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Does Afib affect your personality?

A couple of months ago my daughter mentioned that she can always tell if I am in afib because my character changes. I was very taken aback by this and so started monitoring myself during my afib episodes. I can now see she is absolutely right, apart from the physical effects of breathlessness, dizziness and fatigue ... I get very short tempered - lack concentration - and generally have negative attitudes to almost everything. Not at all my usual demeanour or character.

I'm interested to know if this is just me or do any others find themselves like this during af episodes?

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I'm sure there is a lot of truth in this Surreyhunni. In many ways I guess it's not surprising when you consider the significant effect AF can have on people but then add Brexit, getting older, Trump and the daily quota of depressing news, it's almost a surprise we are not all feeling suicidal!!!

The skill is finding ways of overcoming it.....maybe giving your daughter a hug might be a good start.....The good news is I have met many people now with AF and it is good to see how many of them manage to get on and enjoy their lives.......

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Although it’s nearly four years since my last known AF episode, I get very inward looking and have negative thoughts when any arrhythmia starts. Short temper is understandable as we try to focus on being ‘normal’ and, sometimes, failing.

I’m not sure that it is a personality change but more like a personal reaction to the stresses and mental activity which the arrhythmia produces.

Coping strategies of all sorts help me a bit with short bouts of AFlutter and SVT as well as the dreaded ectopics. The most effective one is my mantra ‘this too shall pass’ and I try to force the negativity away with mindfulness exercises.

But, yes, the psychological side of heart rhythm disorders impacts on us and our families to a degree that I don’t think is recognised by many people.

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I was deeply affected by my late husbands Afib, particularly when aged 33years he collapsed and died in front of me from a pulmonary embolism, so when people on here glibly say, “ no one dies of AFib” it’s just semantics, like saying no one dies of an RTA, ......... no it’s just the injuries sustained in it.

We feel gloom and doom, because of possible outcomes of our AFib, and have every right to feel anxious,and it isn’t easy to cope sometimes.

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Sorry to hear your story. Yes afib is very mental draining. Every morning I have to put in great effort only to get myself moving.

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Yes I think that's right, it makes me irritable and I tend to get a bit snappy with my poor husband ,and I know I am doing it ,good job he's very placid and just let's it go.Its just not nice when you feel you can't carry on with your normal everyday life and people without AF just don't understand how awful it can make you feel and it's not their fault but everything is their fault when I feel awful, my poor family are so forgiving.Not normally like that but there you go AF has a lot to answer for.I am quite nice most of the time lol

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this current generation have probobly had it to easy ,therefore,yes, having a thing like AF probobly does make some people a bit miserable..but hey compared to what previous generations had to go through this is nothing, people like getting miserable for a host of reasons now, like I say we've probobly had it to good.

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I think everybody on this earth has a hard journey. I think it can be frustrating to see others having fun or living a good life when we are not. Bur sooner or later their times will come. Plato said "Be kind. Everyone is fighting a hard battle." Though I agree I sometimes feel sorry for myself when my probs are at the forefront and someone else seems to be 'sailing along om smooth seas.' Take care, charlie. irina1975

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I agree everybody would need to fight a hard battle in a life time. But being young (37 yo) to have this condition is very frustrated. Everywhere is saying afib is not life threatening, so I assume myself can live up to 70 yo, so there're 33 years to suffer. I don't know how my family and kids would be affected in these many years because of my condition and the limitation and fear lurking in the backend. Everyone will die eventually, but I'd rather die in an acute disease or event when I'm 70 yo but live the other 69.99 years with peace of mind and joy instead of having this chronic condition and live 33 years of misery.

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''Does Afib affect your personality?''

Hi Surreyhunni :-) I guess it does or may seem to in a couple of ways. Firstly if I am having 'an episode 'I try to conceal it from others so may appear quieter than usual partly due to breathlessness .I also avoid strenuous activity at these times and going out.

Secondly, I have learn to be cautious and avoid stress in case it prompts an episode of AF so I now avoid arguments and may appear more 'laid back' than I once was :-)

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I am certainly the same as you in my efforts to conceal as long as possible. My husband often suspects though !

