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Hi, I was diagnosed with paroxysmal afib about a month ago and spent 3 dayw in the hospital not responding to meds to get my heart rate down. The third day they did a cardioversion and it worked. All my tests have come back perfect- echo showed healthy heart, calcium score is zero, chest xray normal, pulse good, bloodwork great..Yet I have been suffering from EXTREME anxiety and depression ever since. I am convinced I am going to die or have a heart attack and am afraid all of the time. As a result, I have a constant tightness in my chest (which of course, I think is my heart failing) . I was wondering if anyone else experienced this. I am starting anti-anxiety medication and have even begun counseling. I just can't seem to stop thinking about my heart all of the time.
Spencer, December 15, 2019 3:20pm EST
You will always now listen for your next heartbeat. This is what it means to be an AFib patient. But this new waynofmlifemis not a death sentence. You need to learn to live with AFib. Try an learn some mindfulness exercises to relax your mind and to give your heart some rest. My AFib caused me a lot of anxiety and I know that some of my surgeries were necessary because of my anxiety. I now use some mindfulness and guided meditation to reduce stress. There is a new normal that you are part of and learning to relax your mind is part of that. I hope this helps.
In the sunlight
depotdoug, December 16, 2019 2:15am EST
Most people don't even know that anxiety causes AFIB or AFIB causes anxiety. Maybe I should re-emphasize that medical or rather behavioral fact to my medical oncologist.
yes, my cancer doctor. It seems to me some doctors do not or don't want to acknowledge medical Anxiety is real. On my case The formula goes Anxiety = Energy sq'd ... I feel like my doctors all of them, don't even want to hear that I've got GAD( but they seem to put that on my medical record). General Anxiety Disorder is the Med term. I believe that's a neglected, low level don't give a darn human disorder medical proponents don't want to treat. I do take Buspirone tabs twice a day though. That Med hasn't worked very well, yet. Anxiety will cause AFIB if it wants to, ask me about my advanced prostate cancer office visits Sept 10th and Dec 10th.
BethClark, December 16, 2019 6:14am EST
Welcome to the forum. You will find a lot of support here. If you search for the topic anxiety in the older forum postings you will see many, many postings that talk about the anxiety that many of us experience with this diagnosis of aFib. My first post was much like yours. As you learn more about aFib, and as time goes by, you will feel less anxious about it. The anxiety is not likely to go away completely but it will get a lot easier. It usually takes a while for the doctors to come up with the right treatment plan for you. What works for one person with aFib might not work for another. Keep reading the forum postings and asking questions. Meanwhile, it will be helpful to learn techniques for managing anxiety, like mindfulness as Spencer suggested. Different techniques work for different people. Your counselor should be able to teach you some techniques. My one suggestion as far as counseling goes is that you select a counselor who understands how dealing with medical issues can cause depression and anxiety. For some people, anti-anxiety meds are helpful. You should be working with an electrophysiologist (EP) to develop your treatment plan for aFib. They are the specialists in the electrical problems with the heart.
DkinAA, December 16, 2019 1:09pm EST
Some people don't feel the afib at all, and don't know anything is amiss until it shows up in a medical exam! But most of us know exactly what you mean about the anxiety. My first several months were awful. During afib, if you feel it, something is obviously wrong with our heart, and we are quite right to be upset. My own thot on this is that our emotions and our hearts are connected, so if we are upset (like from stress), our hearts can go nuts, but vice versa: if our hearts are going nuts, we interpret that as being upset, and it even makes us more upset -- an awful feedback loop, which we can interrupt to some extent. I found mindfulness meditation, removing stress, and just walking a great help. Generally, we are told that afib by itself won't kill you -- it is a condition that needs to be treated, but the real problems are the elevated risk of stroke (depending on age and other conditions), and the fact that if it goes untreated for a long time, it's bad for your heart. There are lots of treatment alternatives which a good EP cardiologist can help you with. There's plenty of info and videos available through this site and stopafib.org. But in the meantime, try to accept that it really feels a lot worse than it is. You've come to the right place - we know what you're going through!
Neanderthal, January 8, 2020 2:16pm EST
If it helps, I am in constant Afib. I go to work every day and hike in the mountains every night for 3 miles. I'm awaiting a treatment recommendation from my heart specialist. That you are now in sinus rhythm should be a relief to you.
Drumz47, January 15, 2020 5:38am EST
Welcome to the group Spencer.
i has the cardioinvetsjon which worked great for 5 years then stress brought my AFib back. I changed my diet , no more coffee or sugars related drinks , processed or canned foods and meditation daily to keep stress away from my thoughts. I’m on Pradaxa for clots and strokes while enjoying a vibrant life at 63. Relax your mind dude, enjoy your health and people in your life.