Are severe anxiety and depression common after pacemaker implant? I am 5 week’s out of having a PM.I am currently on Xanax and Lexapro for anxiety. Also, seeing a therapist. Just have never felt this way ever. Delayed reaction to other things. I am really feeling ok about my new pacemaker, but wonder if there are underlying issues? Having my BP meds checked tomorrow.



pretty common

by Uelrindru - 2019-01-13 14:24:19

got mine about two and a half months ago, when I first got it I had some wicked anxiety about simple things.  you've been through a lot and it takes awhile to get things right in your head. it's an adjustment and for most people it does get better. believe in yourself and this website has surprisingly been really helpful. just talking to people that have been through this is useful.

It's common

by Theknotguy - 2019-01-13 15:03:41

It's common for people to get depression after a heart event.  After everything else your life has been turned upside down.  Then you start thinking about having to depend upon an unknown piece of equipment to keep you alive for the rest of your life.  So, yeah, it can be depressing and you can get depressed.

I went to a psychologist who specialized in medical issues and traumatic events after I got my pacemaker.  Talking with a disinterested third party really helped to get things sorted out.  

I'm now on my fifth year with the pacemaker and don't really think about it most of the time.  I volunteer at a hospital on the heart floor.  I feel it gives  other heart patients encouragement to find out another heart patient is wheeling them out of the hospital.  I also tell funny stories to the nurses about living with a pacemaker and the things they "forgot" to tell you about having one.  

Hope you can get help with your depressed feelings.  With the pacemaker there is a lot of living to do.  Hope you can enjoy it.  


by MartyP - 2019-01-13 16:04:32

It doen't affect everyone, but when it does, it's a bitch !!

For my lessons learned:

Anxiety and Depression - For me it hit pretty hard. At the beginning, I napped a lot and felt just lousy. I would tell my wife my head was “fuzzy”. It was hard to feel “OK” with myself, particularly in the mornings. I went to my GP and after talking with him, we decided to start taking an anti-depressant, in my case the 50 mg Zoloft generic. I had been on it for about 3 weeks and it started to take off the lows, for me there are some side effects, some can be troublesome, but make sure you ask your doctor about what you might experience.  I’ve also started seeing a psychologist, Melvin is 82 and I love him!  I knew from past experiences they could help me through the next few weeks / months until I’m fully OK with myself. ------ So lesson learned - if you are anxious and or depressed, see your psychologist and/or psychiatrist. Your body has changed, your life has changed, it will pass, but you may need some help until it does. If you need to talk with someone who has the experience and talked with others, seek out a psychologist who can help you - there is no shame, it’s usually just a chemical imbalance in your brain.

Panic and Hyperventilation - On August 23, my oldest grandson was leaving for college the next morning for the first time and we are very close. Family dinner was at our house and I started to feel dizzy and weak and my heart was pounding. Went to bed and started to hyperventilate - wow that was no fun at all, couldn’t catch my breath. Called 911 and back to the hospital. A whole bunch of tests, but nothing found. I asked for a psychiatric consult and met Daniel, a wonderful psychiatrist. He upped the Zoloft to 150 mg and prescribed Ativan for breakthrough anxiety and that helped a lot. I was on Zoloft till March when I started to wean off, and now I’m off completely. It really has helped. So if you are depressed the meds can help, but wean off when your can – but work with your doctor and you don’t want to come off too fast – assume at least a month to 6 weeks.

On November 15, 2017, my wife and I had gone shopping at Kohl’s and after about 15 minutes I started feeling faint, my heart was racing, and I had to leave the store.  Got home and my blood pressure had spiked to 152 over 97 with 57 BPM.  It was a major anxiety attack that lasted till November 24th.  In addition to the Zoloft I did have the Ativan and it helped a lot!!

So as a summary, depressed from July 26th till September 4th, Panic and Hyperventilation on August 23rd and depression again from November 15th till November 24th.

So lesson learned -anxiety and / or panic and/or depression can occur and sometimes return. Your life has changed and needs time to adjust. It passed once it will pass again, you just have to muscle past it. But, if it really is stopping you from doing what you must do, seek help.

OCD and FitBit's - Yup, it can happen. For me, I started checking my blood pressure and heart rate many times a day, some days 10 or 20 times  or more.  I created a spreadsheet to track the data. Everyone told me not to do it, but I did it anyway. I got the Fitbit and the information is very detailed. It lets me know when Sparky was pacing and for how long, pulse history, sleep patterns, etc. Should I have gotten it? No way! NO WAY !!!!  The last time I saw my electrophysicist I gave it to her and was glad to get rid of it. ----- So lesson learned - if you have OCD tendencies, you may want to stay away from FitBit’s and things like it.

Time ------ So Lesson learned - time is a wonderful healer. It’s been about 19 month’s now since my near death experience, I’m off Zoloft and Ativan and I rarely think about Sparky and the sometimes difficult road it has been to get here.  I’m back to working with a trainer and lifting heavier than before Sparky arrived (185 on the bench press).  I feel good and while not knowing what lies ahead, I’m at peace.


Anxiety happens

by Gotrhythm - 2019-01-14 15:41:50

Actually, we polled the membership on this question a year or two ago. As best I can remember, the majority reported no problems with anxiety/depression, but a significant minority did have anxiety initially. So you're not alone.

Again, in my far from perfect memory, for most of those who did have anxiety, the problem resolved within a few months.

From my years of experience working with people with anxiety, I would say that both Swangirl and Robin's analyses are correct. I think for some people the flight or fight response (which is a physical thing) is on a hair trigger, and it takes longer for calm to return. Overcoming it is a matter of learning to be in charge one's thoughts and to become aware of the interface between diet, exercise and one's physiology.

What that means is that you might not always be in control of whether you feel anxiety, but you con control of how you respond to it. You can stop your mind from running away with it and from catastrophizing. There are a number of techniques that can help.

You can also learn calming techniques, meditation, guided visualization. You Tube has a million of them. And, as Robin says, diet, rest and exercise can play a big part in keeping one's physiology on an even keel.

The main takeaway is, you are not alone, others have faced this challenge and overcome it. Your pacemaker has given you a new lease on life. A brighter day and a chance to feel better than you have felt for years is waiting for you.


Big Time

by Swordsman - 2019-01-18 02:25:47

I was having some serious feelings just today. I’ll spare the collective the details other than I’ve had my pacemaker almost 6 weeks. 

I was doing “okay” then had some shocks and had to get some adjustments. Before I’m corrected to death, yes.. I know “pacing” not “shocked”. 

That being said the anxiety added to my PTSD. I had just joined this website and couldn’t wait to come here and see if I was alone. Although I am saddened to see others suffer, it did give me some reassurance I was not losing my mind.

thank you so much for posting the issue. Reading helped me a lot and I know what I have to do.

Extremely commom

by Pace_Defib_03 - 2019-03-04 06:19:53

It sucks dude. I’ve suffered with depression, anxiety, and insomnia because of my devices and heart condition. Just know you’re not alone! I found different things that help me cope with it but I still usually catch myself in anxiety/depression episodes every couple weeks

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