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Heart Failure & Mental Health!

So when you think about heart failure, I guess some people may not coincide it with mental health. For some of us, the mental health struggles are unreal. From anxiety to psychotic episodes, the thought process, loneliness, emotional and physical pressures, are similar.

According to the British Heart Foundation...

Existing studies suggest people with cardiac conditions are three times more likely to suffer from depression and/or anxiety than the general population.

And you know what?! I absolutely get it. From that moment of being diagnosed & both thinking and feeling that my whole world has turned upside down, remembering my ‘fitter’ days, I was a ballerina, tap dancer, gymnast 🙄, thinking about what was planned for my future, my children, partner, family, friends, career.... the list goes on.

Survival Mode!

I remember the point of being diagnosed, and about 5 weeks later I felt anxiety like I’d never felt it before (OK, here we go! I love travelling but have developed a fear of flying.... which I’ll save for another day). It was literally go to the shops, I started getting ready, but could feel butterflies in my stomach, I knew I was only going to get a couple of bits, but the thought of leaving the house made me feel physically sick. I automatically felt like there was a weight on my shoulders, I was teary, my palpitations felt like they were painful. I hated it. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s here and I was now sweating like a beast! I wouldn't say my 'episodes' were a regular thing, they come and go, but what I have started to realise is that, they're not as bad when I'm at home, indoors... maybe its because its my comfort zone?🤷‍♀️ I'm learning to cope, slowly understanding my triggers and learning to be in control of the anxiety, not letting it be in control of me!

Professor Tylee says

It’s not unusual to have a delayed emotional reaction to a heart event. At times of extreme stress, the trauma often gets pushed down and may not emerge till months or even years later.

As scary as it sounds... it’s true.

So, I’m shouting out to those who spend days fighting battles no one sees, dealing with anxiety that no one feels & crying tears that no one dries. Everyone is struggling with something and some are struggling in silence. Mental health is not a destination, but a process.

And do you know what...

It’s OK, not to be OK!! 👌

I’m learning to deal with my anxiety, but the smallest thing could trigger it off... sometimes I can feel it coming, like the time going to the shops. Other times it’s like I unintentionally prep for it! I could know I’m going on a journey in the car, depending on the route I have to take, I have a mini panic attack just thinking about going through a particular tunnel, on a particular road, if it’s a long journey. Any of those things would set my anxiety off, from just the thought of them.

I know my anxieties are small, I know I was in a low place after being diagnosed & still am from time to time, but it’s knowing my coping methods (which is improving 🤯), there are times when I know I’m in ‘that place’, times when I don't realise until I check myself, but its a process, a journey but also an experience.

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life.

SOURCE: British Heart Foundation - Coping with anxiety and depressions

NHS.UK - Generalised anxiety disorder in adults


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