Pacemaker

I am 4 weeks out and I can not stop crying. It comes over me constantly! Will this go away? I am on antidepressants.


14 Comments

Crying

by Persephone - 2021-12-27 00:22:59

Dear Smthbrbr3 - I'm very sorry to hear of your situation.  4 weeks out is a very short time, so hopefully you are feeling improvement with each new day.  Funny, in my case, a couple of massive oak trees smashed part of my house on day 6 of my recovery after an unexpected PM implant. While it was a pain to deal with the rebuilding of the house, in an odd way, it was a almost a relief to have something to distract me from the PM thing.  So my point is - please try to find something to take your mind off of your situation for at least a bit of the day - getting out in the fresh air, rekindling a lost hobby, adopting a pet.  I know this all sounds very simplistic, but sometimes the simple things help us make progress forward.  I assume you are seeing a professional to work with you while you're taking the antidepressant.  I benefited from this medication for several years in the past - these meds are extremely helpful for many people but of course need to be monitored. I hope you're feeling better each day and please update us here on how you're doing.  You'll get through.

 

Emotions, yes this will go away if you give it time and get the help you most need

by Gemita - 2021-12-27 06:38:22

Like Persephone my heart goes out to you and to anyone suffering from depression, anxiety and any other emotional distress at this time.  Combine this with any physical symptoms you may be having following your implant and you will be feeling tearful and wondering what you have done to deserve this?  I realise whatever I say is not going to immediately help you, but time, healing and talking about your feelings will certainly help you to get through this difficult period.  

I attach a link of a recent Pacemaker Club message from another member in a similar position.  Please paste this into your browser if you wish to read some inspiring accounts of what others found helpful:

https://www.pacemakerclub.com/message/41578/counseling-therapy

In the meantime, please be assured that crying will do you no harm, in fact it will help to release your deepest emotions, fears, anger, help you to sleep and to find the care you most need.  Many members report the psychological symptoms following pacemaker implant are harder to overcome and deal with than the actual condition the pacemaker will hopefully successfully treat. 

I wish you well

Yes, it will get better

by Julros - 2021-12-27 11:04:40

I am so sorry for your depression. Please make use of a professional counsellor in addition to medication. Many of us have been where you are at, and have overcome. 

This will seem trite, but just doing the basics, which can seem overwhelming, is important. Eat a healthy diet. Do some sort of activity/exercise to get you moving. Make the effort to look put together--nice clothes, styled hair, make-up (if that's your thing). Do something that gives you pleasure, whether its wearing a nice scent, going to a movie, reading a good book. Try to focus on something besides your sadness, even if for only a few minutes at a time. 

It will get better. 

Crying excessively.

by Selwyn - 2021-12-27 11:11:45

For most people mood varies. We all have our ups and downs. Clearly you are having a period of being down. This is very distressing. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Even the worst depressions tend to settle with time. Of course, you want to minimise  the length of time you have lows. Medication, of the right type, at the right dosage can take a number of weeks to help lift mood. You can also help yourself. How?

Exercise is the more useful therapy for low mood/depression. It produces endorphins (those chemicals drug addicts crave) and whilst making us tired has a knock on effect in elevating mood. It also helps with muscle relaxation and sleep.

Taking time out to count your blessings is important as it is easy to pass positive things by. Here, for instance, are people that do care about you and how you are. This is a blessing. Other blessings in life are easily missed. Try and write down the positives  on a dayto day basis and keep a record of these. You can then look through your list when you are having lows and remind yourself of some of the good things happening to you. 

Taking treats helps. What did you enjoy in the past? Try to recollect. Maybe old photos, or letters help? Treat yourself. Have a little something to look forward to, and make time to appreciate that moment. 

No one ever got better by being by themselves and doing nothing. There are groups to join, and people to help. Certainly, talking about how you feel is beneficial.  If you do have thoughts of harming yourself, you should seek some professional help.

Depression is almost universal after major surgery.  It is almost always temporary. How long this lasts for depends on what you do, and also on the help you obtain. 

