Depression and Separation

Depression and Separation

  • SCAFoundation's picture
  • SCAFoundation
  • 11/16/2007
  • Posts: 212

Hi All, We have a question from someone whose son suffered sudden cardiac arrest in January. Since he survived, he has become depressed and wants to separate from his wife, event through she was with him throughout the ordeal. Has anyone else experienced something similar?


  • parker4's picture
  • parker4
  • 09/28/2012
  • Posts: 1

Hello! As a SCA survivor, I would first ask if he is on any new medication to see if that is contributing to the depression. I believe there should be continued follow up appointments with qualified health and mental health professionals after suffering cardiac arrest. I was upset that since nothing was technically 'wrong' with my heart, I did not qualify for any additional type of treatment or therapy. I am sure that each survivor has a slightly different experience.. but I believe most suffer from some sort of depression after cardiac arrest..I hope he gets the help he needs..parker4

It's hard to give a blanket

  • GenericBox's picture
  • GenericBox
  • 02/09/2010
  • Posts: 11

It's hard to give a blanket response with so little details - namely - what are his reasons for wanting to separate etc.

I have had two SCA now, the first 3 years ago at age 20 leading to a week in a coma and the detection of heart condition - and another 3 months ago while I had an implanted defib. I can certainly relate to depression - but my depression has always come from not the SCAs - but because of what it meant to have a genetic heart disorder.

I was literally in the process of joining our (Aus) Air Force when I had my SCA -- can't do that anymore, my "backup" was the Police Service -- can't do that anymore either. So I'm 'stuck' in a profession I'm not sure I'm 100% enjoying.

Likewise, with relationships, how can I commit to someone or something if I know I'm faulty - how can I put my future children through what I went through (50% chance I will) - or, in this case, put my "future" wife through that again. I see myself as a faulty product - why should she be stuck with me or any child I have be punished because of my genes?

I am still depressed - but even if I wasn't - I don't know if I could face having a family and telling them that there is a 50% chance our children will experience or be prone to experience an SCA.

Thank you for sharing

  • SCAFoundation's picture
  • SCAFoundation
  • 11/16/2007
  • Posts: 212

We appreciate your support.

It's hard to give a blanket

  • amack's picture
  • amack
  • 04/08/2013
  • Posts: 1

You are so young still, you cant live your life thinking this way. The fact that you are a fighter and have survived not one but two SCA's is so amazing! You have so much to live for, dont let this or anything else make you feel differently. Be happy that you beat the odds and that you are a survivor. You should absolutely go and live life to it's fullest!!

Hello! As a SCA survivor, I

  • rahmasetiawati's picture
  • rahmasetiawati
  • 10/01/2015
  • Posts: 1

Hello! As a SCA survivor, I would first ask if he is on any new medication to see if that is contributing to the depression. I believe there should be continued follow up appointments with qualified health and mental health professionals after suffering cardiac arrest. I was upset that since nothing was technically 'wrong' with my heart, I did not qualify for any additional type of treatment or therapy. I am sure that each survivor has a slightly different experience.. but I believe most suffer from some sort of depression after cardiac arrest..I hope he gets the help he needs..

New to forum

  • srwseattle's picture
  • srwseattle
  • 10/04/2015
  • Posts: 1

I had an SCA in March, the day prior to a scheduled breast cancer surgery. Of course, the surgery was rescheduled! After 6 months of cardiac rehab as well as going through breast cancer surgery and radiation therapy, I am finally in a place to try to understand what happened to me on March 22nd, as well as how to make sense of an event I cannot remember at all. It was as if the needle was lifted off the record for a period of about 5 days and I can't recall what happened to me during that time. I am interested to learn if this is a common experience. By all rights, I should not be here to tell this story, nor to have the cognition to recount it either. Thanks for this site. I never thought I would be one of those contributing. I am very grateful to the Seattle City Fire Department for the incredibly well-trained and beefy guys who worked on me for about 45 minutes. Amazing men.


  • BICYCLINGGUY's picture
  • 10/13/2015
  • Posts: 15

I must say that while recovering that first month, I was not my self. I had poor judgment and little ability to put together information to make any kind of a desicion much less a huge life changing one like in this case here. I would say have neurocognitive therapy and resist making any major changes until you know heist as close to his baseline as possible.

I haven't heard anything of

  • Samwittekar's picture
  • Samwittekar
  • 07/19/2016
  • Posts: 2

I haven't heard anything of this sort. Yeah, there are possibilities that a person may get depressed due to sudden severe health conditions. I think counselling can be of great help.

Struggleing mentaly

  • valveguy1's picture
  • valveguy1
  • 08/01/2016
  • Posts: 1

I have gone into cardiac arrest 3 times most recent Thanksgiving 2015 and again 12-10-2015, I have searched and searched for someone with experience with the ptsd created from theses events, The first and second time I passed out received 1 shock and was ok the last time I was conscious and felt the full shock, I was put in the hospital for observation while they started a new med called sotalo, the last diagnosis was Dilated cardiomyopathy. I continue too feel this light headedness like I felt prior too each event so I am constantly stressing out and having panic attacks 20+ times a day. I have looked and looked for someone to get therapy from that has experience with this illness. I am lost and feel like I am dying,


  • GenericBox's picture
  • GenericBox
  • 02/09/2010
  • Posts: 11


It's been 3.5 years since I last posted in this thread, and since then I've had a further 6 cardiac arrests.

Since these I have also had PTSD symptoms -- as I wrote in another thread, my experience/condition gives me about 8 seconds warning -- but the lead-up to those 8 seconds feel exactly like what exercise or anxiety feels like.

So for the most part as soon as I get the same feeling from exercising I panic and get anxious, and then that panic and anxiety makes me think its getting worse, etc.

