happens all the time but not at this intensity. I am focusing a lot on my breathing for the past fifteen hours in order to turn it from shallow to deep.

When I am relaxed (meaning I am not going nuts trying to focus on something), I focus on deep breathing from time to time whenever I feel short of breath. Does it mean that if I am alert, I won’t be able to focus on deep breathing from time to time and it will give me abdominal nightmares? Of course, it will. It always has. Just that now I am able to explain it using words.

Difficulty breathing is an abdominal migraine trigger

Does it mean that I am someone whose breath is shallow by default? Yes, courtesy of brain fog. Now, it’s coming to me — all the experiences of deliberately focusing on deep breathing are hitting me. It has been going on for three decades. I remember how I used to complain of difficulty in breathing sometimes such that I would force myself to breathe heavily. This involuntary act is something I need to do voluntarily or else suffering is inevitable as I have experienced time and time again. Just that I realise this now.

My goodness! Imagine what a slight shift in focus from my breathing to some other activity does to my abdomen. I still can’t believe this is the cause of my abdomen hurting so much. Now, you tell me if I should be fine with this suffering and indulge in activities which require tremendous focus.

Please note: I wrote this a year ago during the summer of 2022.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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