I know I sound bitter , but I always sound bitter when I tell people about my asthma . I came down with a severe atypical pneumonia years ago . My friends wanted me to go to the hospital , but I refused . Instead , when my trachea’s diameter felt like it decreased by half , I drank tons of coffee , since caffeine is a natural bronchodilator . The infection gradually resolved , but in the aftermath I developed asthma . Now , every time I run or get upset , it feels like my lungs are collapsing . Sometimes I can barely breathe . A shrink told me it was all anxiety – related , but my internal medicine doctor diagnosed me with asthma and prescribed me both a rescue inhaler and steroid inhaler . My running’s never been the same , but even worse than that is crying , which quickly triggers my asthma . Getting upset somehow makes my bronchioles fill up with inflammatory crud and collapse . It doesn’t happen every time I cry , but when it does , it’s awful . So awful , I try not to cry over anything . Before this hit me , I didn’t even know it was possible to be allergic to tears .
–Manic Kingdom: A True Story of Breakdown and Breakthrough by Dr. Erin Stair