Thought Catalog

When I was 19, the summer between freshman and sophomore year of college, I stopped knowing how to breathe.

No, like, I am not kidding. I unlearned it. I went to bed one night feeling “19 year-old fabulous” and woke up as an old man with emphysema, desperate for some air.

I didn’t know what was happening to me. I just couldn’t get a full breath in. I would sit with my friends and behave like a psycho, sucking in air and trying to exhale. I looked like Flounder in The Little Mermaid. I told my parents that there must be a problem with my lungs, which they immediately believed because my father has severe asthma and requires an inhaler 24/7.

So off I went to a pulmonary specialist in Oxnard, California where the doctor made me do all of these tests to see what the strength of my…

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