Illustration 3: Isolation
COPD can make you feel vulnerable, or even isolated at times.
But the people around you can be a big help.
Discussing COPD with friends, family and colleagues was something people felt reluctant to do, either downplaying or hiding the condition. Unlike asthma, COPD was something many hadn’t heard of before, which made it more difficult to explain: “People have heard of asthma but not COPD”.
There was a sense of anxiety about going out: “It’s the potential of being vulnerable in public”. Visible symptoms such as coughing and breathlessness, along with the need to use medication in front of others, made people feel self-conscious. People told us the support and understanding of others could be invaluable in helping with these feelings.