Depression and anxiety

Had 2 brain stents in Feb 2021. I had severe vertigo a week after that lasted 6 weeks. Still my balance is a bit off. I am now dealing with anxiety and depression. I sure hope this will go away. Any suggestions.

1 Like

Hey Sharron,
Welcome to Ben’s Friends
Your anxiety and depression are normal. With my first neurosurgery my anxiety was through the roof. Every ache, every pain and I was questioning myself ‘Is this it…?’ Then came the question ‘Is this as good as it (my recovery) gets?’ and that lead me down some dark holes or what I call the ‘Poor me’s’. I had to pull myself out of that mindset.

One thing I have found is that our recovery is not a straight line. I have endured a few neurosurgeries (6 so far) and none of my recoveries have been the same. My last major neurosurgery was in '13 and still now I have good days, bad days and OMG days that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Over time I have learnt what my triggers are, what assists in trying to manage it all and how to adjust, well, that is, try to adjust as best I can. I say ‘try’ because I’m not always successful. For me, I have to keep myself occupied, doing something, anything. If I sit down and think about it all… OHH YUCK.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

3 Likes

Welcome to the group Ms. Sharon!

Seems like the vertigo may just need time…I walked like a drunken sailor for several years. On the rare occasions we went into a big city, I’d have to have someone between me and traffic as we never knew if I’d walk right off the sidewalk and into traffic. Luckily the first time I did that, we were with some friends down in Atlanta and I was grabbed and pulled back. I believe one of my issues was loss of peripheral vision Like Merl often says, everything takes time though I can’t believe he didn’t write that this time.:joy:

Anxiety and depression can be two of the hardest battles to fight. There are a few tricks or tools I’ve learned along the way. Merl is absolutely spot on that triggers have to be identified. (Please don’t tell him I said that as he may get a big head LOL). Triggers can lead to a bout of either so it’s very important you learn yours. For anxiety, practice relaxation breathing or mindfulness. There are many YouTube videos on deep breathing techniques but basically it’s breathing deeply, down to your diaphragm through your nose, holding it for about a slow count of five or more and exhaling it all through your mouth. If you focus on just your breathing it’s really difficult to have any other thoughts. It’s also impossible to have tight muscles due to the amount of oxygen they receive, which in turn reduces the anxiety. Anxiety often causes the body to contract muscles. And when we feel anxious, our brains are often racing so we just need to slow it down until we can get back in control. This has to be done multiple times a day, every day so that it becomes a part of you. Don’t try it once or twice and say it doesn’t work, then stop trying. Hope that makes sense…

For depression there are several things you can do. A friend used to have positive affirmation cards all over their home. Things like “today is a great day”, “you are beautiful” etc. stop watching the news or reading newspapers, they’re full of violence and bad news, rarely a positive story. Speaking of violence, stop any form of it coming in to your life be it from shows, movies or your life. We love watching Jeanne Robertson on YouTube. This is one of our favorites Jeanne Robertson "Don't send a man to the grocery store!" - YouTube

Another thing to do is organize and clean your home. Start with one area of one room and clean it as if it’s going to be a military inspection, white glove and all, then move to another area. So often when we get depressed, we stop caring about our home and ourselves so it’s a good place to start. Make a goal and break them down into smaller goals so by finishing each goal, you end up doing the whole.

Diet - yep it’s important for depression. Some folks stop eating, some overeat, some don’t want to be bothered with cooking and reach to processed or fast food. Personally I probably drink too much caffeine but I have to start my day with a hot cup of tea, then switch to coffee because a pot is made, then I switch back to hot tea. I had to learn to drink non caffeinated or decaf tea which there are a lot out there. Even in ICU I had to have my hot tea, there were a couple RNs who could make it correctly and one RN student who made an excellent cup of hot tea, her Grandmother taught her…

Exercise is equally important. Take a walk about. I can use my yard as it’s rather a big one or I will go to one of our town’s parks that has a walking trail. We don’t have sidewalks where I live but even a walk around the block will do you well. I have some other health issues so I do my PT stretches every day and find them to be relaxing after all these years.

I think I’ve covered the highlights. I know our other members have tools they use and hope some will post a reply to you. I think it’s very important as members that we have the courage to help others here so our journey is not as lonely.

All the best,
Moltroub

1 Like

I had a similar episode from a 5mm brain stent on Dec. 2019. My neurosurgeon told me to return to duty after a couple of weeks. Big mistake and I suffered from headaches, neck pain, anxiety & depression. Looking back, I should have taken it easy and rested as much as possible. After a year, I found a good therapist on how to deal with anxiety and move forward with life. I had a team of doctors but none of them mentioned the mental aspect of having to deal with a brain aneurysm. This website helped me put things in perspective and knowing that I was not alone. Take care of yourself with mild exercise (walking) and lots of rest & meditation.

