Healthy living

Managing your emotions when you have a heart condition

It is normal to have a lot of different feelings after a heart attack or other heart condition. For example, you might feel sad, worried, stressed, angry, lonely or guilty. These feelings are normal and don’t usually last long. Talking to others, such as your doctor, cardiac rehabilitation team, family and friends, will help you to feel better.

Depression happens in people with coronary heart disease more than other people. People with depression usually feel sad, down or miserable most of the time, and find it hard to do normal activities.

If you have symptoms of depression for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor about treatments to help you feel better.

Ways to help you cope

  • If you have been diagnosed with heart disease recently, be kind to yourself.
  • Think about how you have handled other stresses in your life. Remember what got you through the hard times – and what didn’t.
  • Get support from friends and family and learn as much about heart disease and its management as you can.
  • Find others who have gone through a heart attack or heart surgery as well, to share the experience.
  • Join a cardiac rehabilitation program to learn more about your heart, risk factors, medications and lifestyle changes that you will need to make.

You should also get a referral to a cardiac rehabilitation program whilst in hospital, or soon after you leave hospital.

Where to get help

  • See your doctor.
  • Ring healthdirect on 1800 022 222.
  • Phone the Heart Foundation’s Health Information Service number on 1300 362 787.

The above information is extracted from My heart, my life: a manual for patients with coronary heart disease, and is used with the Heart Foundation’s permission. © 2012 National Heart Foundation of Australia.

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Heart Foundation

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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