I had to quit my job
After leaving school, I began an apprenticeship in the chemical industry. Unfortunately, I was exposed to substances that irritated my lungs so much I had to quit. Looking back now, I suppose we really should have seen that coming. So I changed career paths and spent several years working in the service sector until my asthma became so bad that I started having attacks without any warning. I'm now considered to be disabled and can no longer work. It’s pretty tough for me to deal with. I always used to enjoy working. It’s especially frustrating on days when I’m feeling good and think I ought to be working. But towards the end of my professional life I was having about three attacks a week, sometimes at work. I had no choice but to leave.
In the early days, when I was a child, I had allergic asthma. That changed over time. Nowadays I have mixed asthma. Most of my attacks aren’t caused by a specific trigger. One thing I know is that cigarette smoke can trigger an attack, and so can some perfumes and physical exertion. I also react strongly to sudden changes in the weather, such as fog. But I often simply don’t know what has caused it.
I get asthma attacks during the daytime and at night. It usually starts off as a tight feeling in my chest, then pretty soon after I start to wheeze and my lungs make a sort of bubbling sound. It becomes difficult to breathe out. I always compare it to trying to breathe out through a very thin straw. That might help people to imagine what it feels like.