Bad feelings after an AF episode. - AF Association

AF Association
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Bad feelings after an AF episode.


My paroxysmal AF doesn’t cause too many problems but Ifind that after an episode which may last only a few hours I have a couple of days where, apart from feeling tired, I am overwhelmed by a sense of doom, the feeling that bad things will happen.

Does anyone else have this and how do you cope with it?


17 Replies

Hi Mamamarilyn,

Please mention your feeling to your GP. It seems you could benefit from meeting people who are in the same boat. Perhaps there is, or you may start, a support group.

Breathe easy, you are not alone, and there are answers. In the meantime, best wishes.


Yes, I get same feelings. Although my paf is only 1-2 times a year, I think it causes almost a ptsd type reaction. I know intellectually that it probably isnt going to kill me but while in the middle of it, I have a feeling of impending doom that feels like I am dying. Other than not being able to breath, having your heart go crazy is a very unsettling thing. I do things to distract and relax myself like controlled breathing, meditation etc but a couple yr ago asked doc for something for anxiety/ depression. Ive been taking zoloft( sertraline) which has helped alot.

Pretty much everyone has this sense of doom just before, during or after episodes ditto the tiredness.

How to cope? Change your perspective through CBTMindefulness - become the observer of your symtoms rather than worry about them. The sense of doom is your Autonomic System - Fight or Flight Response kicking in so soothing self talk really helps as well as understanding what is happening. Unfortunately- for some unknown to me reason - doctors rarely explain this. Watch out for the Dr Gupta (York Cardiology) videos on this forum or look for them on YouTube as he explains what happens to your body in AF very well.

Best wishes

Yes. I think there are two parts to this, there is the feeling of tiredness which generally lowers your spirits and makes you want to 'not do anything', and there's the aftermath of the anxiety which I think contributes to the 'sense of doom'. I try my best not to worry about the AF. So far, I've managed just to go to bed and try to sleep. I, so far, have always reverted to NSR in the small hours of the morning which wakes me up and I can check with my Kardia that it has truly stopped. I can then get some better sleep. I don't feel at all rested at that point, so any sleep I already got was worthless. Maybe that makes it worse too . . .


Never met anybody with symptomatic AF who doesn't get this feeling. You are quite normal , just need to find strategies to combat it.

I certainly do. It feels horrible. In that position just now myself after an arrhythmia episode on Wednesday. Feel unnerved, unsettled and out of control. Both physically and emotionally drained. You have my sympathy.

No matter how many times I have it it knocks me sideways emotionally and physically everytime. Medics don't seem to understand the emotional impact it has. I was reading a study last night which had been undertaken looking at the emotional impact, they seemed genuinely surprised how it upset people's equilibrium and confidence.

Everything you wrote is just how I feel too, Docs etc dismiss the after effects of AF episode, it is good to see that other people can relate, thought it was me being a wimp.

That could have been me writing that, I have those feelings just the same as you , even having PAF for over 20 years.

I certainly do! It’s absolutely awful!!

It’s so hard to stop your mind racing!

I do find music, all that calming relaxing stuff you can easily find on utube helps, for me preferably with my earphones, works better at drowning out the chatter in my head 😏

Apart from that, for me it’s just one day at a time...

I had an episode a couple of days ago, I know it’s foolish to look for triggers apparently, but I know (as I realise afterwards ) my liquid intake had been lacking, this time I also had an upset tummy which would have made that worse, & also I was having trouble sleeping, still awake at 3am, it kicked in at 3.30am!

I know it will take several more days for the anxiety to settle & finally go away, where I will then be back in the zone of ‘why do I take this medication there is nothing wrong with me’!

I find I have a episode of depression a few days after a episode of AF. I talk about it with my husband and we now expect it’s arrival in a matter of fact way. When it happens I feel my life is over, I can’t go anywhere on my own, I can’t do the things we planned for our retirement or have fun anymore and I have nothing to look forward to. I cope with it by saying “ this too will pass” and try hard to just regard it as a glitch, (easier said than done).

I’m obviously in a minority here. When my AF was paroxysmal, during an episode I usually felt somewhat anxious, wondering when it would stop. When it did stop, I nearly always felt elated, though tired if it had lasted a long time.

in reply to oyster

I feel the same as you. Always feel better and positive!

in reply to oyster

I would always get an adrenaline rush before an episode which I recognised as a pre-cursor to an episode. I occasionally had worry thoughts but recognised them for what they were & dealt with them. The most difficult to overcome was to continue to plan things as the uncertainty of when / where an episode may happen. I eventually got over that when it happened in a public place when I was on my own & I just had to get through it which made me realise I could cope, not nice but I could cope. That’s the fear for me - that I won’t be able to cope. We all react very individually.

Hi Mamamarilyn :-) it's amazing what the mind can do . I used to feel fearful during episodes and exhaused after one the latter may well have been partly caused by spending many hours in a state of anxiety.

Now I have come to terms with having P-AF, no longer fear episodes and have a set routine of coping I don't get these horrible feelings, I just feel a bit tired.

I think that like you I suffer from Paroximal AF and despite knowing in my heart of hearts that it is not curable I still feel, when there has been a long time between episodes, depressed that it has happened again. However after a week or two things brighten up again and life gets back to as normal as it can be! Take heart as they say!😉😉

I can say I have all the feelings as mentioned- I mostly get over it and not fret - but then I get into feeling like I am normal as far as rhythm goes and slip up on staying mindful. Then feel guilty thinking what did I do - was it a stressful week? What did I do? To cause this

At present I am experiencing AFIB after my third ablation- waiting for the call to go for EKG and possible cardio version. seems the nasty drug Amiodarone isn’t doing the trick. 🤣

I am fretting cuz headed for a out of country trip in 18 days and gone for 16 days. See my next post

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