Post Heart Attack mental health - British Heart Fou...

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Post Heart Attack mental health

Ants1902
Ants1902

35 yr old. Nearly two years ago I had a STEMI and now have four stents. 3 in the RCA and 1 in LAD. The event took us all by surprise. I’m really struggling with the mental health side of things. I feel like I’m constantly living in fear and was wondering if anyone else has had similar feelings.

40 Replies
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Yes to STEMI 2 years ago and yes to random fear feelings. You'll find there are a lot of us on here who feel exactly as you do and I am certain they will be along later to add their words of wisdom. I have found talking to people really helps me get those feelings under control and this forum is great for making you feel you are not alone. I think it is inevitable that what has been a huge, traumatic event in your life dominates your thoughts but as time passes it slides more to the back of your mind with sudden leaps into the forefront. Sometimes you can tell what has concerned you and other times it seems entirely random. Sometimes it is just your family being concerned....... I think to myself that the stent(s) have fixed the problem and being monitored will help prevent it happening again. Also I fix on diet and exercise so I feel I am more in control. I also remind myself that I am wasting good living time looking backwards rather than forwards... it;s not easy but you will get through these feelings. Take care.

Ants1902
Ants1902 in reply to Calliope153

Thank you for your words. I see a personal trainer three times a week which has really helped me. I still struggle with maintaining a full time healthy diet. It’s good to know that there are others who have similar thought processes. I do see a counsellor weekly which is helping but it was suggested to me that I try to talk to people who have had similar events happen in their lives. I know my brain is a hugely powerful thing but sometimes I wish that I could shut down the “what if” thoughts. What if I don’t wake up etc etc. I’m really hoping to find some solace by talking to others who understand what it is that we have been through.

Calliope153
Calliope153 in reply to Ants1902

That;s why I still go to cardiac rehab twice a week - all the others have been in exactly the same boat and talking really helps. Any chance you could join a rehab group?

Ants1902
Ants1902 in reply to Calliope153

I did try going to a rehab group but I felt hugely uncomfortable there. When I was talking about diet 90-95% of the time I eat very very healthily however I still crave foods that aren’t so good for me.

Calliope153
Calliope153 in reply to Ants1902

don't we all? I crave: cakes, cream, chocolate, cheese, crisps, chips ..... but decided that if the only way to slow down the furring up of the arteries and to lose weight fast was to not give in I'd stop being a right girly weakling and not eat it. Actually think what are you frightened of - another heart attack? therefore stop eating the laden with saturates stuff and drinking- if you can eat it you aren't that scared of another "heart event".... take someone to the supermarket/food shopping with you ; my husband says in a loud voice "step away from the chocolate" and should I put anything I shouldn;t eat in the trolley I have to pay for the whole shop - he adds six bottles of wine for himself to make sure the credit card goes "ouch". Sometimes terror isn't enough - you need someone to encourage you...

Ants1902
Ants1902 in reply to Calliope153

That makes sense, my wife is very supportive the majority of the time. However she is currently 7 months pregnant and wants all the stuff neither of us should eat. But as I mentioned 90-95% of the time I eat only what’s good for me. I barely touch alcohol and I think doing mostly the right things. It’s been 20 months since my heart attack and I guess I’m still coming to terms with what that means and how it affects everything in my life. My wife has been amazing through everything which has helped but she doesn’t fully understand how it has affected me and will continue to do so

Calliope153
Calliope153 in reply to Ants1902

Like all events in life you will never be the same again - it;s just not possible to go back to how you were before the event (I hate it when the medical people say"heart event" sounds like a party which it most certainly wasn't). Trite to say it but it is very difficult to understand the feelings if you haven;t had a similar experience. Also you need to turn it around to think about it from your partner's perspective - her life has changed too - the certainty you both had about life now has a whacking big dent in it labelled "the unexpected can happen to us, not just other people" and each of you has to adapt. However you have a really exciting focus - the new baby and you have lots of plans to make. Get painting the nursery for a start if you haven;t already and a bit of sleep deprivation and tea making when all the visitors pile in to see the new arrival will concentrate your mind wonderfully on things other than health. The washing up and washing should keep you very busy as your wife takes things easy for a while. Keeping busy helps me avoid the fear and when I am too tired to do something I read - 400 books since the STEMI and counting........ find your escape place even if it is box sets (!) or Netflix...

