British Heart Foundation

Anxiety and Depression after heart surgery

Hi

It's hit me like a train this week just when I thought everything was going so well. I can't stop crying and had to cancel appointments and meet ups with friends. I'm trying all my usual coping skills but nothing is helping. Just wondered if this happened to anyone else at this stage, I'm at week 10 post operation, still on Warfarin and Amiodarone to keep the dreaded AF away.

I've been to the doctors but he won't give me any medication but has suggested Counselling.

Lisa

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Hi Lisa

I don’t think any of us gets away with the dreaded depression. I thought I’d turned the corner at 9 weeks and got away with it but it came back.

It is a sort of post traumatic stress , I’ve had counselling well2 telephone sessions it was good to talk, but I found it hard to explain that it was a different sort of depression, we know what’s caused it . I felt I couldn’t get this point across. So I’ve excepted it and explained to Husband family work mates and that if you’ve not been there with your heart surgery it’s hard to understand. This has worked for me , over the last few weeks I’ve started to feel better, some days are now brighter, I’ve stoped worrying about it and embraced that things are going to be better. Chatting on here is the best because people understand because theyhave been there and come out the other side or are like your self going through it. So don’t beat yourself up you will start to feel better and talking to people who have been there is the best help. I’m 6 mths today still having crap days but I’m alive and sadly have to go to work now 😂 chin up girl take care Kaz💖❤️💕

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Hi Kaz

Thank you for replying it was lovely to read your post and heart warming to know you came out the other end.

I’ve set up some counselling to start next week so hopefully I can get some things off my chest.

Take care

Lisa xx

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Hi Lisa forgot to mention another contributor to feeling really low, very low level of Vit D

I went to see my GP about4 wks ago because I was fed up with feeling this way and also had joint pain in my knees and ankles, GP did a blood test checked everything and Vit D levels were extremely low I’m on a 6 wks course , within a week I felt a huge difference in my mood and the pain in my joints 95% improvement . If you read up on Vit D it plays a big part in lots of body functions . May be worth asking your GP to test you. Thanks for your lovely reply Kaz ❤️💕💖

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Hi Kaz

Thanks for the tip on vitamin D. My husband had got some for me just after the AF happened he’d read up about it and thought it might help. At the time I had so much medication I didn’t want to add to the cocktail. I’m going to check with GP and start taking them if he’s happy.

Thank you I completely forgot I had them.

Thanks for your support hope all is well and you’re coping with work life etc

Take care

Lisa xxx

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Hi Lisa

It's pretty much normal, I'm 14 months in, the good days far outweigh the bad now, probably one or two a month. I would recommend you take your doctors advise and see a counsellor. It does get better but it helps talking about how you feel

Take care

Mark

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Hi Mark

Thanks for replying took your advice I’ve set up some counselling for next week. It’s not nice knowing everyone’s had a rough time but helps to understand this is normal and can be worked through.

Take care

Lisa x

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It is a huge event in our lives, really does show our mortality. Glad to have helped it's what this place is for and doubtless your experiences will also aid others

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Hey Lisa, as the others have said - it’s normal to feel low sometimes, but if depression is really interfering with your life, it may be worth talking to a counsellor. The BHF also has some info on coping: bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-ma... It will get better :)

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Hi Helen

I’ve set up some counselling for next week. Thank you for the link.

Lisa x

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No problem Lisa - I really hope it helps. Please do get in touch if you need anything else.

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Hi Lisa.

I too have suffered with what I now know to be depression after a totally unexpected quadruple CABG last year. As someone who has never had much genuine sympathy in the past for depression related illnesses, I found it particularly difficult to share my post op difficulties particularly as my physical recovery was brilliant. After hearing a talk from a psychiatric practitioner nurse at my Cardiac Rehab class, I realised that much of what he discussed was actually symptomatic of what I was going through. Three, half hour, one to one sessions really helped my recovery and I am now armed with coping strategies that get me through the occasional 'down days' that I still suffer intermittently. Mindfulness techniques that he taught me have helped a lot and even helped my golf!!

I know not all NHS regions provide Cardiac Rehab but if your's does, give it a try, it cant do any harm and it might help. Mine did.

Good luck with the rehab.

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Hi BAGS17

Thank you for honest and heart felt post. It’s helped me over the past few days to see a way forward I start my cardio rehab on Tuesday afternoon and my first Counselling (CBT) in the morning. Onwards and upwards.

Take care

Lisa

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Good luck tomorrow.

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Good to hear you've got some counselling lined up. I found talking to a professional, someone outside my real-life circle, was hugely helpful. I was reluctant to take antidepressants, but did eventually and they made a big difference to me. As Kaz was saying above, I felt like my depression was different because I knew exactly what the cause of it was, but my GP explained that a depressing situation can mess with your brain's chemistry over time, it becomes used to being depressed and so struggles not to be. (Sorry, I'm explaining this terribly! Something about neural pathways...?) The pills definitely weren't a stand-alone fix, but they made it easier to work through my issues and get back to a happier, less anxious mindset. You've said your GP is not keen to prescribe anything, but I would maybe speak to your counsellor about it, see what they say and revisit with your GP if you think it would be helpful to you. Good luck with everything going forwards and hope you begin to feel more positive again very soon. Lots of love x

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Hi Laura

Thank you for the tips and info they have really helped. I will have a chat with my counsellor and revisit the GP.

Take care

Lisa

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Morning everyone

Quick update had my first counselling session yesterday morning and started my cardio rehab clinic. Small steps but all positive everything went well. Therapy was tough and I think a lot of hard work to come. The cardio was great, lots of lovely people all in similar positions just wanting to get better and feel stronger.

Thanks for all your comments and support helping to make the first step.

Lisa x

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Well done Lisa, onwards and upwards!

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Nice to hear, small steps

take care

Mark

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