Anxiety and ocd

I have ocd and it seems a bit worse since getting a pacemaker and having a faster heart rate. Has anyone else experienced this and did it get better after some time passed?


It gets better!

by happy2bealive - 2019-08-04 22:00:06

Hey- good news is it gets WAY better. I got my PM 3 months ago, and it was a complete shock to me (no pun intended). Healthy, athletic, young (32) and BAM needed a PM installed in an emergency heart stopping situation. 

Before hand I never had anxiety/OCD or anything, but after experiencing that trauma, and the weirdness of having a foreign object in my body controlling if I die or not, I was a nervous wreck! Panic attacks, and anxiety like crazy. 

I did a few things. I made an effort to stop watching my bpm on my watch. I met the panic/anxiety dead on, whenever it came I took a deep breath and realized it for what it was (not my heart giving out again), and I've read and re read a lot of posts on this forum. 

Hang in there, I'm still a "newbie" but these little steps have helped me a lot. Time heals all wounds, and the most helpful thing I keep reading is how people have had PM's for 30+ years and they forget they even have them!



Outside help

by Theknotguy - 2019-08-05 07:39:48

It's normal to find yourself thinking about the pacemaker and all the implications that go along with your new situation.  Also the amount of trauma you may have had when you got your pacemaker can have an impact too.  

I got my pacemaker after passing out, getting CPR, and waking up in the hospital.  I think it was nine months before I got out of the car and walked across the parking lot without thinking about my pacemaker, but eventually you do stop thinking about it all the time.  

Since you have OCD, you may have trouble trying NOT to think about your pacemaker.  If that is the case I would suggest taking time with a psychologist or similar type person to help you deal with the situation.  I had read somewhere that people with heart problems can go into depression post event, so I worked with a psychologist for a while.  She was able to change my perspective and it helped a lot.  

Hope this helps.  

Pacer Anxiety

by Marybird - 2019-08-05 12:09:39

I'm a newbie myself ( dual chamber pacemaker put in almost 8 weeks ago) and understand the anxiety of such a life changing event. But I've found so much has improved over that time I'm welcoming those changes that I thought would bother me post-pacer.

I decided I'd quit wearing my Garmin watch so I couldn't as easily keep track of the heartrate-I knew it would always be at least 60 with the pacer (well, 55 now that the EP reset the baseline to that rate, for sleeping, he said). I can still hear the beats in my ear (pulsatile tinnititis,) so I have a general idea but it's mostly just background noise that I pay little attention to. The thing is, I know the heart rate is ok for what I need, (now that the EP turned on the rate response) and I'm actually happy to hear those faster heart rates.

I thought the faster rates would bother me after a couple years of the bradycardia, but I find they aren't associated with any palpitations or pounding, and it feels good to have a heart rate that actually keeps up with my activities-pretty much, anyway. 

It also seems at this point the medicine combination I take (low doses of diltiazem and metoprolol) is doing a good job of keeping my atrial tachycardia under control, so that helps in feeling overall better. If I feel an occasional flutter or racing, it's not enough to bother me and it's all recorded for prosperity on the pacemaker records. There's a atrial tachy-a-fib alert feature on this pacer, so in the event I have a significant event of that nature my provider will be alerted and we go from there.

Now, am I still aware of the pacemaker? Yeah, I still feel it when I lean over, turn on either side at night, and sometimes it just feels like a light something sitting on my chest, but it's not painful and it doesn't bother me. There's a little twinge (or itch) from the incision site occasionally, but it's healing well and I anticipate the day I will forget it's there. 

So I'd say, yes, it does get better, and in my experience, so far, it's given me peace of mind. 



Addition to my post....

by TessaD - 2019-08-05 12:39:16

Im not saying my anxiety is about my pacemaker, or about my new heart rate. Im just feeling that because my heart rate is faster it feels like my ocd is im speeding, for lack of better words. I am going to go have my meds adjusted to see if that helps. Ty for all of your comments. ❤



heart rate

by ROBO Pop - 2019-08-06 14:05:22

When I got my latest CRT-D, I started having issues with PMT (pacemaker mediated tachycardia). No need boring you with details. To overcome the PMT, they kept cranking up my base heart rate finally settling on 80 beats per minute. It was to say the least unnerving and made me jumpy and skittish. After about a month I no longer noticed the heart rate and have been fine for 3 years. Hopefully you'll see the same results.


by Gotrhythm - 2019-08-06 16:27:17

It's really common to feel "speedy" when getting used to a new, faster heart rate. 

I guess if you have OCD you might associate a speeded up heart rate with anxiety, and so feel as if the OCD and anxiety were worse.

Take heart (pun intended.)

Your body will get used to your new normal, quicker than you might think.

Try if you can to reframe the "speedy" feeling as feeling "energetic.'  I bet if you've had bradycardia, you've forgotten what energetic feels like.


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