Walking away vs. trying harder: quitting revisited

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

When gymnast Simone Biles made the shocking decision to opt out of the women’s team final at the Tokyo Olympics, blowhard pundits (like the insufferable Piers Morgan) declared that there is “nothing heroic or brave about quitting.”

Simone explained that she needed to “focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being”.  Even for narcissistic blowhards, Morgan’s response to her decision was out of line. Sometimes, walking away can be the wisest and most thoughtful choice we could possibly make.      .      .       .              . Continue reading “Walking away vs. trying harder: quitting revisited”

Good anxiety: is that even possible?

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters   

There’s anxiety, and then there’s ANXIETY.  When Dr. Wendy Suzuki wrote about anxiety recently in her Globe and Mail essay, she wasn’t talking about clinical levels of anxiety requiring medical treatment, but what she calls our everyday anxiety:  

You would think that, after 18 months, we might feel better prepared to manage the continuing effects of the pandemic, but instead, our recent history seems to have simply added to our collective anxiety.”

She views this “everyday anxiety” as a new approach to understanding anxiety.       .   Continue reading “Good anxiety: is that even possible?”

The familiar self, the unfamiliar self and the recovery of self

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters   

As Bruce Springsteen once sang, “You get used to anything. Sooner or later it just becomes your life.”(1)  Bruce was right. Since being diagnosed with heart disease in 2008, I’ve observed a bizarre and surprising change in my ability to adjust to ongoing cardiac symptoms. My symptoms have not changed. But at some point, I just got better at adjusting to them.

In fact, I suspect that the chest pain which just feels “normal” to me by now would make most other people head straight to the Emergency Department.      .       .      Continue reading “The familiar self, the unfamiliar self and the recovery of self”

How kids cope when a parent has a heart attack

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

In response to last week’s blog post about cortisol (which featured Dr. Doreen Rabi’s surprising explanation of how this stress hormone rises among heart attack patients AFTER hospital discharge), Jan Oldenburg sent me a note. Her note simply said:

I’m guessing our children’s stress levels were higher, too. My husband Jon was only 46 at the time of his heart attack.”  . . . .     .     . Continue reading “How kids cope when a parent has a heart attack”

Post-heart attack: why we feel worse before we feel better

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

Discharge from the hospital is a highly difficult time for both patients and families, who are often under-supported. Our study found that the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in heart attack patients increased sharply after hospital discharge – and they can stay elevated for months.” 

The study that Dr. Doreen Rabi described to me may help to answer the question that so many of my Heart Sisters readers have been asking for years: Why do I feel worse after my heart attack before I start to feel better?   .     .    .     Continue reading “Post-heart attack: why we feel worse before we feel better”

The “new normal” – and why patients hate it

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

The “new normal”.  It’s what the freshly-diagnosed heart patient is supposed to get used to now. The implication seems clear:  Forget about your old life and the person you once were.”  Many of us fight that “new normal” label, but there might be another way to look at this.   . Continue reading “The “new normal” – and why patients hate it”