The vast majority of people with pacemakers have normal life expectancy. They have some reassurance that they are less likely than the undiagnosed to have a fatal heart arrhythmia. The vast majority of pacemaker people have increased quality of life due to their pacemakers. There are regular health check ups. There is very little in life that a pacemaker will stop you from doing.  I've just returned from a cycle ride along our coast and count my blessings that at our age ( and I am the same age as you) I can do this, as I know some other people are not able to be so active.  Do stay in contact and let us know how you are doing. If you find something helpful, then let others know as we all have varying moods in life. 

Best wishes for a happy 2022.

Thanks for sharing the link

by Persephone - 2021-12-27 12:30:39

Gemita - thank you for sharing the link - I hadn't viewed that thread.  Julros - will check out the book you recommend.  Selwyn - I recently pulled out my little indoor cycle that was gathering dust, and it has already changed my life.  Happy New Year to all - especially to you, Smthbrbr3 - all of these fine people here have got your back :)

stay strong

by athena123 - 2021-12-27 16:50:39

We all been down that road and some of us are still trying to get up that hill. There is light and you will be fine. Im on a light dose of anti anxiety because were all humans and our bodies and emotions all function differently. keep yourself occupied and set goals for yourself. therapy is great and will help but dont give up. stay focus and learn to breath with meditation. its helped me and will help you as well. Remember, your going to come out on top and you will be fine.

Crying

by Smthbrbr3 - 2021-12-28 22:21:57

Thank you everyone for responding to my post! I am better today! I called the cardiologist and they were no help. I called the psychiatrist and left a message and no one ever called me back! You guys helped me believe that things will get better in time! Your responses made me feel like someone understands! My heart doctor also took me off hormones which I think is making me feel bad. Does anyone take hrt after pacemaker? 

Crying

by Gemita - 2021-12-29 06:36:57

Smthbrbr3, I am glad we have been able to help you.  Crying is not usually a matter for the cardiologist as you will appreciate but I am surprised the psychiatrist was so unhelpful. 

HRT?  I do not have any information on your medical history, so it is difficult for me to know how to advise you.  Clearly your heart doctor took you off HRT for a reason and this reason must have been discussed fully with you?  Would you care to share with us the reasons for stopping your HRT so that we can give an opinion?

If you are having troublesome symptoms I would go to see your general doctor for advice.  There are many different forms/doses of HRT - in creams, patches, tablets or even perhaps natural, safer alternatives that might be worth discussing with your doctor?

I know about menopausal symptoms and I fully sympathise.  Symptoms can be miserable.  I came off HRT 50 mcg patches years ago (on cardiologist's advice) well before my pacemaker implant and I was much younger than you at the time.  I note you are 68.  My doctors were concerned about my breast cancer risk and also the risk of getting a blood clot.  I hope things improve for you

 

Positive vibes

by Maryiam - 2021-12-29 09:05:45

It does get better the shock when I got mine took  few months to get used too then I just felt so great I went on to have two more children my youngest is one my four children are my life from 16 to 1 my life so busy don't have time to think about ot too much xxx

Crying

by Katwilly - 2021-12-29 10:54:20

It does get better, don't get discouraged! I had severe depression and panic attacks after my PM implantation on 12/10/20. I think it was made worse because a lung was nicked during the procedure and I ended up back in the hospital for 3 days post procedure due to a collapsed lung and double pneumonia. Also, I feel my EP minimized the seriousness of the procedure to begin with. It's not just "a walk in the park," it's a life-changing operation! In my case, the pain I felt during the procedure was nearly unbearable despite numerous novocaine injections. For weeks after my implant I couldn't sleep or when I did sleep I awoke in a panic attack. My depression was so bad I even asked my EP to remove the PM. But after about a month I started to feel better; although the depression and panic attacks continued, they came less frequently. For me, the thing that helped the most was getting outside to breathe fresh air, also walking every day. And nearly a year after my implant, the panic attacks totally stopped and the depression is much more manageable (I also take an antidepressant).  So hang in there, it should get better, as you'll see from many other people on this forum!  Much luck to you. 
PS: I'm very thankful to have "Betty," my pacemaker, and feel my quality of life is much better now than it was pre-pacemaker!

