Finding Peace of Mind During a Tough Time

Finding Peace of Mind During a Tough Time

Isabel Victal

Isabel, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, an electrical engineer, was leading a normal life and had a promising future in her career. Unexpectedly, at 33 years old, she was diagnosed with heart failure. This disease has put a halt in almost all aspects of Isabel’s normal life, including her career.

Isabel lived with heart failure for 11 years and had a heart transplant in 2021. She is very thankful and grateful for this precious gift of life, and a second chance to lead a normal life again. However, the past 11 years were tough physically and mentally. Isabel sought and continues to seek peace of mind and well-being in health, heart and mind.

Her story and advice for those living with or caring for someone with heart failure: 

A lot goes through the mind of a heart failure patient. Anxiety builds and mental health may start to deteriorate as the future becomes less certain. As much as we want to face these challenges by ourselves, it’s better to reach out for support and comfort to get us through these tough times. 

Connect with your support network and explore support tools and communities as good first steps to facing the challenges that your heart condition brings.

Reach out to your family and friends, including your partner and parents, for support. Be honest about any struggles you are experiencing. The benefit will be mutual – your loved ones will appreciate understanding what you are struggling with and how it’s impacting you, and you will appreciate the support you receive in return.

Let your family physician or medical specialist (such as your cardiologist) know of your mental health struggles. Depending on your situation, you may be referred to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker for help.

Spend time reflecting on your feelings. Methods such as meditation, journaling, or prayer can be very helpful for facilitating self-reflection.

Join any relevant online communities, such as Facebook groups related to your condition. Talk to people in these online communities or to other patients at your clinic. Often, you will find that you are not the only one experiencing these struggles and may feel less alone.