Alexa445
Alexa445 in reply to Ants1902

My partner had HA last month,he is 28 years old and he used to eat all his life unhealthy food,especially pork meat,ohh..he love pork meat and fries...now he crave everything,even more cause he quit smoking too.He was very strong and even help me to get through this,because he had HA but i think this affected me more than him,anyway i feel that he is also trying to be strong mentaly and keep struggling not to show me that he is afraid aswell😞..We are now waiting the letter for first appoitment with cardiologist to see if everything is allright as i hope so...i dont know when the letter will come...he has aswell some side effects from tablets wich is very annoyed..

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Alexa445

My wife was the same. Selfishly I thought it had only effected Me. But yes in reality my wife was living it and probably found it more difficult as I had the hospital support. We talk about it now. I have found cardiac rehab fantastic. I’m three weeks in to that now. Today I’ve started swimming again. 10 weeks after event. You will both get through it. Good luck with your partner in his recovery.

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Alexa445

Timescales Cary from hospital to hospital but I stated cardiac rehab around week 6 after having stent fitted. The program at heartlands is for ten weeks. Have they sent your partner the education visits yet these are for diet exercise etc. My wife came with me and we picked up a lot of information from them

The diet is a big thing to focus on. Before my HA I ate all the wrong stuff but I’ve made some changes Again if you go on the BHF website they offer a lot of advice on this.

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Calliope153

That was my thoughts. I find my rehab group really valuable

Darp
Darp in reply to Calliope153

W When you have stents it can be really difficult time and yes I think it can make you feel a bit depressed so you’re not alone

For me I’m only 10 weeks on from Sudden HA Stents fitted. I’m slowly learning to deal and not think about what happened. The early weeks for me were horrendous. Every twinge wandering and waiting to see what will happen. Gladly nothing did. I find sites like this and BHF web sites answer a lot of my uncertainties

I’m exercising well. Diet completely changed and feeling calmer in myself even at work. I hope you start to lessen the worries and anxious thoughts your having

Alexa445
Alexa445 in reply to Nicin

For him cardio rehab is a bit difficult cause there are only much older people...he feel weird surrounded of many people and none of them at his age..and he has some side effects,like congested nose all day and feel little sick like he is having flu...i dont know what to think about...

Ants1902
Ants1902 in reply to Alexa445

Hi Alexa, I completely understand his perspective with regards to cardiac rehab I went to a session and I was the youngest by 30-40 years. It made me feel hugely uncomfortable.

Alexa445
Alexa445 in reply to Ants1902

Yes,he find it difficult too😓

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Alexa445

The group I’m with when I first went was mainly older people and also different nationalities being a Birmingham hospital but I’ve found now I’m mixing well with all the people. You really need to think the reason your there and regardless of age everyone is there for the same reason. For his own health he really needs to embrace it. Has he asked if there is an alternative group he can join.

Alexa445
Alexa445 in reply to Nicin

He didnt ask about,but i gues there is not too many people who is 20-30 years old..not even 30-40🤔...now im just wondering if everything is allright or no...and to be honest i dont really trust 100% our gp..By the way we are in Birmingham too

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Alexa445

Ok I go to heartlands hospital and I can’t fault the rehab Have you tried the BHF website they may be able to sort something for you

I’m 55 and feel relatively young in the group. Just get him to try remain positive and focussed and it will come. If I can help in anyway feel free to message me. My heart attack was a complete shock to me but I’ve been lucky with the care and support at heartlands hospital and have took a lot from it. He will get there

Alexa445
Alexa445 in reply to Nicin

Thank you.He is at City Hospital.In his discharge letter say that he need to see cardiologist in 3-4 months ,i hope he will get the letter soon cause im stres till we see the cardiologist

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Alexa445

Ok. If he has stated cardiac rehab program then tell him he must go to it. That’s where he will see his fitness improve and understanding of what has happened to him. It’s harder to say than do but he must just switch off that his the youngest in the group and try and focus on just himself. I’m sure if he gives it a go and joins in he will be ok.

