Mental health well-being post SCA

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK website just published a leaflet on Mental health well-being after a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

It resonates a lot with me. As already mentioned elsewhere on my site, the physical recovery is intense and hard work. Especially the cardio physiotherapy is something that helped me a lot personally.

As the leaflet describes, the mental health side is something that is often forgotten. Most cardiologists look at the heart from a pure technical perspective and if it pumps regularly, there is no problem for them.

Some important takeaways from the leaflet are:

  • It's true, as survivors, we should be happy to still be alive! I'm telling myself this every single day!
  • Many survivors report a good physical recovery, but many experience fatigue, mild memory problems, challenges in returning to work, and difficulties with anxiety, low mood, and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
  • The sudden nature, ie going from perfectly healthy to clinically dying, affects all areas of your life and is likely to impact your emotional well-being.
  • Examples of "issues" are:
    • frustration around cognitive and physical limitations
    • concerns around returning to work and day-to-day life
    • Anxiety, feeling irritable, unable to concentrate, anger, low mood, depression, PTSD, etc.
    • Dealing with the ICD which is in the end a foreign object (computer) implanted into your body
    • Frustration: why did this happen to me?
  • Family members, especially if they were part of the rescue, probably will go through their own process of recovery:
    • Shock of witnessing the event
    • Dealing with insecurities of the situation of the patient in ICU / hospital
    • Being confronted with the recovering patient
    • Post-Traumatic stress
  • Once fully recovered, many survivors report feeling a renewed sense of purpose and gratitude for life, and family
  • Getting help from a healthcare professional is very important! Nothing wrong with seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist !

If you're interested in learning more, certainly have a look at the leaflet:

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