British Heart Foundation
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Will l ever be cheerful and optimistic again?

Hi gang, l need some advice from you lovely lot out there please! Feb 6th was my last operation AVR redo and pacemaker fitted 5 weeks after first one. l thought l had mastered the horrendous depression but it has returned big time, l don`t want medication or reliving 92 days in hospital talking with a stranger. l have spoken with my Husband and mates who supported me on my life threatening journey but l think they are fed up with me being a "heart bore" and do not understand the terrible flashbacks l have of the horrendous hallucinations l suffered because of the magnitude of drugs racing through my body. l feel really guilty because l didn`t lose limbs like some people after the severe sepsis that ate my heart valves but l did lose my once cheerful optimistic self ( she is long gone) l have a loving family and fantastic mates but l am fed up with myself and don`t know how to jump out of this black hole. Sorry to rant on, but any advice would be great. Last Echo showed where they put AVR and packing to rebuild the wall of my heart has knitted together really well so it is all mental (perhaps its me thats mental! lol. Take care

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Morning Kefalonia,

Sorry to hear of your black dog issues, I think many suffer, many in silence as well.

So, to begin, I have been there, done that, and have a huge wardobe full of t-shirts too.

My hallucinations centred around a Harrier Jump jet, landed right on the flat roof I looked out on. Pilot got out gave me a wave before taking off in his WWII fighter plane, I swear it was a Spitfire, but on looking at the web it would seem to be a Hurricane. Then there was the night terrors, drenched in sweat, seeing a nurse standing there with a cut throat razor, who had come to prep me for my angiogram.

The black dog, bad, very bad, I managed to turn just about everyone close to me against me by not talking about it. Internally questioning why I had survived and the why me, what had I done. My father in law dying 3 days before Christmas after a long illness, meaning I didn't want to burden my wife, my sister dying on her birthday in March from undiagnosed heart disease really sent me into a nice black hole.

The emotional roller coaster that followed over now nearly a year has been eased tremendously by talking about it to fellow sufferers here, a group I belong to locally and a facebook group. There are still bad days, thankfully not so many, trying to help here and elsewhere, seeing people a lot less fortunate than myself, getting involved have all been good for me.

So you are not alone, I get the bit about family and friends getting bored of it, but they do care, when they ask how you are some of them actually mean it. People on here are very supportive too, we care how you feel inside and out.

I hope that is of some help to you, there is light at the end of the tunnel, I miss my harrier jump jet but I don't miss the nurse!!

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Hi Skid, thanks for your reply. l think maybe l can beat your Harrier. A few of my visions l will share with you, some were so awful l don`t want to talk aboutthem. No 1: Brad Pitt landed his private jet in the farmers meadow next door to my home and promptly died there of a heart attack, l told the police to move his body because it was smelling of poo and they couldn`t be bothered.! No 2: l accused my nurse in lCU of being a robot TRUE! and l nearly bit her arm to prove she wouldn`t bleed, but thankfully l didn`t! (Days later l apoligised) No 3: l was in a olympic sized swimming pool with a load of African slaves and we were all up to our necks in Poo, they were all going to give up but l made them dance with me all night so we survived. The nasty slave driver hosed us all off and let us go, they all thanked me. l think l was thinking l`m in the S**t here but l will survive. There are loads more but l will let you go. Take care. Sorry to hear about your losses, grief is hard to get over x

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You made me smile, those sure do beat my harrier. Time will eventually make those others fade.

As it will the bad days, I know its difficult but there is a pinprick of light at the end take care

Mark

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Definite theme of poo going on there, huh? :)

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Thankfully l couldn`t smell anything. Typical of my luck, the one chance l got to meet Brad Pitt he dies!!! l have just sent you a email re tactless people, hope it makes you laugh. Take care, Sue

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I'd take a dead Brad Pitt over no Brad Pitt ;)

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He stank of poo remember!!! and must have been decomposing so not that good a choice honey! Sue x

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We-ell... :)

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Cheers Mark! Take care and thanks. Sue x

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I don't know what to suggest, depression is a difficult one. All I can say is that I was very depressed for a very long time after I was diagnosed with heart failure. I worked hard at sorting myself out and it seemed like nothing I did made any difference. But I do feel better now. I'm genuinely happy and content the majority of the time, I feel optimistic and lucky. I hope you reach a similar place eventually.

