No body mentioned an anxiety disorder would develop with heart problems!

I nearly died three weeks ago with a stage three heart block. Heart rate was 20 bpm. I am a 61 year old female being treated for mild heart failure cased by left-bundle-branch block. I was taking carvedilol (Coreg). The dose was recently slightly increased which caused the heart block. At first, the beta-blocker was the primary cause. Then they put in a cardiac loop, and that recorded my heart stopping twice. I learned this on a Friday and by Monday I had a 3 wire CRT put in.  I’ve been scared to move. I feel every little wiggle and rhythm that occurs. At my doctors office, I found out that the device runs a daily test sequence - nobody told me this, either! Well, the anxiety is better, but I am taking a very low dose of Xanax. I was told to walk. I did and tried to stay as active as possible yesterday with little tasks. I did feel a lot better and actually slept most of the night.  The anxiety is really debilitating. Besides -breathing techniques, moving cold air helps with the breathing. Anyone have other techniques to share? Has anyone done hypnotherapy? What about counseling? Thanks for sharing your ideas!



by Gemita - 2019-11-13 19:19:17

Hello Storygal,

Talking therapy is what we need when we are anxious.  I have faced serious illness and had a course of CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) and Mindfulness.  You work with a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and offload all your fears.  You mustn't hold back.  It is quite painful initially because it is not easy to express what you most fear but when it is out in the open it can no longer hurt you.  It is when we keep it inside it festers.

Although medication to treat anxiety is helpful initially, long term I wouldn't recommend it because it will only suppress your feelings.  You need to express them.

During therapy I learnt to pace myself (!) and not to do too much one day and then have no energy the next.  We could all learn something from this since with a heart condition, pacing ourselves is vital to protect us. Therapy will also teach you various breath control techniques which can be so therapeutic and relaxing.  In fact focussing on your breath is an important part of Mindfulness.  We all need to be more mindful in everything we do and both CBT and Mindfulness is therapy we all need more of.

Finally take care of yourself and don't be afraid.    Your pacemaker is there to protect you and if you work with your doctors and learn as much as you can about your new friend, you will do very well.  Good luck

I hear ya

by Pacer2019 - 2019-11-14 01:20:08

I know exactly were you are coming from. First I will say use the Xanax carefully's highly addictive and becomes hard to kick. If no careful you quickly realize you feel anxious because you need more...kind of a double edged sword.  Short term I might suggest lorazepam .... not as addictive and easier to stop. 
when I was 44 I had a quintuple heart bypass ...13 years ago . After that I lived in fear .... every ache or pain I git scared. So scared I showed up at the hospital three times convinced I was having a heart episode. 

the first two times they found nothing wrong and sent me home. I would go on tip toeing around. The third time I went the doctor told me "I see this is your third trip. I am going to do a heart catherization and it will prove once and for all you are fine.... you have all new plumbing and if I was you I would push myself with everything i have " he went on to say "in fact if  you keep living like you are living what you fear will eventually happen "

he did the heart cath ....all was well and it changed my life. 
since then I can't begin to tell you how many miles I've run or weights I've lifted or no racquetball matches I've played! 

last month I had a pacemaker installed ..... physically and mentally here I go again. I still feels those fears and doubts but know the only option once cleared is to push and push hard ..... maybe one day the will find me on a running path but I will have been trying to live.... not trying to not die as there is a huge difference .

"play to win .... don't play to not lose or you ultimately will" 

God Bless 



Play to win

by AgentX86 - 2019-11-14 13:49:48

Play to win but we ALL will lose eventually. It's what happens between now and then that matters,  though.

I've been on Keppra, which is a major downer, for the last month. I understand the suicide warnings, really, but also understand that it's not me. They're changing drugs but it'll take another month.

Remember, in life it really is  mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. It's up to you.

You know you're wired when...

Intel inside is your motto.

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I, too, am feeling tons better since my implant.