Recovery from heart surgery takes time, both physically and emotionally. A range of emotions is possible and there is no normal way to feel. Some people will leave the hospital feeling optimistic about their future. Others will leave feeling anxious and uncertain about what lies ahead.
How well you manage will be affected by:
Some common feelings following heart surgery are denial, anxiety, depression and anger. These feelings can occur while you are in the hospital or several days or weeks after discharge. They usually do not last and should decrease over time as you start to feel better physically.
Learning to recognize and identify your feelings is the first step in managing your emotions. You will then need to use ways of coping with feelings that have worked in the past or perhaps learn new coping methods. Sometimes it just helps to have someone to talk over your concerns. It may help to journal or write down your feelings or use some other kind of creative activity to let your feelings out.
You should talk to your doctor or other health care provider if:
You have excessive worry and anxiety every day that causes significant distress or impairment in your daily life
Dealing with Family and Friends
Heart surgery has not only affected you as a patient but also your family and friends. They may go through the same range of feelings as you – fear, anxiety, depression and anger. These feelings are normal and should decrease as they see you progress in your recovery.
You may find that your family and friends are overprotective of you. They may try to do too much for you or not let you do things that you would like to try to do yourself. On the other hand, they may try to move you faster through the recovery process than you feel ready for. In either case, it is important to ensure that family and friends understand your condition and know what must be done to cope with it. This may mean including them on visits to your health care providers.
Talking with your family and friends is very important. Pick a time to discuss your feelings when you’re both rested and not busy. Tell your family and friends how you feel and ask for what you need.
For Family and Friends: