Heart on my sleeve....: Despite boxing... - British Heart Fou...

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Heart on my sleeve....

JohnH100 profile image

Despite boxing for quite a few years and playing lots of rugby I've always been a bit of a softee emotionally.....however since my HA three months ago its gone to a whole new level!!

I've got over the HA mentally, I'm not thinking "what if I have another one" as I was for the first few days, I'm feeling physically great.....but if I watch a movie with a sad scene I can feel the tears whelling up.

Am I alone in this or is it a new normal?

17 Replies

I think many of us feel this way, I never wore my heart on my sleeve and was not known for crying at sad films etc despite being a woman! But now I can start blubbering at the drop of a hat! The emotions and ‘what ifs’ were definitely brought to the fore but perhaps that’s good for us? Go with the flow 😊

Hi John. definitely not alone feeling like this. I had my ha 2 years ago and have never been so emotional since then. Admittedly I have also had a major bereavement to contend with, but after the ha I could cry at the drop of a hat. Don't show me cute kittens, injured animals or any sad story lines! I think a heart event makes us feel so vulnerable, all of a sudden we are not invincible and immortal - we are fragile. You will move past this I'm sure. I haven't coped that well because I have just gone into complete denial, not an approach I would recommend. It is still quite early days for you and I wish you well. X

It's the new normal, at least for the time being, as it's an altered emotional state that can persist for a few months or for many years.

My wife, who is a counsellor, looked into this in some detail after her father had a series of heart attacks a few years ago. He also experienced the same responses that you describe, as indeed have many people on this forum. Her conclusion was that heart attacks are effectively trauma, and the academic literature on PTSD could be relevant. The same heightened empathy to sentimental trigger events is common amongst trauma sufferers. She has had military clients who weren't able to watch a Disney film with their children without experiencing inconsolable grief. This dimension of heart attacks isn't really given much attention within the NHS, I guess that's understandable given all the calls on their resources, but I do think it at least deserves to be more widely recognised.

If you feel that it gets in the way of you living your life then you might consider counselling.

Incidentally, I had a bypass operation but never had a heart attack, I can't detect any change in my emotional compass. Again this is also fairly common. I wonder if there's something about the heart attack occurring in our conscious state, as opposed to major surgery occurring under general anaesthetic which means our conscious self isn't present during the procedure?

My mum used to tell me I had a heart like a swinging brick , if someone was drowning I wouldn’t save them incase I ruined my make up , now I’m shaking I cryed at a pretty cake in a shop window . Pathetic 😂😂😂

Dear John

I had a stroke six years ago and emotionality was acknowledged as a common side effect. I am a male so I don’t cry, we’ll I did now, for about three years.

My OHS reintroduced the emotionality for a few months. I still won’t attend a funeral, but apart from that, it has nicely gone away.

The good news, well good for me, is that it repairs itself.

I avoided things likely to cause tears.

Best wishes


I've always been quite emotional, but yes it's got worse with time. I cried recently watching a 9/11 programme on t.v. Also, I don't know why it is, but marching bands always get me wanting to blub. Can't say whether it's to do with my heart or getting older. I must say I can't watch horror or violent films anymore either - too stressful!


It’s not all marching bands that make me sob uncontrollably, it’s Scottish marching bands in full highland gear, kilts swinging…… I discovered this by accident when on holiday and a pipe band was playing…… so embarrassing! Sadly I discovered it wasn’t a one off so now I have to make sure I avoid any occasion where there will be a Scottish band. For heavens sake I am a Scot and sometimes happy to be one lol. I live in Scotland again too so it’s nothing to do with a nostalgic longing lol. I just can’t work out what and why it makes me so heartbreakingly emotional. Even watching the Edinburgh Tattoo on TV sets me off lol. Embarrassing! 😂😂😂

I love the sound of bagpipes, had Scottish ancestors and always think to myself they must have been part of one of my previous lives. Perhaps you're the same?

Maybe… I’ve no idea. It’s so weird I just have to make sure I’m no place where a pipe band will suddenly come round a corner and take me by surprise! I wonder seriously if there is a particular sound that triggers off something that causes me to be so heartbroken choking on tears. Now someone will think “ yep those blooming bag pipes “ but not so lol. 😃

Thanks all for your responses.....it doesn't worry me that my emotions are being "stirred" more easily, I was just surprised at the change, it's good to hear that I'm not alone.I actually think I'm a better person since having the HA, I'm much more appreciative of things and I think more of other people's feelings

Life is beautiful and it often takes a wake up call for us to appreciate that :)

I could win a medal, I cry now at the drop of a hat and it's nearly 3 years since my AVR 😃😃

I think going through what we've experienced does make us appreciate things in life a little more. I have to say, I do stop and look around a lot more to take in what's around me. I don't worry about having another event, but I do often think about leaving behind my loved ones. I if can get to the stage were my kids have both left Uni or are gainfully employed, I'll be a happy man. They'll then at least be at the age to support each other and my wife.

Hi , I’m in to my third week of recovery following bypass, and I can fully understand ,yes I’m the same ex Rugby, Football, Golf described as a big bloke 😂 but I now find so emotional, I’m sure it’s normal as so many people describe the same feelings, and taking the positive from it maybe something I should have done a long time ago.Best wishes


When I was 17 I rode a Norton Dominator 99 (cafe racer) motorbike and wore a leather jacket with a skull and cross pistons on the back. A "bad boy".

Now at 68 and five years after my first heart attack I cry at a Lassie advert 🥲

Who cares I’m still here and can afford a box of tissues 👍😂

-007- Licensed to Pill 💊

Totally get your story.I'm 52 & had TIA's & stroke 3yrs ago caused by af & high BP. I then developed chronic fatigue & things have never been the same.

I've had to take ill health retirement & life now is a polar opposite from where I was before.

I've been a massive gym goer since my teens, boxing & weight training & a beast in all things, but no longer.

Now, I get tearful if the contestant wins the jackpot on Tipping Point. Anything more testing & I find it overwhelming to the point I avoid it.

I think trauma, along with massive life changes account for the emotional swing. Am I as bad as I was initially? Probably no, but I wonder.

Keep talking about it pal, don't bottle up. We're all onions & once a couple of layers come away we get softer & sweeter.

I can cry at will!!! OK maybe not so bad but i used to play rugby, still drive a motorcycle and walk a lot thanks to my meds... but it such a scary experience being in hospital and all i could keep thinking about is when i was in hospital was how far away i was from my Son (autism) who was starting school and how badly i was missing him.

i always was a bit emotional before and its taking me time to get over how bad things were, been two years now and sometimes if for some reason death or something i have watched can get to me

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