Tag Archives: stress response syndrome

Depressed? Who, me? Myths and facts about depression after a heart attack

24 Jan

fake-smile

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

I have a friend who has a friend who’s been depressed, off and on, for years. During that time, my friend and I have done our fair share of eye-rolling whenever the subject of this person’s depression came up. We wondered why she just couldn’t pull up her socks and quit all this self-absorbed moping around.

Neither my friend nor I had ever had one nanosecond of actually experiencing clinical depression ourselves – which, of course, didn’t stop us from passing judgement.  Continue reading

When survivors feel depressed instead of lucky

3 May

www.myheartsisters.org

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I was recently reminded of the perverse nature of expectations (like expecting to feel happy and grateful after surviving a heart attack or other life-threatening diagnosis) when I read the following by Dr. Peter Kramer, who wrote this for The New York Times:  Continue reading

When are cardiologists going to start talking about depression?

3 Jan

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

I can vividly remember those early days and weeks at home after surviving a heart attack, especially that cold creeping anxiety around how I “should” be feeling. I had just survived what many do not: what doctors still call the “widow maker” heart attack. (By the way, note the gender semantics there, please: doctors are not calling this the widower maker”).

I was now resting comfortably, both of my darling kidlets had flown back home to be with their Mum, our home was filled with flowers, get-well cards and casseroles delivered by the daily line-up of concerned friends, family, neighbours and co-workers.

So why was I feeling so bleak inside, and even worse, now feeling guilty for all that bleakness?  Continue reading

Women heart attack survivors may be as psychologically traumatized as victims of violence

25 Jul

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

I’ve sometimes heard doctors describe a heart attack as “small”. But only doctors – you’ll rarely hear a heart attack survivor say it. Doctors who talk this way are looking only at blood tests that assess heart muscle damage, angiograms for coronary artery blockages, EKG readings for erratic heartbeats, and echocardiograms for valve damage or reduced heart function.

If these test results on paper aren’t too deadly – well, it must be only a “small” heart attack.

But a study reported in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology last month reinforced what all heart attack survivors already know but their doctors may not: a heart attack can leave people as psychologically traumatized as victims of violence. Continue reading

Depressing news about depression and women’s heart disease

3 Jul

.by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

Women suffering from depression have higher risks of developing heart disease, and women with heart disease have higher risks of becoming depressed. I find this reality a bit depressing…

I was stunned to find myself in that latter group within weeks of my own heart attack. With no personal experience of depression, I knew something was terribly wrong with me, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what that might be. I had just survived a massive heart attack – shouldn’t I be feeling fabulous and grateful?  Continue reading