You make a valuable point about life bringing us ups-and-downs before our surgeries, which we tended to more easily get over as things that would pass; being brushed by mortality makes it more difficult though. I also couldn't agree more that we are all different and will have different experiences to similar traumas but I think you are being a bit harsh to say it is "totally up to" each of us how we respond. By the time some people get hit with heart surgery, the circumstances of their lives may have left them ill-equipped to get over the experience, and to suggest they have this capacity and not recognizing these difficulties may lead them to blame themselves and compound their problems.
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Depression – different levels for different folks – is common after open heart surgery. I believe I have heard the percentage as about 30% of folks have some depression.
I think your idea of thinking positive thoughts and maybe calling friends for a chat more often are two of the more simple aides.
You are not alone – keep after it and you should see improvement as time goes forward.
Cryo Ablation for Atrial Fibrillations December 2017
Volunteer for Mended Hearts and volunteer in the Cardiac OR area one day per week, visiting families in the waiting room to give them the status of the operation
Joe J Ft Myers
As has been said here before, everyone's experience is different, but depression in one form or another is not uncommon. My cardiologist prescribed an anti-depressant for me, which I found helpful. (People's experiences with these differ too.) Others find the support of Mended Hearts meetings or other groups helpful. (You are not a pill person; I guess I am not a meeting person.) Look, it's life; no guarantees whichever way you turn; but you say you are staying positive and that's a good thing and good luck to you.