Let's get this straight. I do NOT have shortness of breath. I can breathe, sustain life, I'm all pink, I have no complaints about that.
What I HAVE is a constant need to yawn without the capacity to yawn successfully. I don't know what this is called. Yawnus Interruptus? It happened ten years ago right before I took that yoga class, and the class reminded me to breathe in my belly, not my lungs.
I put all my belly into my recent attempts to yawn and it is still not enough. Here's the only way I can reliably catch a satisfying breath: I exhale everything out of my lungs, then I exhale some more, then I push down on my belly, arch my back, and then I can yawn.
I read something a few days ago about "overbreathing." Evidently a person having a panic attack feels like she can't catch her breath, because a little hyperventilation sets off some chain of events and the carbon dioxide / oxygen triggers go wonky, and it all goes south. In reality she can breathe just fine. The cure is to breathe normally, stop gasping for air, and eventually it all straightens out.
Of course, I believe this a real condition because it has just the right dismissive tone that you expect from science and reason. I think it's my condition because I like the idea that what evidences itself in others as "panic" looks like "chronic yawning" when I do it. Plus, it's supposedly triggered by holding your breath, which I did plenty of during the mammogram the day before it all started. (Mammogram is clean, btw.Go, boobz.)
Sadly, I've been trying to breathe normally for a week and a half and I still need to yawn. I stifle yawns every half hour, because that's the cure for overbreathing: ignore your body and breathe like a normal person. What I wouldn't give for a really good yawn.
Since yawning is suggestive, you just yawned while reading this. Enjoy! Pull in enough air to tip you over the edge for me, since I cannot.