Joan's Story: Coping With Depression and Anxiety From Heart Failure - Joan's story
Joan talked to her husband and some of her close friends about her feelings. They told her that she was the same person they always loved. But Joan felt she needed more help. Her doctor recommended a counselor.
The counselor "helped me see that I was focusing on all the things I couldn't do anymore, instead of the things I could do. I may not be able to play singles tennis as intensely as I did before, but I can play doubles. I can still take walks and swim. I may have to take more breaks, but I can still do those activities."
One of the ways the counselor helped Joan was by showing her how to stop negative thoughts when they overwhelmed her. "She taught me how to recognize when I'm saying negative things to myself and how to stop it. Then I practice saying something positive instead."
Her doctor also prescribed an antidepressant, which Joan plans to take until she and her doctor feel she is ready to stop.
Joan has gotten a lot of her strength back. She knows that she will have good days when she has a lot of energy, and she'll have bad days when she feels tired.
"But I'm doing much better than I was when I was sitting on the curb outside my house and feeling sad. I enjoy my life again."
This story is based on information gathered from many people living with heart failure.