You are definitely not alone, and the experience you describe is indicative of severe GERD. It sounds like you're getting acid in your throat, mouth, and probably sinuses. Your lungs will also be affected negatively, as they're very sensitive to stomach acid.
The breathing issue you're describing reminds me of something my asthma doctor talked to me about
--Vocal Chord Dysfunction.
Here's a link:my.clevelandclinic.org/head_neck/patients/voice_center/vocal_cord_dysfunction.aspx
If you're getting a lot of acid bathing your vocal chords at night, you can wake up choking and feel as if you're not able to catch your breath.
If this sounds like what you're experiencing, you can help yourself by practicing the following breathing exercises:
_______________________________________________________________Relaxed Throat Breathing Exercises
1. Sip water before and after doing these exercises.
A. Shoulders Down
This is the cue for you to relax
B. Hand on abdomen
This helps you focus on easy abdominal breath support--the best and most relaxed way to breathe.
C. Gentle, quick "sip" of air IN (sip, sip, sip)
Breathe through your mouth
1 second inhale each sip
D. Gentle blow OUT (blow, blow, blow)
Through slightly tight lips
2-3 seconds for each blow out
3. Practice 5 reps, 20 times per day when you are NOT having symptoms.
4. Make it automatic, and use it at the first sense of throat tightness to prevent or suppress the VDC. You may start with the inhale or the exhale.
5. Use it to "pre-treat" yourself before known triggers for VCD.
6. This technique can also be a "stress buster" tool to use in other situations.
If you can figure out a way to elevate the head of your bed, it will help a lot. Get some blocks of wood or bricks, or bed risers, and put them under the legs at the head of the bed. if you can elevate yourself in that way it can the allow gravity to help keep that acid in your stomach.
Also, watch out for GERD triggers in your diet. Here is some information:www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/features/heartburn-spot-your-personal-triggers
I'm so sorry to hear you're struggling so.
It's good you're going to see a doctor about