Social and Emotional Changes
Some patients may experience some or all of the following social-emotional changes.
Loss of Emotional Control/Confusion
Most survivors experience temporary loss of control over emotions. This can manifest itself in anger, frustration, and lashing out at yourself and others. You may find that you get tearful for no reason at all. Confusion about what is happening to you is also common, so do not be reluctant to talk about it. These symptoms will get better with time. If it becomes too difficult to deal with, seek counseling.
You may have changes in your self-esteem and self-confidence as a result of new physical and mental limitations. It is important to talk to your family, doctor, and therapist about how you feel and how to adjust to the “new” you.
You are not any less capable of leading a normal life. It is just going to require adjusting and giving yourself time to heal. You may notice changes in relationships with family and friends, so it is important to discuss your feelings with them. Many times these changes are temporary and as you recover, your relationships often return to normal.
You may feel different, or isolated, as a result of the aneurysm treatment. But you are not alone. Attend Brain Aneurysm Support Group meetings or connect with others on the Brain Aneurysm Foundation’s online support community.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are very common among survivors, whether you suffered a ruptured aneurysm or were treated for an unruptured aneurysm. These may be caused by the aneurysm itself and also by the many life changes that may occur as a result of the aneurysm. But there is no need to suffer in silence.
Depression is not simply a passing blue mood or a sudden feeling of sadness that goes away as quickly as it came. It is an illness that affects your body, mood, and thoughts. Depression impacts your appetite and sleep, how you feel about yourself and others, and how you think about life. Treatment, which usually consists of a combination of medication and talk therapy, can help you deal with depression and feel better.
If you experience some of these symptoms below, it is important that you openly share your concerns and feelings with someone close to you, as well as a healthcare professional who understands your condition, such as a neuropsychiatrist or neuropsychologist, licensed psychologist, psychiatric nurse, licensed social worker, or counselor.
- Feelings of sadness on a daily basis; crying more than usual
- Guilt and regret about past events and current problems
- Anger, irritability
- Disturbing, morbid, or suicidal thoughts
- Lethargy/no motivation
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
- Altered appetite: weight loss or gain
- Disturbed sleep (early-morning awakening, disturbing dreams)