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My Experience With PVCs/PACs and Anxiety

Hello everyone,

I am a currently 31 years old and have been dealing with anxiety and heart arrhythmia for the last 15 years. I just wanted to share my journey with all this because maybe it might help someone along the way. Just a heads up that I will not be talking about a solution to this but rather my experience with it. This might be a long one but hope it helps someone out there.

I was always an anxious child from a very young age but anxiety and arrhythmia came in to my life when I was around 16 years old when I lost my father to cancer. My first episode happened when I was on vacation because my mother had sent me away trying to keep me away from all the sadness during that time. I felt a weird feeling in my chest which was probably a PVC/PAC  but because I didn't know what it was back then I had my first massive panic attack. Found my self in the ER getting all kinds of blood work and heart related examinations done on me. After 6 hours in the ER they called it anxiety and sent me off with a prescription for Xanax. Now from then on after returning home I went to a cardiologist and had all kinds of tests done on me. Everything came out great. No arrhythmia was detected on holter monitor and I had no idea what that feeling was back then anyway. I had a very mild case of mvp which doctors did not care about at all. Now at the time I did keep on having these feelings on and off but because I was told that it was not related to my heart and I always thought it was my stomach and brushed it off when ever they happened. After all this I was told to go to a therapist and was put on an antidepressant called Efexor. For four years until university I was on and off of antidepressants because my anxiety kept relapsing and during the times I was on drugs I never had any issues, all seemed to be fine but when I stopped taking them after a few months I would start having panic attacks/pvcs again. University might have been the best years of my life because my anxiety and heart arrhythmia seemed to have disappeared, I was not on any antidepressants and didn’t see the therapist regularly. For 5 long years I was very happy. Although the truth probably was that only my anxiety had disappeared because I think I did continue having arrhythmia but very little and I didn’t think it was my heart so how you perceive things changes everything doesn’t it. Fast forward a few years after finishing university and starting my career I thought I was done with all this drama in my life but I couldn't have been more wrong. At that time I was working out 6 times a week and felt really healthy and all that but after having an episode of pvcs which were constant and back to back this time and lasted around for 2 days suddenly out of nowhere I found my self back in the ER. This time I got it recorded which were around 700 over a 24h period and I think it was the worst bout I had until now and these dreaded things had a name now. I learned that these indeed were coming from my heart all along but because I now knew what they were I lost it. I quit exercising for good and visited several cardiologists and they all told me that these were benign and I should continue with my life like normal but how could I with thumps that made me jump out of my seat causing me to think that I would die at that very moment. It was easy for them to say. I was in a very bad place in 2018. I would stay in bed not going to work. Found my self in the ER maybe every 2-3 days for about a month I think. Back then I had started to work with a new therapist and was put on antidepressants again but this time I refused to take them because I thought they made my anxiety worse and just couldn't continue using them after a few days. It took a while for me(around a year or so) to somewhat function in a normal manner but I had stopped doing a lot of the things that I loved doing just because I was afraid they would bring back my pvcs or my anxiety. During this time I had a lot of time to think and also scrap threw my old medical files which my mom kept thankfully. Guess what I found. My MVP diagnosis and pvcs where recorded way back when I was maybe 6-7 years old. But I had never even felt one until I was 16 and even then I didn’t learn what they were until I was 27. So what this tells me is that how you perceive things has a lot to do with how you feel and how your body reacts. To this day I am still seeing my therapist and I still have good days/months and bad bouts of arrhythmia and anxiety. The reason I told all this backstory is because over the years I started seeing some patterns in all of this drama. Through therapy I really learned how to understand myself and how my body reacts to certain stressful situations. Even though at times I thought I was not stressed I would have many physical symptoms and start having pvcs again. These were the times that I thought ok this is not stress or anxiety there is definitely something wrong with my heart. But they would suddenly disappear after a good day at the therapist or the exact opposite like they would start like crazy after a stressful topic at the therapist. Now I do think that my body is prone to arrhythmia but having them start at stressful times out of no where and disappear just after a successful therapy session is no coincidence in my eyes. I have had on other occasions where my arrhythmia would start and I would start panicking and they would increase and then the moment I entered the ER they would stop just like that in an instant. Over the years I have been to many many cardiologists. Maybe 8-10 different doctors 2 of whom I still am seeing to this day every 6 months or so depending on how anxious I am or how bad my arrhythmia is. What they always say is that these are benign. If I am so unlucky that 8 different cardiologists misdiagnosed me after conducting all the same standard tests(echo, ecg, holter monitor) then I have nothing to say (For those who are curious in my country you do not have to get referred to a cardiologist by a gp so you can bypass it and go straight ahead). But I don’t think that is the case and it is just how my body reacts to my mental stress. The only problem is that my threshold has decreased so much that I am stressed all the time and my body reacts to the most simplest things like this. It is a very hard place to get out from and it is very easy to get to that point. Rather than trying to find a cure for my arrhythmia, which would be great honestly, I am trying to work out my mental health issues which directly affect everything I do. Mental health is that impactful on the body. Mind and body are much more connected than we realize. I also don’t like it when doctors brush it off as anxiety but sometimes it really might be. Your mind and body can be in a constant state of stress and you might have many different physical symptoms while you feel calm. Even though it is really hard to accept I hope it does stay like this rather than actually having a physical issue that causes all this. 

If you read that all through thanks for listening to my rant. I hope it helps some of you somehow. I wish you all the best and stay strong.
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Hey man, i am a 17 year old who is slightly concerned about my heart palpitations. I have a very similar story, except mine started in march of 2022 and it was basically high bloos pressure and breathlessness. Since then ive visited my doctors, spend a few days in a hospital to do tests, everything was in the end good. However, what never went away were my heart palpitations. I basically every so often maybe like a few a day and sometimes i wont even feel them every day if im lucky but yes i do feelheart fluttering every day or every othe day. I would say it has to be anxiety and stress. Ever since the event that took place that night in march, i was basically in my bed about to go to sleep until i felt shortness of breath and heart fluttering, i was for the first time ever in my life, scared for my life. I told my dad and since he has Brugada Syndrome and i did tests on it back in 2018 which one test was positive none negative so there were chances i had it so that night my dad thought that that was it. Well, it wasnt. We meassured my blood pressure which came out to be 175/87. We rushed to the hospital and when i got there it all stopped, i basically went back to my normal self, and a few days later it all happend again. My constant BP every day til the end of march and a bit of april was always in about 140/70. And now in may it has all returned to normal with an average bp of 120/60ish. So basically at this point it has been  4 months since that scary event took place, i eat healthy, i consume less salt and stopped basically taking caffeine products. To this day we still dont know the exact cause of why my bp was high, but thank god its normal now. But as ive seen with many people, after a big scary event, your body will remember it for a little while and might give you stress and anxiety like to you and me. So here i am with heart palpitations most days. I try to not think of it but it is really hard not to. Its one of those things that you will remember for the rest of your life, and just having these heart palpitations, just thinking about "oh my heart is fluttering, oh ****" just really makes you anxious and stressful about it. I find it the best way to cope with it is to always remind myself that its all in the mind, just need to calm down and try to forget about it. Thank you for reading this message and i wish you a very healthy and long life.
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Edit: when i spike about brugada syndrome and how ive done tests on it, i ment to type one test was positive AND ONE negative. Yeah ive made a lot of grammar mistakes but thats how i type on my phone, real fast and dont pay attention haha.
Ah no worries. I have just seen your post now. I am so sorry for the experience you have had but happy that it all worked out in the end. We never now what life will throw at us and mental health is disregarded easily. Stay safe
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