I know you said you didn't want to talk to an outsider and relive past traumas, but I found talking to a professional more helpful than anything else I tried. Like you, I felt like a heart bore. Like Mark, I didn't want to burden or worry those who loved me. I was going round and round in circles and not getting anywhere, feeling consistently very low and utterly hopeless. Talking to the psychologist, I could be as bitter and angry as I wanted, it didn't matter. I could voice my darkest fears and it wouldn't worry him. We didn't talk about the past so much as the present - what my current situation was, what aspects of it made me so anxious and unhappy, what we could do to change either the circumstances or my reactions to them. I do think it might be worth thinking about if the option is available, but ultimately it is up to you, of course.

This forum will always have somebody who understands how you feel, so make sure you do stay in touch, no matter how good or bad things feel to you.

Lots of love in the meantime x

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Thanks for your support x

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Hi Kefalonia, I can thoroughly recommend solution focused hypnotherapy. I had it to prepare myself for surgery and it deals not on the past but with moving forward to where you want to be. It breaks negative cycles of depression, anger and anxieties. I will have a couple more sessions as soon as I can drive myself to an appointment. Obviously it depends upon the practitioner and it isn't cheap but you can't put a price on your wellbeing and hopefully it could help you get better faster. My hypnotherapy practitioner gave me some relaxation CDs similar to our sessions which kept me on the straight and narrow during my first week and second post op complications week in hospital. X

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Thanks for the advice x

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I can relate to some degree in that feeling, like things will never be normal again. Before my heart issue was diagnosed back in June I'd had more than 4 years of health problems not related to my heart at all and had to deal with losing my mum and dad to cancer within 4 years of each other. I'd been left with a lot of mobility problems after a severe reaction to Ciprofloxacin and still 2.5 years later I struggle with muscle, joint and neuropathy issues in my legs in particular but the flares hit me all over. So even before the heart issues which have stolen what little energy I had left I was already tired and going through episodes of depression and anxiety dealing with bereavement and a loss of the once active and healthy life I had. 13 weeks after my unexpected heart bypass I'm struggling with the daily battle with trying to recover, trying to do as much normal life things as I can whilst getting ongoing heart issues and still dealing with the mobility issues that have once again flared up this last week. I'm not suggesting my health problems are worse than others, far from it, I know there's many worse off than me, but to me my own battle is enough to deal with and drags me down often. I try to remind myself it's early days but when you need to be back working and supporting your family or as I now find myself, looking for a new job! Then being restricted by health problems is the last thing you need. I hope we all find those happier days soon!

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Makes no difference how many people are worse off than you, you can only live in your own life, and when your life is tough...it's tough and you should never feel guilty about finding it difficult. It's really early days for you still, in terms of your heart, and you've had so much else to contend with in the run-up to it. Hopefully things will get easier over time. All the best x

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Thanks for your reply, you really have a lot to deal with. l feel guilty for moaning. Hope things get better for you soon. x

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You weren't moaning and, even if you were, you shouldn't feel guilty. See my reply to ccwh70 above x

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I can't recommend highly enough the value of cardio rehab courses, have none of you been offered them? Whilst I fortunately didn't have the depression you speak of, I felt especially vulnerable and frail (I was only 62 at the time!) but the rehab course gave me the opportunity to mix with people in the same situation, and to improve my confidence and fitness, do try it if you haven't already.

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Thanks David, l have a hospital check up Friday, l will suggest it. Take care, Sue x

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