2 Likes

Ohh absolutely. They work with the physical brain, not the mental/psychological brain. I often relate them to mechanics, ‘remove this part’ and ‘fix that part’ but you start talking about just how overwhelming the whole process is and their eyes glaze over.

I too was given the ‘All fixed’ speech by the surgeon and returned to work much too early. No 2 neuro journeys are the same. Some people can bounce back fairly well. For others it can take a bit longer and for some it can be a lifelong battle. We just all hope that we have that bounce back into life. If anybody ever tells you this recovery process is easy they have NEVER been in this situation and to be honest, they wouldn’t have a clue. Recovery takes as long at it takes and the longer you take to recover fully, the better your recovery will be.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

1 Like

@chan273 I would be interested in reading some of the suggestions your therapist provided for overcoming anxiety as I’m sure many members would, if you would like to share.

All the best,
Moltroub

Hello. You have found the right space for support and suggestions. This group is great. I too had significant vertigo after my discharge from the hospital. My neuro referred me to an ENT who specializes in vertigo. They did some fancy tricks (put me in something that looked like a gyroscope!) and I left their office completely free of vertigo. I have had to go back once in the last 4 yrs for a treatment. Wish you well.

1 Like

Hi Sharon. My rupture was in Dec 2013. I, too, had terrible anxiety. Walking - even for a little walk - really helped me. Just a change of scenery helps. Also I was advised to learn something new. I started to paint (youtube is full of tutorials for beginners like me) and taught myself how to macrame again with the help of youtube. Time really flies when I am doing either and I don’t even think of being anxious. Try and teach yourself something new. You might surprise yourself and be very good at what you do. And it really does take as long as it takes to start feeling better!
Cathy

2 Likes

I had my surgery in March of 2021 and as of August I am still having anxiety issues and am scared to return back to work. Yesterday I was at the swap meet and when I was getting ready to leave I could not find my truck and it freaked me out, by the time I did find it I was not able to drive home. The rest of the day I just laid on the couch and did not feel like moving, it got to the point that I could not even walk without the assist of my wife. I am working with a therapist but only get to talk with her twice a month. My doctors all say my surgery went fine and that there is nothing more than can do for me, which seems odd since I am sure they have dealt with patients like me all of the time. I wish everyone a speedy recovery and hopefully I can find some magic to help me out. I really want to return back to work and a normal life.

2 Likes

@Ckdkrk123 I was always forgetting where I parked the first couple of years and I hated to go by myself anywhere. When BH asked my Neurosurgeon if I could have a handicap sticker she asked why? She told me if I couldn’t remember where to park, I shouldn’t be driving. I had lots of rules about driving back then. It gets better. What I learned to do was take pictures of where I parked in relation to a building. I’d also try to park in the same area all the time. I would take a couple of pictures from the drivers side and the back so I could orientate where the vehicle was. My map app now does that for me, I’m not sure how it started. But I parked the truck in the yard and it alerted me the location was stored🤣. You might be able to do something similar on your smartphone.

Remember to practice the skills your therapist teaches you. It will do no good to just talk and not do the things they suggest on a daily basis.

Neurosurgeons deal with repairing the issues wrong inside our brain. Their expertise is why those of us who underwent a procedure are still alive. Their expertise is not in the psychological issues. Which is why they say surgery went fine and nothing more they can do, in my opinion. It is also why we have to find the specialty that deals with the fallout so to speak. Therapy is a good start, absolutely, if you’re willing to put in the effort. I need to put a disclaimer in that not all therapists are good for the specific person. I personally think a good therapist is one who does active listening and provides us with tools to improve.

I’m also big on relaxation breathing as you can tell from the many times I’ve suggested members do just that. The trick is to practice when you don’t need it so you have it without thinking when you do start to feel anxious. Something I used to teach was to help the person find something their body did when they first started to feel stress. Whether it’s tightening your jaw, making a fist, or feeling tightness in your abdominal area, etc. when that feeling comes about is the time we really need to start the relaxation breathing.

I hope other members will share what they do when they start to feel anxious or lose their vehicle…

All the best,
Moltroub

Hi I had multiple aneurysm repair in 2011 which included stents and a pipeline. I did not develop a level of anxiety until recent when radiographic changes were noted in a recent MRI and I began to develop headaches. First what seems to have helped was for me to f/u with my neurosurgeon to r/o any significant physical changes .Then I believe managing my stress significantly has helped me to ward off anxiety . Consider finding an interest or a passion to delve into. Painting has really helped to relax my mind.
Wish you the best
Cecelia

1 Like

I had 2 coiling on 9 mm Aneurysm. 5 stents one flew in aneurysm. I too have anxiety and problems with depth persecution. Plus I become exhausted all of a sudden!! I cannot give you suggestions accept to listen to your body and rest. Your brain needs to heal. :heart: