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Coping with trauma after heart operations

LMD Community member Posts: 21 Connected
edited November 2021 in Mental health and wellbeing
I came out of hospital after 5 weeks and 5 operations all heart related but Im just not adjusting to the fact that I nearly lost my life, I'm so scared to close my eyes at night and I can still smell the disinfectant. Ive been in touch with Talking Therapies from my GP but theres a massive waiting list. How have those in my position got themselves back, id love to know. Last night I had a sleeping pill, I just needed sleep x


  • pollyanna1052
    pollyanna1052 Community member Posts: 2,032 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello, I'm sorry to hear how low you are feeling.
    Have you thought about getting in touch with The British heart Foundation? I would think they have support groups with people who understand how you feel. I would think they will understand what you are going through.

    I hope things improve for you.
    Take care xxxx
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome 

    Sorry you are feeling this way maybe speak to your gp again and ask if anything else they recommend 
  • LMD
    LMD Community member Posts: 21 Connected
    Never thought of the Heart foundation, I will call them on Monday. Just keep thinking its going to happen, even the slightest niggle send my anxiety through the roof and beeping sounds too from ICU :( 
  • WestHam06
    WestHam06 Community member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,396 Pioneering
    Hi @LMD
                     Welcome to the community and thank you for joining us. How are you? I'm really sorry to hear that you are having a difficult time, I can imagine what a worry this must be for you. As other members of the community have suggested, it may be worth contacting the British Heart Foundation to see if they are able to offer any support. Also it may be worth contacting your GP to ask if they can offer alternatives whilst you have to wait. I'm going to tag in one of our Scope team members to see if they are able to offer any further advice, @Cher_Scope. Please do take a look around the community and join in with any conversations which may be of interest to you. I'm sorry I can't be of much help but I do hope things improve soon. Thank you.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,504 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @LMD :) Welcome to the community.

    That must have been a traumatic experience for you, and it's completely understandable that you'd still have anxieties around your health. 

    Waiting lists for talking therapy are unfortunately quite long, but I'd definitely encourage you to get on the waiting list so that you can access it at a later date. If you live in England, you can refer yourself for talking therapy through IAPT if you'd prefer.

    Have you tried any self-help techniques to help cope with your anxiety before? Many people find grounding techniques (Living Well) quite helpful. Please just let us know if this is something you'd like to know more about.

    Here's a link to BHF support groups and online communities, which might help you to connect to others who've been through something similar as mentioned above. 

    It could also be worth getting in touch with Anxiety UK. You can do so through:
    Do you have friends or family you can speak to if you feel you need to lean on someone for support? 
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  • LMD
    LMD Community member Posts: 21 Connected
    Thank you all,  I have been making a few phone calls and have been speaking with a nurse at the hospital who does counselling after this sort of thing. Its a slow process, still feeling unsure of my future but grateful for being alive.
  • Luna51
    Luna51 Community member Posts: 284 Pioneering
    Hello @LMD

    My partner of 30 years had open heart surgery in 2019 to replace a heart valve.
    Following surgery, he felt very tearful and emotional and had heightened 'health anxiety' for quite some time afterwards (and still does on some days) We were told that these reactions are totally normal after such a life changing event and not to feel afraid of those emotions, as most people do go through them. 

    Bit of a cliché but as we've discovered, time really is a great healer, and for my partner, each day brought with it a little more confidence that he was okay..

    Sending best wishes to you ?

  • LMD
    LMD Community member Posts: 21 Connected
    Thank you, I’m so glad he’s on the mend. 
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 11,806 Disability Gamechanger
    edited July 2021
    I had major open heart surgery in 2017 a week after I buried my mum, and having developed a severe chest infection 24 hours later spent a week almost in ICU, and then on returning to the ward was told my heart rate was bouncing from 65 to 180 and they would take me back to theatre and stop then restart my heart.
    It was a truly awful and depressing time and it was months before I felt really better.
    The worst thing is because I can't take warfrin due to my epilepsy i had to have the pigs valve and they only work for ten years, son in five years time it all starts again.
    But it was well worth it, and heart wise i have been 100% better for the op.
    I do remember one thing and that was we missed our grandsons 3rd birthday and that one thing amongst all the others broke my heart, I cried for almost a day.
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