How to cope with depression due to awaiting... - AF Association

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How to cope with depression due to awaiting FOURTH ablation?

Geordielass profile image

Since September 2011 I've had three ablations for PAF. Various meds have been tried, but none have helped. I'm on a type of Warfarin but no other meds. My last ablation was Aug 2nd, which lasted 5hrs and left me weak and recovering from a long time anaesthetised. I was in sinus until Nov 7th, when stress triggered a huge episode. I've been in and out (mostly in) of AF and was particularly affected over Christmas. I've become extremely depressed. I was rushed to A&E with SVT and fast AF last week, and am now on amiodarone. I feel like death and can't do anything right. How do I cope?

16 Replies

Oh Geordielass, here's a big hug from here in Yorkshire. It is really difficult to see a good future when you have been through so much and I feel for you. I guess you know deep down that you will get through this awful period and life will get back on an even keel but it is hard to get in touch with that during such a hard time.

I know exactly how you are feeling, been there and often dragged there again from time to time but we do come round and find a good place again.

All I can say is hang in there, we are all here wanting to support you and understanding how bad you feel right now. You will start to feel better (remember nothing goes on forever). You are feeling all the normal things the rest of us have felt so please take strength from that.

Have you thought about calling the AFA 24 hour helpline for support. Just hearing a voice who understands can be really therapeutic.

Thinking of you and sending good vibes your way.

Dee x

So sorry you are suffering and I wonder if you are also so very disappointed that the ablations weren't the cure you had hoped for?

Depression is about feeling hopeless and you do sound in a bad way. How long have you felt this way? Are you sleeping and eating well? Have you talked to your doctor about how depressed you feel? What support have you at home and in your community? Are you able to get out at all? If this is more than a transitory mood please do go and talk to someone as soon as possible. I read some of your earlier posts and you do not 'sound' like the same person. Depression is a serious illness in itself, please don't ignore it.

Dee's suggestion of ringing the AFA is a good one and I would agree that although everything can feel very bleak when we are so down, then the only way is up.

Can you think of something that you enjoy! If so focus on that, remember how it felt and hold that sensation, remember that you can feel like that again, maybe not now or tomorrow but sometime.....

I will hold you in mind and please keep talking to us.

Geordielass profile image
Geordielass in reply to CDreamer

I've been pretty depressed since November. Thing is, my lovely, fantastic husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in July?August. He had surgery in Nov, but it had spread and he's now on hormone therapy. I think the stress of that triggered the episode in Nov, and depression descended in early Dec when I saw my EP and he said he'd "just keep going with the ablations"! I felt like throwing myself on the floor in desperation at the idea of repeated procedures, as none of them have been straightforward or quick.

I was referred after Christmas for CBT to help with the depression but frankly I don't think it's the answer. I've had six sessions and am back at square one.

I had a brief period of just over two weeks in March when the symptoms abated enough for me to be able to walk at normal pace without breathlessness, and to drive myself instead of having to get lifts. The experiance last week, of SVT and yet another emergency admission to CCU has really got me down mentally. I'm concerned that I might be developing persistent AF and will have to be medicated for life.

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to Geordielass

Oh you poor darling, not surprising things have got you down. My husband has been treated for prostrate cancer but thankfully it had not spread and he recovered but I know what it was like living with the stress and going for daily treatment whilst I had more AFib episodes. When one of you is ill, the other can support but when you are both down that is a huge strain.

You know we only have so much resilience for these things and there can be an accumulation, it's as if we are 'full up' and really can't cope with even the small, everyday things and that is when depression can get a hold.

CBT is really good for some things, worry thoughts etc but I have found that it is not effective for life events and illness and I am a practising psychotherapist. You have some very valid concerns and you maybe have questions you need to ask your specialist.

May I suggest you also need some emotional support, have you anyone you can go to for support? I would suggest not family or friends, a nurse or a support worker who is knowledgeable about A Fib.

A&E are good for crisis stuff but they want to treat and street. If you have a supportive and understanding GP maybe they can offer ongoing support, certainly the best place to start.

Do you feel you are trying to cope with depression or is it that what you are facing is a big mountain and you can't find your climbing boots? Could be said that you are entitled to be feeling as low as you do because of the way things are right now - but there will be a path ahead that can take you upwards. All the best. We too have had a winter infested by warfarin and zoladex.

