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RC2021, April 8,  2021  7:46pm EST

Anxiety After Heart Attack 38 Years Old

Hi Everyone - 
  I had a heart attack at the end of February 2021. 98% blockage in my RCA. I'm only 38 years old, but I know my lifestyle these last few years is to blame. If you saw me in person, you would think I'm in great shape. Apparently, outward physical demeanor is not the same as inward artery health. 

  Anyway, I had chest pain and symptoms for eight days before I went to the ED. It took me 30+ minutes to get to my office from the parking lot at work because I had to walk a few steps, then crouch down in pain for a few minutes before I could walk a few steps again. Stupid or not, I wasn't going to let this chest pain slow me down. On day eight, I finally went to the ED. When they told me I was having a heart attack, I told them I needed to leave for an hour or two to make sure my animals were in a safe place before going to the Cath Lab and getting admitted. I left, went home, picked them up, and brought one dog to my Dad and the other two to my Mom. I know, very stupid. My mother is upset to this day since she had no idea what was going on. 

  So, I said all that to tell you that I'm not one to stress things. I had a heart attack and still took care of business. Very stupidly, again, I know. These past two weeks, I've had extreme anxiety. My daughter and I were grocery shopping last week, and I had an anxiety attack so bad I dropped the basket and fell to the ground. I yelled to my daughter to get help right before I almost passed out. I got to my senses fast enough to stop her. But she's nine, and that was an awful experience for her. I've had attacks every day now. When I'm distracted by life, no big deal. But, as soon as I'm consciously aware of my life, they hit. 

  The question I have is, did any of you deal with this? I did see a few posts about it but didn't get the answer I wanted. I guess I'm just looking for something personalized from someone that has been here. I've had anxiety in the past but got over it by accepting the fact I might die soon. The problem now is I'm a single parent, and the thought of her without me is dreadful. I can't die until she's old enough to understand. 

Any input is appreciated. 

5 Replies
  • AHAModerator
    AHAModerator, April 9,  2021  9:06am EST

    Good morning,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the support network. I am so sorry to hear you are experiencing this extreme anxiety and anxiety attacks. Heart attacks are frightening experiences, but you should know this: you are not alone. Unfortunately, I am not a medical professional, but I'd encourage you to visit these resources on the AHA website about Life After a Heart Attack and Mental Health and Heart Health if you haven't already.

    Please keep us updated on how you are feeling.

    Best wishes,

    AHA Moderator

  • Zman219
    Zman219, April 10,  2021  11:22pm EST

    I had a triple bypass on March 15, 3021.  I also am having a problem with anxiety.  Every time I get a new pain anywhere on my left side I get anxiety.  I am feeling guilty about my lifestyle choices and what this would have done to my family which also causes anxiety when my mind wanders that way.
    One thing that has been helping me in the short term is autogenic breathing when I feel the anxiety coming on.  I stop, close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing.  Breath in through your nose for a count of four, hold it four a count of four, exhale through your mouth for a count of four and hold for a count of four then repeat.  I tell myself that I am ok.  When I do this I can often feel my heart rate go down and that I am getting the anxiety under control.    I practice this a few times a day.  For the long term I will be contacting my EAP offered through work and trying to learn new coping techniques.  
    I hope this helped a little.  You are not alone.

  • EricS
    EricS, April 12,  2021  11:19am EST


    I feel for you for sure! I'm 45 and had my MI Dec 15, 2020 but had on again off again chest pain for a year. I went to VA and kept being told it was costrocondritis. Woke up one morning with upper back pain ah no biggie went back to sleep, woke up a few hours later and went to jog up my stair and was bent over at the top out of breath. That's wierd I though, then I went to shovel snow and after a shoveling a 5×5ft section of snow I could barely breath. So not thinking the greatest drove half hour to Veterans Affairs ER and yep they said you had a heart attack. I had  a 99% clogged artery luckily in the least important one and a 50% in the widow maker artery. So you not alone being in denial for sure so don't beat yourself up. I myself kinda was expecting to someday have an MI due to having ptsd, anxiety from service and a family history of dying young.

    I am here to say though through exersize and just cutting some obvious things out of my diet, chips, soda and what not my numbers are awsome cholesterol ratio is 3.2 and 3.5 is considered great also my bad cholesterol was near 200 now is 67 recommended for us is 70. Doing those things to know I'm doing everything I possibly can do along with using the mindfulness app CALM has helped immensely. I still have moments here and there when I get a weird twinge in my chest and start to think ***. Then I just use the mindfulness practice and that seams to retract my mind on to something else. Mindfulness at first I though was BS but if you stick with it no matter how frustrating it gets it helps immensely and is a tool I use daily even when having a good day. I also have kids  9 year old son and soon to be off to college 17 yr old daughter so once again I feel ya. We have to do all we can to be here as long as we can in the best shape and when our kids see that that helps them as well to know we are trying so hard cause lord knows it's not easy! I hope that didn't sound like a lecture but we can beat this and still be around a long time if we do the right things my friend. If you want to vent chat just hit me up anytime. Take care!


  • vancet
    vancet, April 13,  2021  2:32am EST

    Still pretty fresh for you.  I'm 3 months away from my 2 year anniversary.  

    What really helped me was a mindfulness course.  It forces you to analyze your situation, be aware and focus on the things you can control. Basically awareness to help calm you down.  It's a bit of a process but it will help your brain/imagination from running away from you.  Cardiac rehab also helps if you have't done it yet.  Don't try to be macho and deal with things yourself.  The fact you're posting here is a good sign.  Mental health is a very important component to your full recovery.  

    Like you I looked to be in decent shape prior to my STEMI and 100% LAD blockage.  Was in my early 40s, normal cholesterol levels from 6 months prior, normal range  blood pressure, no family history etc. I even exercised once a week.   It seems stress and sleep apnea did me in.  

    Good luck with all the changes to your lifestyle and keep at it.  

  • Nac8814
    Nac8814, April 18,  2021  3:28pm EST

    I had my MI less then a month ago. I am a 32 year old male and it has changed my life. I also waited 2 days after the MI before going in thought it was just back pain or a pulled muscle. Had 3 stents placed had a 90% blockage and a 70% blockage. I am now in fear of every pain I feel. Still get slight feeling in my chest right above my heart and it sends me to the edge every time. It's hard for me to find enjoyment in anything. I don't sleep well and wake up with anxiety every day. Been trying my best to do breathing and distraction exercise but to be honest they don't seem to do much for me. I know this is supposed to get better with time but I always think the worst. I keep reading about stuff online and it kinda helps but also it hurts sometimes. I think that the anxiety is the worst part of all this so far. I have changed my diet quit smoking and am starting cardiac rehab in the morning also taking all my meds on time every day. I just try and tell myself i am doing everything I can do to make this better but that doesn't help much most of the time. Just wanted to share this with you so at least we know we are not alone in this. I do believe we will get better as long as we keep making good decision just gonna be a long ride with the mental side of this. Feel free to post here if it gets bad I will check in and do the same.

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