Is this normal?

Hi All,

It's taken me what seems like a long time to write this, but I think I'm just starting to feel it now.

Short story is I'm 43 and had a SCA in Sept 2011, install defib. SCA in December 2011, with multiple shocks from defib, because they missed the blocked LAD, ended up with 2 stents.

Spend a couple of months in cardiac rehab because I didn't (and still don't) have a lot of confidence. I know I"m better, or better than December anyway, but I live in fear every day....

The fear has brought on a bout of depression, which seemed to get worse right after I was released from rehab (my stress test came back A-OK - which is good). The depression has caused stress on the marriage, and I've pulled back from my friendships inexplicably because my friends want to be there. The marriage was shaky to begin with and now I'm just a bundle of anxiety and nerves and feeling like I'm going through this on my own.

I am starting to see someone about this and I hold out hope that I will get better, regardless of the outcome, but I'm wondering....

Is it normal to be so screwed up in the head after the heart issues? Does anyone else feel the same way, or been through a period of depression related to thier heart? How about anyone who has come out the other side to give me some hope.....

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I am 20 months post scad, I am still suffering depression. I live in fear everyday, of another heart event.

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"Normal" is such a hard word to define. I had my heart attack in Dec. 2011 (age 56). I was most certainly in denial when I had the pain and almost did not go to ER but fortunately I did. Had the heart attack in the ER and have a stent.

I just completed 3 months of Cardiac Rehab. I was reluctant to go as it was so far outside of my comfort zone (exercising with strangers and where there are men and women) but I am SO glad I went. One of my greatest fears about graduating from Cardiac Rehab (I actually cried when given my diploma) was how am I going to do this on my own? For the first time in so long, I had to be accountable to someone about ME. I had several others concentrating on ME. ME was the focus for 3 months - not that I neglected my family (my husband of 37 years May 17th, my son, daugther--in-law and 3 grandbabies) or friends but I made MYSELF as important as I made others. I was really scared and I admit - that I still am.

A few things I am doing to help myself (I have learned that I MUST take care of myself) is that I am logging my exercise and my activities (as I cannot afford to go a gym): I use a pedometer to measure my daily steps and challenge myself to increase the steps each day.

BRB - need to log off.

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Sorry about that. I do not have but one friend (in the same state and she lives 45 mins away and has her own health problems) but I do try to keep in contact with her as much as possible. My daugther-in-law is trying to lose (baby) weight and she will periodically text me to see if I have exercised. None of this is the same, however, it is the best I have and I MUST make the best of what I have available or I am going to end up in trouble again.

I also was participating in a Stress Management (in connection with Cardiac Rehab) study. Once a week there were a group of us that met. We introduced ourselves and told our cardiac event stories. We learned different stress coping and communication skills. Our homework was to put what we learned to use and journal it. Now, sadly, this group has come to an end. We will meet one more time in June to discussion our individual (test) results but then that will be that. Unfortunately, I will probably never see any of the group members again as they live in a different city than I - I will miss them. Having this come to an end, causes me anxiety and sadness. I have grown to looking forward to our meeting and be surrounded by people who are close to my age, who have had similar cardiac events and who REALLY understand what I have and am going through. I am going to see if I can afford to see someone professionally to help me through the next hurdle.

Through this process I have done many things so far outside of my comfort zone and survived - yeah me! I have learned that I must, in a sense, reinvent myself (which is probably a good thing). I have to find a NEW normal and believe that it can be just as good (even though different) if not better..

I am learning how to TAKE CONTROL of ME. I am going to the doctor more and not only asking more questions but insisting on answers. I am taking my meds and making adjustments (with the doctor) as necessary. I am learning new ways to enjoy foods without salt and lower fat contents (although neither was a huge problem).

I do have more nighttime (actually very early morning) anxiety. I have had insomnia for years but now I have dreams that awaken me with my chest pounding (a different feeling that chest pain). I feel extreme anxiety and have a hard time calming down and relaxing enough to at least rest. This concerns me and I am going to work on finding a solution.

Remember - NO ONE should make you feel guilty or odd for the way you feel. There is NO defined time line on when you should feel normal. No one has the right to say to you "just get over it" and "move on". Unless they have experienced what we have, they truly do not understand.....AND even if someone has experienced, remember we all heal different and at different rates.

You have made some positive moves towards finding your NEW normal. You are seeing someone - this is good. Keep it up. However if this person does not work out, seek out someone else. You have joined this group (website). There are A LOT of caring people here who REALLY understand. One of the people in the group said something to the effect that her heart attack is what happened to her but she is not going to let it define her life. Our lives have changed but we can find happiness and hopefully over time your fear will lessen.

I used to have a visual that if my heart rate got up too high (higher than the recommended number based on my stress test prior to beginning Cardiac Rehab) it would explode. I lived with that visual for awhile until I asked question about my heart rate and activity. I actually participated in my first WALK (March for Babies) in March. I walked 3.1 miles in less than 1 hour (would have walked faster but there were so many people). I was so proud of myself.

I realize that men and women heal and process things differently. My husband has a lot of medical problems and he and I deal with our conditions totally different. He tends to internalize things more than I. He tends to get more angry (than other emotions). I wish I could get him to use some of the strategies that I have learned but he is his own person. Perhaps in time. Actually, he has (even though he may not be aware of it) actually made a few changes with his communication.

I am sorry that your marriage is not what it should be and that you do not have the support you (and we all) need. Please do not suffer in silence. Reach out to this group and I believe you will be glad you did.

Best of luck to you.

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Thank you Daisy. I know I'll continue moving forward, but at times it's just overwhelming. Now is one of those times...

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Hi. I so know how you feel! I had open heart surgery march 1 and I changed my life forever! It was unexpected no symptoms just a murmur. Went in for echo was told I need surgery. I am 43 and n good health. Everyone told me I would feel so much better after the surgery but I want feeling bad. I was not prepared forthe emotions that came after. Wow! My world came crashing down. I am alo married w 2 children. Its taken a toll on my relationships. Just know you are never alone. God is always with you! Depression is very common in people w heart issues but you don't have to allow it to stay. God can and wants to deliver you from all worry and fear! Seek Jesus! He is the way, the truth, and the life!!! I am praying of you!

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