May I suggest mindfull meditation - there are courses available plus you can do it yourself with Dr Mark Williams book plus CD. This can also help with your SVT and AF. It has helped me a lot - I had AF following a panic attack and also had depression/ insomnia. Kind regards

Go back to ER and tell them exactly what you said here , or tell someone close to you or just call Helpline as mentioned above

Amiodorone will work good on you soon , don't stay alone and remember it is just a time and will pass , you will not even remember this

I had been through two open heart surgeries with a heart failure , then I had three cardio versions and two ablations and I'm doing fine with few bad low hours

I was exactly in the same situation 13 years back and my sister helped me to go to a doctor to get depression medication and it helped a lot

You can manage it I'm sure of that , just don't stay alone and let your doctor to know about your suffering he may prescribe a drug to help you pass this hard time

Hope to hear from you soon


Hi Geordielass, sorry to hear you're so low, been there and I think a lot of us know how you feel. I just had a year of constant arrhythmia and couldn't get rid of it and got very low at times. If ablations haven't worked, have they tried all the drugs available, including maybe some of the less common ones? I had given up on everything they offered, none of them worked and some even made things worse. I've had to go through quite a few to get the one that works for me (Disopyramide).

Best wishes


Geordielass profile image
Geordielass in reply to

When first diagnosed in Feb 2010 I had various drugs, over the next year or so. By March 2011 my cardiologist referred me for ablation. Last year an episode of pneumonia put me in hospital for five days, and triggered severe AF. The (new) cardiologist put me on dronedarone, but it didn't work for me. I've also had flecainide in the past, plus various betablockers, rate and rhythm controllers, etc. Nothing helped. As I also have fairly severe hypertension also, not all drugs are suitable for me. My EP is keen to continue on the ablation route. I wish there was someone else who could discuss the options with me, as I feel my EP is focussed solely on his specialism (he's a leader in the field, but I don't want to name him)

Hi Geordielass. Life has got you down. Depression is not a good place to be...but it isn't a permanent condition. You can get through it but not on your own. You need to talk through it - talk, cry, swear - anything - to find your way through but with someone else who understands. Talk to your GP and ask for counselling. There is sunshine behind those heavy old clouds and you CAN find it.


Geordielass profile image
Geordielass in reply to Dadog

I asked for referral before Christmas and started CBT a couple of months ago. I've had five sessions and don't think it's really helping, as the only time I felt better mentally was when I was feeling well physically. I am going to be referred for a four-week session in a group for 'long term conditions' but mainly these therapies are training in self-help. When I'm feeling really bad I'm not motivated to help myself.....

I have been where you are now, If honest I don't think enough GP, medical people etc look at how it effects us psychologically, it sure does, I often used to lie in bed and wonder if I had a future. I had Af for 4 yrs was very symptomatic had 4 cardio versions, chemical drips etc, 2 Ablations, I was given the choice of another ablation or a Pacemaker, I had started collapsing, my trigger was stress, I opted for Pacemaker, I was told this would not stop the Af but would stop me collapsing. I have had my PM 9 months now and to date no Af since. I found when I used to feel anxious and stressed I used Kalms which really helped me. I just want to say there is a light at the end of the tunnel just takes a bloody long time to go through it. I don't honestly think I would have coped but for Bob and this site being able to share my fears. Xx a big hugxx Beth

My EP says I'm not suitable for a pacemaker, as I'm only 68 and fairly active. Did you consult re using self meds like Kalms? I'm very wary of taking anything that I haven't checked first, as I take so many prescription drugs, including strong painkillers.

I am 67, had pacemaker when 66, I did not ask my GP about the Kalmsx

Thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to reply to me. It's good to know there's a community of folk out there who are happy to help others even when they have their own problems. You are all wonderful. x

Hi Geordielass - I'm sorry you are feeling so low, but understand totally. Your journey with AF sounds very much like mine. I had my last ablation in June of last year and have had several spells in hospital since. I had 6 weeks recently where my resting heart rate was constantly around 120bpm, so understand your exhaustion. Having a cardioversion three weeks ago put me back into sinus rhythm, but I remember how low I felt in those 6 weeks before wondering whether life was always going to be as it was and if I'd ever have energy again. Now I'm back to feeling totally normal again, so don't despair there is light at the end of the tunnel. I take amiodarone too and I must say once I started taking it I felt as though I'd been given my life back - had never felt so well in my life. So I would say give this medication time to work and then see how you feel.

Big hug and wishing you well.


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