Hear2Heart
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Hear2Heart, September 6,  2020  1:57pm EST

On ANXIETY and DEPRESSION and recovery

Firstly, I have complex PTSD beyond anxiety, but it seems to me that the concepts should be similar. If you have pre-existing behaviorial healh issues before cardiac care, you may be subject to them afterwards, maybe in overdrive.  Maybe this crisis situation could surface at least event-driven anxiety or depression that you are not normally subject to. We all need help, hence this forum --- I hope and pray that my experience and observations may help you!!!

Anxiety was a trigger to the severe constant angina for a couple of days that led me to the ER and then to be hospitalized, where the heart cathereterization showed the 80% blockage that led to angioplasty and stent placement. The apparent angina countinue and the first hospital discharged me despite the continued chest pain. The second and better hospital gave me medication that controlled the angina, but I am still not feeling myself yet or ready to go back to work.

I talked with a counselor today and she confirmed what I thought --- I have some sort of residual anxiety, some from the particularly stressful week (trigger) that put me in the hospital and then the anxiety of getting my angina resolved to insure that it wasn't a serious health problem and so that I could reduce the chest pain to a level that I could actually work and concentrate. 

However, the counselor validated that even though ALL stress triggers are gone, anxiety will prevent you from feeling quite like yourself. From a layman's perspective, the part of the brain that processes the stress is a required path to the executive part of the brain, the latter giving you the ability to think clearly. So, with a disconnect from these two parts of the brain, you can't concentrate well or feel perfectly normal.

So, it appears there there may be more than one tale of caution:

- Anxiety contributes to angina, so upon recovery, try to stress yourself out too much, avoid stress. It depends on your situation at work - but fortunatey, I have short-term disability to rely upon - if possible, don't force yourself back to work too quickly if you are overcome with anxiety or it could be a disaster. See if you can ease into it, by - for instance - starting with half days.

- Even with all cardiac issues fairly well resolved, residual anxiety can wear you down. Don't be ******* yoursefl!  Realize that it is reasonable and almost expected under your circumstances. Seek empathy and compassion from your family, friends, coworkers and boss to provide you support to get though this difficult time. Don't bottle up your frustrations inside you, it helps to heal to discuss them with your support network.

- Consider the need for professional psychological counseling. Sometimes, the advice you need may be beyond what your friends and family can provide; you may need medication to deal with the anxiety, even for the short-term transition. I've gotten anti-anxiety prescriptions from my primary care physican as a last resort.

God bless you to help and heal you during this potentially difficult time of cardiac recovery.

 

3 Replies
  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, September 9,  2020  10:19am EST

    You are so very right. Professional therapists brings a great deal to healing from a heart or stroke incident. Thank you for bringing this up. Best Katie

  • steveSD
    steveSD, November 9,  2020  7:17pm EST

    This really hits home for me. I walked around for over a week while having a heart attack (which I didn't know was possible, having only known about cardiac arrest vs. heart attack) because I thought my chest pains were from a panic attack and and I'd had those every so often for years. I finally went to urgent care and I thought the doctor was going to faint when he looked at my EKG. He called 911 to take me to the ER where I stabilized quickly and waited almost 2 days to get a stent and find out 3 arteries were blocked but they couldn't get through 2. I went a month later for another one. Talk about anxiety. Every flutter or twitch makes you think it's happening again. I had ranexa for angina and as I got stronger and healthier I eventually had no more symptoms and went off the meds. Stress was my primary trigger though. Exercise actually made me feel better. My teenage son, not so much. I probably could have used a therapist early on. I'm grateful for this support network to make me feel less alone and know that it can get better. This has been a difficult year and many issues came back but overall I'm doing a lot better and still moving forward. Walking my dog is great and I recommend cardiac rehab to everyone. It helped me figure out what my body can do. - Stay healthy. Steve

  • AieshaP
    AieshaP, February 13,  2021  7:08am EST

    Hey man, maybe I`m a little late but I saw this post and really wanted to drop a comment. I`m really wondering if you have ever tried using medical cannabis or CBD, the legal substance of Cannabis. My Father has also suffered from PTSD since he is a war vet, after about 2 years he got cannabis prescribed just to "test it out". This really made a big impact in his life, because he was much more able to deal with the symptoms and didn't really feel down, which did happen to him with normal medication. I suggest reading this article for a little more information; https://www.zamnesia.com/blog-new-cannabis-study-on-ptsd-finally-begins-n1193 

    wish you many happy and healthy years!

    -Aiesha

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