Post-pacemaker

by AgentX86 - 2021-12-29 13:38:11

Hi SMTH, I just wanted to say that I had none of the problems described above, including serious pain durning the procedure (it did hurt when they made the pocket but was bareable).  I just add this, not to gloat, but as a statement that there is no "normal" recovery from PM surgery.  If the moon fell out of the sky, doctors and nurses would say "that's normal".  First, there is no normal so they just try to calm the patient down (panic doesn't help).  The downside is that this can mask real medical problems.  It's not possible to follow up all perceived problems. That's how things like the "nicked lung", above, gets missed. OTOH, I don't understand this case because lung is on the outside of the heart and not connected without going through the heart wall or a wicked wrong turn in the ventricle.

Second, many of these reactions are "normal", again, because if there is no normal, everything is normal.  Remember, that these are cardiac care professionals.  They don't deal with emotional problems. They probably should refer (all?) patients to professionals who can help with coping. Like everything in life, some are better than others.

Finally, it would be unusual for any of your cardiac care professionals to have been though the process of pacemaker implant and recovery, medical and emotional.  If they do have a pacemaker, they knew everything about the medical process before and recovery after, so they don't have the unknown to deal with.  They've seen it all so don't have the same reaction as most of us.

It may be a little strong and unfair but many have become desensitised to all of the above. See enough of anything and you do tend to get desensitised.

I agree with everyone

by TLee - 2021-12-30 11:27:02

And I will add my own experiences, just because. I have had more medical diagnoses, tests & procedures in the last few years than ever before, some with long-term, kind of depressing results. I fnd that I can deal with most anything as long as it does not mean lasting pain or discomfort. I find a real connection exists for me between how I feel physically & my mental state. Am I just feeling sorry for myself, wallowing in self pity? Yeah, maybe.

I was most bothered by my pacemaker when I was in pain & could not move easily--the first week or two after implant. After that stage passed, I was OK with it. I have COPD, but as long as my medications keep me functioning comfortably, I don't sit & contemplate my mortality. Now I am dealing with severe osteoarthritis in my hip, and the pain is beyond words! And, guess what, depression has reared its ugly head once again. I plan to have hip replacement surgery, even though I know it means more (but temporary) pain.

I think there needs to be recognition that some people take longer to bounce back from painful & traumatic situations. We may need some sympathy & extra TLC, even if others get tired of hearing us complain (think I'll make my husband read this!)

HRT

by Smthbrbr3 - 2021-12-31 11:47:14

Coming off the hormones have made things worse! The hot flashes are terrible and all my joints ache and I feel like I dry up! Everything I read on effects on the heart are really inconsistent. I have gone back on them but the heart doctor is probably not going to like it! I feel like they just don't care about how a person feels! No one talked to me about the hormones, they just stopped them in the hospital and told me not to take them!  I have been really frustrated with doctors as you can tell!! 

HRT

by Gemita - 2021-12-31 13:26:01

Well it is your body and you can do whatever you wish, but in view of your breakdown in relations with your current team of doctors, it might be best if you find a new doctor you can work with and trust, a doctor who will guide you and keep you safe as you move forward with your pacemaker. 

I would want to know in the very least why you were taken off HRT, although your age could well be a factor?   As you say, there are mixed views about the safety of HRT.  One major benefit of HRT for me was keeping my bones healthy and a better quality of sleep.  I feel since cessation of HRT my bone health has deteriorated and I now have Osteoporosis. 

You need to have that important conversation with a caring doctor (if you can find one).  Good luck

You know you're wired when...

You trust technology more than your heart.

Member Quotes

I've seen many posts about people being concerned about exercise after having a device so thought I would let you know that yesterday I raced my first marathon since having my pacemaker fitted in fall 2004.