I also have struggled to find counselling that can help with this. I am in the UK, so we have the NHS -- who paired me with a Cardiology Counsellor -- however he wasn't able to provide me with the right support either.

After talking through the anxiety over a few months, he asked me to go outside for a walk with him. He said once I felt the trigger "exercise" feeling -- he wanted me to keep walking and not stop/panic like I do. So I kept walking through the feeling, and consequently went into an episode of Polymorphic VT -- luckily it was unsustained and my rhythm returned to normal -- but it took alot of confidence that this was just "in my head" and that a little panic is a good thing.

The feelings/panic does generally begin to dissipate over time -- as you begin to forget/get used to the trigger feeling -- this usually takes a solid 3-4 months for me -- but it is still there.

After that counsellor, I left and sought private support, and began talking with a new counsellor who was a little better at not pushing the trigger on me. But again, she also began to ask me to push through the trigger feeling, which I did, but one day went into full panic-mode.

I thought it was "happening", so I sat down, couldn't move and couldn't real speak. I was despondent and ghost-white. I thought it was good that she saw this first-hand, but again reaffirmed this feeling that she didn't understand what I was going through.

Do you have an ICD?

My advice would be to keep being as "normal" as you can -- and if you feel panicked/symptoms come on, just stop what you are doing and relax/wait-it-out. I've come to terms with the fact that if it is happening, there is nothing I can physically do to stop it anyway -- so I just resign myself to seeing if my ICD has to take care of it. After 20 seconds or so, if I'm still "alive", I move on -- and internally try to register that feeling as a false alarm.

I don't think there will be many people in this world that know what it's actually like to think you're going to die within the next few seconds (or for those lucky enough, still be alive to reflect on it), and help you deal with that.

It just takes time, and when you do notice the PTSD feelings, just remember they are normal -- let your mind/body do it's thing, and try to register that how a false alarm feels for next time.


Thank you for sharing your experience

  • SCAFoundation's picture
  • SCAFoundation
  • 11/16/2007
  • Posts: 212

You really have come through so much it is amazing. Your insights will surely be helpful to others. We welcome others to comment and share their experiences with PTSD.

Open White Space!

  • rhoadley's picture
  • rhoadley
  • 02/03/2012
  • Posts: 1


Wow! You are really something special! You already know all of the statistics. You know how few of us Survivors there are in relation to SCAs that occur each year. You have probably sought out every morsel of information that is out there that has anything that is vaguely connected to your symptoms and/or diagnosis.

I am a US Navy Persian Gulf War Veteran and had my own, non-SCA, PTSD issues before my event. I felt like I had those relatively under control prior to my heart quitting on me for no reason. My Gulf War "Feelings and fears" were tucked nicely away in what I imagined as a "little white Chinese take out box" inside my soul. Periodically, things would seep out into the mainstream and bring with it, anxiety, tears, rage, damaging mood swings, and night terrors. Not knowing how I would react to the simplest of situations made me want to isolate myself so as to not totally destroy my family and my second (really sixth) chance at life.

during my ongoing counseling fro my SCA that occurred on 4.1.11, I met a Dr. Quick. She was different. She was prepared when I came in. She always asked the same question first, "So, What is better or different?" This question made me purposefully contemplate what is better or different prior to seeing her. The key help for me there was consistently logging what was BETTER! She told me a story of a friend of hers who teaches skiing. Her friend acknowledges that there are trees on the side of the mountain and one should avoid them. However, unlike most of the other instructors, this guy instructs his students to Concentrate on the "Open White Space" around them! This visual imagery broke this whole thing wide open for me. We have all had well-intentioned people remind us that we should be over the moon happy every second of every day because we survived. While I think that is incredibly hypocritical of most of these "counselors," I also believe we could all do more to increase the happiness in our lives.

Dr. Quick helps me shift my reaction to the anticipatory feelings of an anxiety attack or sobbing fit. We agreed that the most effective time to counter these feelings and perceived losses of control was while they were happening. Oddly, she recommended that I "Welcome" these feelings when they happen. The idea here is that only with my thoughts on the analytical side of my brain at the time of the anxiety onslaught could I figure a way to lessen, stop, and eventually avoid, the overwhelming impact upon me and the world around me. This technique has work wonders for me. Sure, there are still trees and I hit one every once in a while but the confident satisfaction of whizzing past a veritable forest throughout a day or even a week at a time is AMAZING!

Now, I am in a better place on a daily basis (two years of work). I have the best job of my life....wait for it.....I actually sell AEDs for Cardiac Science! I have not had this sense of mission since the Navy and feel Blessed to doing work that literally saves peoples lives like ours!

This "Open White Space" concept is also the title of the book I am (slowly) writing about my event and NEW life thereafter! This is the longest post of any kind I have ever written, but I hope it helps you valveguy1 and anyone else who reads it.


Thanks, Rob!

  • SCAFoundation's picture
  • SCAFoundation
  • 11/16/2007
  • Posts: 212

Thank you for sharing your experience, Rob. So beautifully expressed.
We hope this is helpful to valveguy1 and others!

This probably comes from a

  • fringemagic's picture
  • fringemagic
  • 09/26/2016
  • Posts: 3

This probably comes from a sense of wanting to evaluate the life that leads to such an "event". As a younger survivor (my first sca when I was 25) in hindsight i also found myself (mostly subconsciously) questioning, reevaluating, and often trying to separate from, everything in my life that I thought could've had some role in my condition. However, 4 years later & another 2 sca "events" later it was that very thought process that has brought me full circle to the very things that truly matter/ed in my life.
The best advice I could give as someone who can relate is to take shelter WITH those very people & things you think you're protecting or taking shelter from

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