Here are a couple of ways to explain what shortness of breath feels like to those who want to support you but don't understand your symptoms.
Because there is dead air in our lungs the biggest problem with breathing is exhaling not inhaling. When we're experiencing severe shortness of breath our minds kind of shut down to some extent so we forget this. So when you wish to explain suggest that they breathe in but don't exhale and then again...and again. It's actually worse than holding your breath! So tell your support person to remind you to blow out very slowly with pursed lips like blowing out a candle or blowing dandelion seeds.
In this article is another method that Dale has suggested - breathe through a straw.
Then there's the tremendous fatigue. This is caused by carbon dioxide poisoning. Some folks may believe that you are lazy - sick lungs don't show! This was shared Years ago by another member of our Community and I find it apt:
Do the best you can and stay active. Take your time and give yourself permission to be tired also.