Hi All

12 months ago I had a total heart block and in acute care 12 days before receiving pacemaker. It took a good 9 months to recover. I felt like I was playing on deaths door step and if the door opened i would have no control or choice but to go through.  Im 100% paced, my issue is the intrusive thoughts throughout the day of flashbacks. I think I might have Post traumatic stress disorder. Im feeling well enough now, but cant seem to shake it. Any thoughts or suggestions. Thanks. 


You have something

by Theknotguy - 2020-03-13 11:23:47

The answer is yes, you have something.  I'm not a psych person so can't diagnose what you have.  

My experience was similar.  Out on the hiking trail with the dogs.  Turned the corner to go on the exit trail and everything went black.  Next thing I knew the nurse was shaking my arm telling me I had to get up.  That was six days after I was on the trail with the dogs.  Broke all the ribs on the right side and collapsed the lung doing CPR, then nurses broke ribs on left side doing CPR.  In a coma for six days.  Was in hospital 15 days, then took two years to get back to "normal".

The initial feelings of doom and gloom were overwhelming.  Trying hard to predict the future was impossible and it seemed for every two steps forward I'd take one back.  So it was really rough.  

Contacted a psychologist who specialized in trauma and heart issues.  Yes, there are people like that.  Had several sessions with her over a six month period.  It really helped.  So I would suggest the same for you.  Sometimes in life you just go along for the ride and it's scary.  I'm one of those people who likes to control the situation and when you find out you don't it's a real shock.  

Eventually you do get through it and life goes back to almost being "normal".  I say almost because when someone starts to complain about something I just smile and think, "You are in good enough shape to complain. "  Like the guy said, "What's the difference between a problem and an inconvenience?" I can tell you when you're on the hiking trail, in the middle of nowhere with two dogs and your heart stops - you have a problem.  Everything else is an inconvenience.  

I encourage you to talk with a psych type person.  It should help you get things in perspective.  I can also tell you that now, at six years out, life looks and is really good.  

Hope you can get some help.  

not alone

by dwelch - 2020-03-13 12:19:42

Everyone's experience is different, but finding out about a medical issue, as well as getting a device is not just a physical thing.   There is a mental component and it is not just the first week/month, it can come in waves.  I dont know if it helps but you are not alone in this, many of us have had our own mental journey with respect to our conditions and devices.  The nature of the treatment is visits annually, devices every 10 years or so as a reminder of our condition, hopefully you will essentially forget you have it just like a belly button or a toe you dont think about them while having them, unless you bump one into something.   I am 33 years in and 5 devices, it is truly just another boring body part like an ear or elbow its just there but not something thought about on a daily basis.  And ideally the device makes us normal, depends on the condition, but ideally it makes us normal so we dont have to think about the medical condition either.


by Swangirl - 2020-03-13 14:52:53

I'm a psychotherapist with a pacemaker and it's not unusual to have a type of PTSD when you have had a medical trauma where it felt like your life was in the balance.  The quickest best kind of therapy now for that condition is EMDR and Brain Spotting.  It would be sensible for you to get with a therapist who practices one of those modalities.  Waiting for it to subside on its own is folly.  Usually it turns into a chronic type of anxiety that is harder to treat.  This is not a do-it-yourself thing.  

Research on effective PTSD treatment

by Asystolapalooza - 2020-03-20 15:03:39


There is a good body of research on treatment for PTSD.  The American Psychological Association completed a comprehensive review of available, high quality clinical trials and published treatment guidelines and recommendations.  The info can be found here:

The findings are consistent with treatments guidelines and research reviews published by the National Center for PTSD and the (former) Institute of Medicine.

Hope this is helpful.

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