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Managing Your Mental Health

Until you have a heart problem like congestive heart failure, you don’t understand the mental health issues that come with this condition. This condition, from the moment you hear the diagnosis, changes how you think and feel, whether it is a major or minor change, it happens to all of us.

The two biggest changes

DepressionThe two biggest changes to our body are depression and anxiety. You can either let it consume you or you can use it as fuel to change yourself for the better. Depression is probably the first and strongest emotion that overcomes you after diagnosis. It can be hard to overcome depression on your own and you should seek help from a medical professional. I know that no one wants to take more pills, but if your doctor recommends an antidepressant, I would take it in a heartbeat. Depression can lead to bad things and there is nothing wrong with accepting help regardless of the form. You can take your time to work through it, get a counselor, and eventually work off medication. It is ok to feel depressed. It’s normal. Please don’t feel like you are weak or anything else for seeking help. You should feel strong in seeking help. AnxietyAnxiety is the second emotion that comes with a heart failure diagnosis. There is no clear-cut path to this condition. The fear of the unknown can be exhausting. Again, I would seek help from a medical professional to find ways to deal with anxiety. It could be medication, breathing exercises, or one of the many other methods used to help with it. I use distraction or breathing exercises. Deep breathing listening to something relaxing or engaging in an activity that can distract my thoughts helps. Fuel your life in a positive directionAnxiety and depression can cause undue stress on the heart which is not ideal for anyone, especially those with heart conditions. Those that allow these mental health conditions to take them over and don’t seek help with probably have more issues because of this. At the very least, your quality of life will be less than if you were to seek help and manage these conditions. On top of just treating these conditions, I recommend using them to fuel your life in a positive direction.Sometimes in your controlUse these two conditions to fight every day for a longer and higher quality life. There are a lot of unknowns, but these unknowns are sometimes in your control. If allowed, you can use these to motivate you to exercise and work on your heart health. Something we can all use this as motivation for is to change our eating habits. Don’t worry about how big or small your change is or what other people are doing. As long as you are making better decisions, you will improve your mental health naturally. Knowing you are making a difference in the quality and quantity of your life will improve mood and help you work towards eliminating these two conditions from your life.It can be doneI know this is easier said than done, but it can be done. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed the first, second, or even third time. If you are still alive, you have time to work on changes. I would say I fail at something daily, but I also succeed at something every day. Do I let those failures stop me or discourage me? Absolutely not. Every day is a new day to change those failures into successes.

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