British Heart Foundation

Emotional

I'm still coming to term with my heart failure and fine at the moment it is controlling me but the other way around. I've recently changed jobs as I was finding travelling 40 mins to and from work so exhausting so went closer to home and I've dropped a day to help with the feeling tired all the time. The only other problem is I feel very emotional all the time and end up crying. I've been offered anti depressants but don't really want to start on them. Has anyone else experienced this and how did they cope xx

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Hi Helen, my husband has HF & it's a very scary thing to be told. Tiredness is a symptom of HF & it's understandable if you're emotional, try not to be too hard on yourserlf. Do you have a HF nurse you can talk to? I'm always banging on about a foundation charity called pumping marvellous. They are specifically for HF patients, their families & carers. They have a Facebook page & they are invaluable for support, help & advice. They have helped me considerably & everyone knows exactly how you feel & "that always helps. I hope things settle down for you soon xx

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Hi Helenmud: I had a surprise diagnosis of diastolic heart failure in November. Surprise because I had none of the risk factors and good BP, normal ECG, etc. I had thought my tiredness was from insomnia and only ended up in hospital when I was short of breath walking 10 feet in the house.

I’m still coming to terms with the diagnosis emotionally as I was always “the energizer bunny”. My shortness of breath doesn’t seem to go away. Although my consultant has ordered an MRI to see if anything else is going on, he seems to think that this is my baseline now. There are days when I just want to have a cry and even brief moments when I think, “If the rest of my life is going to be like this, what’s the point?” It’s about getting my head around a new normal.

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Hi thank you I was diagnosed in October and very much like you shortness of breath and I too was like a Duracell bunny and now find it hard having to slow down. Thank you for your words I suppose it is about accepting the changes x

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Feelings of anxiety and depression are common in heart patients. Drugs will work but talking therapies tend to be better as they don’t stop you ‘feeling’ which drugs can do. My advice is to see a counsellor. Your GP should be able to help and you can find them on the internet if you can afford to go privately (about £40-50 an hour is typical ).

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Hi I discovered acceptance and commitment therapy and read a brilliant book. ACT for dummies. That helped enormously. Also the BHF living with heart failure book is quite helpful. If you're not on facebook it is worth joining for the pumping marvellous support group.

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I’ve struggled for years with one heart op I had and I’ve pushed for counselling and struggled to get good counselling and just managed to 8 years on. I flat out refused anti depressants and always been glad I have.

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Funny things emotions! I have had 5 years of endocarditis, valve deterioration, mitral valve replacement, allergy to a drug, hole in new valve stitch, severe anaemia, colonoscopy, polyp removal, endocarditis again etc, etc. I realised I was becoming more and more depressed as I admitted I could be a chronic invalid for the rest of my life. We all have sob stories!

Then suddenly my anaemia has started improving on its own, without yet another blood transfusion. My depression lifted literally overnight when I was told about it. I realised I might be able to lead a normal life for a 68year old.

I instantly felt I WAS normal again, sonow I keep doing too much and getting over-tired, just to remind myself I am not there yet.

What amazes me is the control that the depression, which was by no means severe enough to tell the doctor about, nevertheless controlled so much of my life and emotions. My advice is to be aware of the hold it has on you and to talk about it, whether to friends of family, or on this forum. Its what we are here for!

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Thank you for your reply you are right I am leaving it control my life. Thank you x

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Hard to know what to say to make things better for you. I understand completely as I feel the same way, plus angry about it all. I am so jealous of everyone without heart failure, because not so long ago I was able to do so much more without being breathless, tired, aching back at the slightest exertion. The only thing is that I am SO grateful to be alive and every day I remember that it is a new day given to me to enjoy as much as possible. I really appreciate any time I spend with my grandchildren and right now, I am enjoying seeing signs of spring and lighter evenings. Even struggling, I am happy to be alive and I try to do interesting things whenever I can. I totally agree that to start with antidepressants is a last resort.

This site is great, the people understand and care about each other, and offer support, including me, although I am very new to this myself.

Keep smiling.

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Thank you you have given me an uplift with your words x

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Hi Helen. I was diagnosed with heart failure in 2011 and found the emotional side really difficult too. I was lucky enough to be able to speak to a specialist psychologist, which was very helpful. However, it wasn't until I tried antidepressants that I was really able to put into practice what I had learned in those sessions. I was very reluctant to take antidepressants too and turned them down for a number of years, thinking that they weren't for me because I was depressed about a specific situation rather than "chemically" depressed. Eventually I decided to give them a go because I was utterly fed up of being so miserable. The difference was amazing. It didn't take away the thing I was depressed about (my heart failure and all is consequences) but it made me able to look at my situation more rationally, take a step back and address my issues/fears properly. I started getting my life back a bit, pursuing old interests again etc, and it all created a bit of an upward spiral. I still find my health condition upsetting, but it is not ruining my day-to-day life as it used to and I'm able to feel much more positive about the present and the future. I'm happy and I enjoy my life.

Ultimately it's a personal choice whether or not you want to go down the medication road and I certainly don't think medication alone would be enough to make you feel better, but I just wanted to let you know how my views regarding antidepressants have changed and suggest that you give it some serious consideration. All the best and I hope you find a solution that works for you, whatever that may be. Lots of love x

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Thank you so much for your reply it has given me something to think about x

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