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Indira's Story

I hope I can find the right words to express how grateful I am that I belong to BreatheEasy Eastbourne for all the support and kindness and all the positive and most helpful steps to enable me gain confidence in myself and helping me towards a better lifestyle. Therefore, improving my health, i.e. breathing and physical health, with my walking, energy levels and enjoyment of life again.

I joined BreatheEasy a voluntary group set up by Kim Cole and many, many wonderful volunteers.

I started about 4 years ago with my dear friend Lesley Knight who has COPD and I have
Asthma and get many chest infections yearly. We both suffer from anxiety and depression.
I have a heart problem and diabetes. We both set out one sunny afternoon to the Deerfold
Centre and really enjoyed our first visit. We made friends, practised seated yoga, joined in
with the choir and had tea and biscuits.

We were both a bit anxious but soon settled down. The atmosphere was great and people
with various lung conditions talking about how they were progressing with help from

We attended several meetings and loved the raffles with Bev a wonderful friend who also
works with the helpline and organising events. We can all ring if we need help or advice.
Walks were organised then Covid hit us all with a huge bang! But I was able to use Zoom.
Any of us who didn’t have a computer which I didn’t were allowed to have a BreatheEasy
computer as I didn’t have one. We returned this when covid went away. During those
troubled times I was so unbelievably grateful for the use of the computer.

I Zoomed once a month with Kim Cole and enjoyed a two hour chat with all the members. It
was fantastic. We all loved the sessions especially the Christmas one. We had quizzes,
raffles and very interesting lectures and of course the seated yoga which I found so helpful.
Life was hard for everybody trying to find food but the government sent some of us weekly
boxes of food. The isolation was very draining on our mental health but the second half of
covid the government said we could have a bubble so I was able to be picked up by my son
who lives in Lewes with Debbie his wife and my three grandchildren and his beautiful dog
Sid. I was able to take my much-appreciated computer with me.

After covid had mainly disappeared we could get back to sort of normal life again. Kim
recommended Alex to visit me in my flat for breathing exercises and tips and advice about
looking after myself. Alex is an amazing lady loved by everyone and such a knowledgeable
person. She visited me on 12 th October 2022, I was diagnosed with Asthma and
hyperventilation syndrome and possible COPD.

I reaslised that I had never breathed properly also I was suffering from dizzy spells, wheezing
and had stiff legs whilst walking. We had a discussion about the amount of medication I was
happy with. Alex wrote to my GP on many occasions requesting a referral to the falls clinic
and about asking for various equipment I needed for my breathing and general health. We

later had discussions about air purifiers and hyperventilation syndrome. Breathless
management including abdominal breathing.

Alex had written and sent me daily exercises on 25th October which I did every morning and
always feel so much better and active. I feel healthier and happier Alex came weekly and I
always enjoyed her visits. I was learning so much about my various conditions and learning
to relax and trying a new sleeping pattern. Although I do occasionally have bad nights due
to childhood trauma and anxiety.

Some of my time with Alex was difficult as during her time with me I had four chest
infections but we managed to keep my breathing stable by yoga breathing and many

Alex suggested I might like to join one of the BreatheEasy exercise sessions. I was very
excited about this. I would be meeting like minded people and be able to continue my

So I shall always be grateful to Alex and all the care, advice and understanding she had
shown me. I have so much respect for her and continue with the exercise daily. My life and
health are slowly but surely improving.

15th January I started a Monday class at the Shinewater gym. I met many friendly happy
people and Josh who leads the group with the students. We do an hour of exercise with
weights, steps, treadmill and a bike. I wasn’t used to strenuous exercise but I really enjoyed
it and felt much healthier and fitter and Josh gives us breathing reminders and is so helpful.
Then for an hour we have chats and there are two other students who ask us questions and
pick an interesting subject to discuss. For once I don’t feel my usual shyness and anxiety and
join in. I have learnt so much valuable information about looking after ourselves and coping
strategies. We also enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits.

I found these exercise sessions so beneficial I decided to join the Wednesday class run by
Louis. This class runs on the same lines as the Monday class. I thought it would be much
better to do exercise twice a week. The Wednesday class is in Polegate and I have made a
new friend John who kindly gives me a lift as I do not drive anymore and cannot afford a car.
I have joined the BreatheEasy Eastbourne WhatsApp group which is fun.

I really feel that I have benefitted from all my experiences with BreatheEasy Eastbourne and can never ever be able to thank them for my wonderful, healthier new lease of life.

Indira Pillay.

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