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Absolutely I do. I don’t always recognise the change immediately but when I start to question my responses the penny drops.

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I become very quiet - sometimes have a feeling of doom and gloom, I just want to sit quietly, do some deep breathing and just wait for it to pass. I also sometimes become irritably if it stops me from going out or doing something. Hubby used to fuss over me at first when I became quiet, explained how I felt so now he leaves me to it lol.

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Spot on !

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Hi Surry, I don't think the a-fib per se changes my mood/ demeaner/etc. But I definitely feel grumpy and short-tempered when I don't feel well. I want to be left alone when I don't feel well. I don't want family/friend advice and I don't want comments that belittle how I feel. ie "Go take a walk, you'll feel better." Thinking about this question just now, I believe my 'mental' changes arise because my physical symptoms remind me of my mortality. Sometimes I find my mind running away with thoughts like I have to clean my apt,etc in case I die tonight. Intellectionally I know this is 'crazy' thinking but I usually have to take a Xanax to calm down down my runaway mind. The thing that causes this thinking at this time has more to do with the pain and sleeplessness that comes at night from my rls. I don't handle pain well. irina1975

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I'm a psychotherapist who has suffered AF attacks. I wonder if your daughter might be recognising when you're about to have an attack. I felt, in myself, that before my attacks I d periencec a kind of overall low mood and sadness that I couldn't understand. I was stressed by Xmas preparations too but the aura of sadness was a different thing.

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Brilliant. Like animals picking up weather changes beforehand (ie barometric changes with hurricanes.) On the positive side, may be a sign of a particularly close bond. A nice thing to have with one's daughter.

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Yes- a sort of aura!

E

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Yes Surreyhunni, I feel as you do, also being on guard, anticipating things to get worse, restless, distracted, all of those, I suppose we feel a lack of control.

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I would say that 'personality' is something that remains pretty stable over a lifetime.

However, my mood can definitely be affected by having an AF episode. Similar to the other responders here, I often hide how I'm feeling and just go quiet. My elderly mother lives with me and she suffers from anxiety, so I always cover it up if I feel p***ed off when the AF starts!

I'm so used to doing this that I surprised myself last week when she went to her sister's... my poor hubby was subjected to a little tantrum... we were in a hotel with an uncomfortable mattress and lack of pillows when the AF began, and I had to sit up all night and unable to sleep.

It highlighted the importance of being physically comfortable in my home during an episode, with my lovely recliner chair and the tv or radio on. And also being able to meditate, which has been the number one factor in helping me to remain positive overall, through this AF 'Journey'.

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Thank you to everyone who has commented on my post. I'm glad I'm not alone and was very interested to hear your comments.

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Yes, you just described me!

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Interesting to read all of your replies, I hope they helped. When I have AF there is no possibility of hiding it. I cannot move, if I do, my bpm shoots up to 250 plus . So I always go to hospital and am monitored until it reverts or am given something if it doesn't.

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My wife would agree with your daughter, she has said to me when I'm in Afib I am a grumpy old man, which I can agree with as when in Afib it is very draining

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You described me. My first af on August 10th last year felt" at odds" with myself and everything, like my thoughts wading through thick custard. I was cross at stupid things, snapping with frustration, knew I was shouting, but couldn't help it. I felt I was loosing me. Once in hospital, and on meds, the consultant was talking to me, I mentioned this and the fact that, in my head, id gone from feeling like everything was "like a tea light candle" then once on meds "a spot light" everything was switched on, per se.

He said this was cardiac dementia.

A very unpleasant time which I don't want to experience any time soon

My family all said they were glad the real me was back 😊

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Yes, seriously affected. Before I had afib, I was a guy full of energy, active, passionate, creative, confident, kind, patient. Since I had afib, I've been very anxious everyday, lost interest in everything, very impatient, hopeless, desperate, lack of energy, confused... even when I'm no in an episode.

Afib is affecting me more mentally than physically. And I guess this may last for the rest of my life. Just can't get back to the old me.

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