Overcoming anxiety after a heart attack

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Hi everyone, I'm recovering from a heart attack at had last month. Fortunately I was at home when it happened with my husband who immediately called 999. They gave me a stent in the wrist within 90 minutes. I have another artery that is about 50% blocked that they didn't give me a stent for because they think I'm too young, I just turned 45.

Normally I'm a laughing, smiling, positive person and I feel younger than my age, but since this has happened I feel like part of me has died. I'm so thankful to still be alive and I try to enjoy my life, but since this has happened I'm anxious and scared that it will happen again and I'll lose my life! I'm so lucky that my husband is caring for me, but I can feel and hear myself being nasty or impatient with him sometimes because I'm in such a state. I feel terrible.

I signed up for this sight in the hopes of sharing my anxiety a bit and finding some advice from others. Has anyone else felt like this after a heart attack? How do you cope?

Flora xx

Beginning of the discussion - 16/06/2020

Overcoming anxiety after a heart attack

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@Flora75 Hello Flora75, thank you for starting this discussion. I'm sorry you've been through that, it must have been so frightening! Let me tag some members who can share their stories or advice with you.

Hello all, how are you? emoticon cute When did you have your heart attack(s)? How was your recovery period? Did you experience the same kind of anxiety that Flora75 is going through? How did you handle it? Feel free to share your stories and advice below!
@Dalrossi@Carol117@iandeare@john.n@Adrien15@Bensmum@Sue1954@Gwen15@BobDowning@diannenickisson@karenlorna@jwood09@Lorna's@seasidekatie@Lemay20@Weniki@baz2015@Lindamaria‍ 

Take care,
Courtney

Overcoming anxiety after a heart attack


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My MI was about four years ago, initially I was fine, as there was no muscle damage, or wastage; but after six weeks things got worse, personally I blame the meds. My Line Manager mucked up my sick leave. At one point forcing me to threaten to sue, as I'd lost all income. Legal advice from a professional body I'm a member of. My bosses failed to follow contractual procedures set out by NHS Scotland, I was approximately £4000 out of pocket

Overcoming anxiety after a heart attack


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@Flora75 

There are changes in brain chemistry, I also blame the meds for some side effects. Not least; it can be a life changing event.

Apparently the cardiologists don't stent anything less than a 75% blockage, relying on meds like Aspirin to thin the blood, and Statins to smooth plaque deposits

Overcoming anxiety after a heart attack

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Good advisor

@Flora75‍ 

Hi Young Lady, I trust this message finds you as well as can be expected?

I am 64 and I have had 3 heart attacks, 2008, 2009, 2019. I have 4 stents and live on drugs. 

IF you smoke the FIRST thing you do is GIVE UP, IF you DRINK cut it down a little. IF you stuff your face silly 24/7 cut down and diet.

When I had my first heart attack in 2008, I thought that was the start of a rather slippery slide? Then in 2009, my second S**T, that was 'time up????' I had followed the instructions from the consultant and given up smoking and lost a bit of weight, so. What the heck is the problem. My diet changed, I forgot to say that I was diabetic, and I started cutting down on carbohydrates and eating much more healthily as I thought.

Things went along fine after my recovery, until late 2019. I took my VW for service and on the way to the garage I experienced a bit of 'road rage'. I was very 'wound up' when I arrived and that's when it happened. I became very breathless and dizzy, just felt that I was going to pass out. Five days in hospital and I was home.  I still eat as healthily as I can, plenty of meat and veg 1 or 2 small potatoes, no snacking. 

I felt very vulnerable and alone after my second heart attack, so you've had another attack? Get on with it, was the response I received from some family and friends. So that's exactly what I did. I carried on as though nothing had happened at work and when I got home, I phoned the Samaritans a few times for someone to talk to who understood what I was going through. A tremendous help.

It sounds as though you have an incredibly supportive husband. A real 'Rock' now at this time? You NEVER KNOW when or where a heart attack will happen? Don't spend the rest of your life 'wondering WHEN??'

Think POSITIVE and LIVE your life to the FULL, Enjoy every moment with family and friends. Just get on and live out the rest of your life feeling happy with yourself. What will be. Will Be.

Take Care

STAY SAFE

Richard

Overcoming anxiety after a heart attack


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@iandeare Oh I hadn't heard about changes in brain chemistry. Do you think a heart attack can cause depression or anxiety? I'll have to look into this.

@richard0804‍ Thank you so much for your response, it's clear I need to do something about my lifestyle. I feel like my heart attack came a bit out of nowhere, kind of like your last one (besides the stress before it) so I feel blind-sided. I didn't think my diet was that poor, but I guess it's something I need to look at and adjust. 

You put into words how I feel too, vulnerable and alone, even though my husband is here for me. He hasn't had an attack so he doesn't quite know what it was like or how it felt. I might look into therapy or talking to someone as you did. Maybe they can help me ease my thoughts or find some ways to keep positive and distracted from all of it.

Thank you both

Overcoming anxiety after a heart attack


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Depression is an expected consequence from a major life event, even, if like myself, you had very mild symptoms.

The brain chemistry change makes subtle alterations to your personality; personally; I'm less patient, and angrier. There's a good chance you'll lose friends: a Facebook support forum asked that question, and drew such a response, that I believe research should be done. Some of it is that they can't deal with mortality, some seems to be otherwise. My late mother, for one, never fully acknowledged my condition, and never called the hospital when I was in.

Overcoming anxiety after a heart attack


Posted on

@Flora75 I completely understand what you describe. Like others have said, a heart attack is a scary, traumatic experience, so it's normal that it has changed affected you. I know for me it changed a lot of my behaviours and perspectives. It was a sort of "come to Jesus" moment for me where I knew I needed to make some changes to take better care of myself and my health. It took me a while to get back to "normal" too and to not be afraid of over exerting myself. It takes time. I'm sure your husband understands. 

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