How I Overcame Depression and Anxiety

“The Lord is the light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the star."

A lot of people may be wondering how I survived everything that was meant to destroy me. After getting an LVAD in 2019, I suffered from depression and anxiety. It was a very dark time in my life. My body had gone through so many changes because I was so sick and in the hospital for 2 months.

A depressing place to be

Depression set in when I was in the hospital because the doctors could not find what was wrong with me. Every morning the doctor would come in and I would ask him, “Am I being discharged today?” And he would say no.

I was in the hospital for Christmas and New Year's. A hospital is a depressing place to be in especially during the holidays even though the staff tried to make it festive. There was a Santa Claus on my floor on Christmas, but I did not let him come into my room because I was in such a rotten mood. I wanted to be home with my family, but there I was in a hospital room with my mom, my dad, and my brothers. On the brighter side of things, at least I have a large extended family visiting me every day. There were patients there whose rooms would be void of any visitors.

My anxiety

The anxiety came from being in pain and wondering if I would survive this near-death experience. The thought of being diagnosed with advanced heart failure was more than I thought I could handle but in the end, I got through it. The doctors even had me on anti-anxiety pills because when it was time to sleep I would have hallucinations and was restless. When your heart is not doing well, your body tries to tell you by letting everything go haywire.  When I left the hospital I was a frail, malnourished mess. I had lost 30 pounds and I looked like it, and along with that, my hair had begun falling out because I wasn’t getting any nutrients. If you’ve read my "Living with Advanced Heart Failure Part 2", you will remember that I had problems swallowing and I wasn’t allowed to eat. The doctors had a feeding tube in my nose that I would receive my medications and liquid food through.

I left the hospital defeated, emotionally, mentally, and physically. To make matters worse, I didn’t look like myself. As a woman, well let's just say my body was different, I didn’t look or feel very womanly. My hair was literally coming out while I was combing it so I scheduled to have it cut very short. I was struggling to find my confidence and my self-esteem. My life was turned upside down and I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I had to seek the advice of a therapist to help me grapple with the cards that I was dealt. She helped me immensely, by showing me that this was only a bump in the road and made me feel confident about myself. If anyone reading this is going through a tough time, don’t ever be afraid or ashamed to say you need help.

Overcoming my anxiety and depression with advanced heart failure

How did I survive? The answer is my faith in God. I’ve been a Christian since I was 7, and was always taught to trust in God, especially in my darkest hours. If someone had told me I would survive 2 strokes, LVAD surgery, and a heart transplant in my 20s and 30s, I would think they were crazy. Is it only by the grace and mercy of God I am still here. There are patients who never recover from a massive stroke or even have some deficits. By God’s mercy, I’ve been able to work through mine.

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

God has been with me through all my endeavors and He is the one from whom my strength comes.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

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