I have been recording my heart rate as I have been walking to class. It usually takes me about ten minutes to get from my house to class, and for that time my heart rate is around 130 beats per minute. Most everyone has experienced their heart rate going that high, but few have had that high heart rate while they are walking.
You feel the tightness of being out of breath, like you can’t get all of the air out of your lungs. It’s as though you are running, but not getting anywhere. The first time it really hits you, it can be scary. I am used to the feeling of breathlessness, the racing pulse, the dizziness.
What I try to do is just keep walking. As long as I am moving forward, and my legs are working I know that I won’t pass out. Once I get into the building my class is in, I take a seat. I give myself a few minutes for my heart to stop freaking out.
You will learn where all of the close seats are in the building your classes are in. One of my classes has chairs on each landing of the stairs, which is wonderful and a great idea.
For me, the longer I am walking the harder it gets to breath. It isn’t so much a tightness in my chest, but an inability to get air in and out of my lungs, like they have shrunk. I try and take deeper breaths and focus more on my breathing.
There have been a couple times where I have felt very dizzy and light headed when I pushed myself to walk too far. I simply sat down where I was walking, right in the middle of a bunch of students. I figured that was the better option, I’d rather not fall or pass out. So, I sat until I felt I could stand and then continued on my way, no harm done.
That seems to be the key to POTS, it will make you feel like crap, but there is no harm being done to your body. We aren’t dying, so why would anyone care?
Before I had POTS I didn’t think twice about how a persons quality of life can affect them. Now I think about it every day.