Like I said if your not sure of anything just ask. Phones always on and if you need to speak to anyone my wife will happily chat with you as she has been through the same. Good luck

Nick and Ann

Alexa445
Alexa445 in reply to Nicin

He is going every week,twice per week.thank you so much for encouragement.Its good to know and feel better when i speak with people like you.Thank you so much again

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Alexa445

Your welcome I’ve had similar advice off others and find conversations like this help us all. It seems I’m probably a couple months ahead of your partner so just ask if not sure of something. It’ will be ok for him and he’ll be back to good health soon I’m sure x

Calliope153
Calliope153 in reply to Nicin

I was really uncomfortable to start with for a different reason: there were only 3 women in the rehab group at the time. The age range was 27 - 84..... just think you are all there for the same reason - that;s what kept me going and after quite a few months I was speaking to everyone. Can;t recommend rehab too much. It really helps with recovery.

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Calliope153

I was the same. First couple times daunting but the people there now I’m really friendly with and happy to see when I go again we’re all there for same reason.

In a word ‘counselling ‘. What you are feeling is not unusual. Talking to a trained counsellor can really help. The important thing is not to bottle it all up - talking really does help. Your GP surgery should be able to help you find a counsellor but you can find them easily enough on the Internet.

Ants1902
Ants1902 in reply to stevejb1810

Hi Steve, I am seeing a counsellor on a weekly basis and it was her suggestion that I find others who have been through something similar and chat with them.

stevejb1810
stevejb1810 in reply to Ants1902

Ok. Keep talking. It does get better . Good luck 😉

Ants1902
Ants1902 in reply to stevejb1810

Thanks

This is interesting my husband also 35 when stent fitted didn’t go to rehab as felt they’d all be a lot older. Having studied & worked in the health/fitness industry himself meant he’d always been very healthy so there would have been nothing to learn or change on that front other than talk about the irony of life. However he has suffered ongoing anxiety issues since and I did try to find groups which catered more for his age group so maybe now he’s going back for more treatment I should just encourage him to go as clearly there is a young demographic which exists & talking might still help him. I guess I also worry it could go the other way & make him more depressed that there’s nothing he can do if everyone else is talking about all the things they can change.

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Rh2205

I find the rehab program offers more than just exercise. Speaking to others who have gone through the same and understand what your feeling or thinking I seriously recommend to anyone that going to the rehab program is a must. I had big reservations that first afternoon sitting there looking around at the others but now I’m glad I’m going through it with those people. Even if some are way older than me. It’s great to laugh together

Ants1902
Ants1902 in reply to Nicin

Nicin. Thank you for your opinions. However I disagree. In my area the Cardiac Rehab programme was not tailored to someone of my age and I am

20 years younger than you.

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Ants1902

That’s a fair comment it’s just sad that it’s not the same in all areas. I can’t fault the one I attend . Would you be able to contact similar groups via the leisure centre route.

Ants1902
Ants1902 in reply to Nicin

It’s certainly worth looking into. I do see a trainer 3 times per week for the exercise side of things and back in June because of his help I ran a 5 k for the BHF. The main issue I have is the mental health side of things and I think sadly in general mental health is often overlooked that being said there is less of a stigma now than in years gone by.

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Ants1902

It may be worth looking to see if there are any support groups again in my area after the rehab program finishes there are some groups that do offer chats etc

The mental health side is probably greater in younger age group

I hope you can find something to help.

Ants1902
Ants1902 in reply to Nicin

Thanks very much and I wish you all the best with your onward recovery journey

Nicin
Nicin in reply to Ants1902

Think though talking can be the best just keep using this site at times when you want to talk. I’ve found it a help .im sure over time you will get your head around it

It took a few years to get over the fears But you can overcome them I am now almost 73 and had a HA in 1982 !!

Ants1902
Ants1902 in reply to Prada47

Thank you for the encouragement. It’s good to hear that it does get easier.

From several people I’ve spoken to the fear side does diminish after time. But again it’s not a one size fits all. May this site can help in answering a lot of your anxieties to the point you will see there not unusual to you

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