Tag Archives: upset

Terrible twos!

The terrible twos!

Well let me just start with OMG….

My precious little girl has recently entered the ‘terrible twos’. Now I’m not one to ‘label’ people or stereotype, but after hearing stories about the ‘terrible twos’, I’m pretty certain that my little miss, has decided to join that club.

Let me start by saying that although I’ve had some questionable days with my 4 year old, nothing he ever said or did is even close to what my little miss does.

Maybe it’s a second child thing?
Maybe it’s a girl thing?

I’ve heard that girls can be more ‘bossy’ and also the second child learns from the first? My first isn’t badly behaved, although he can push boundaries, he is no where near as brave to push me to limits where my miss thinks it’s funny.

I really know when it started, but most days (of late) we have a tantrum of some sort and over petty things? – well things that seem petty to me.

We can have tantrums because I got her shoes that she didn’t want to wear.

She can throw a tantrum because she wanted to do her own hair.

Sometimes tantrums are because she wanted to sit on a particular part of the couch.

Or a tantrum can be caused when I open her snack when she wanted too.

Oh and let’s not forget when I get her the wrong colour cutlery for meal times, and the list goes on…

Anyway, each day is different and I’ve learnt not to expect 100% perfect behaviour all day long. Now I know that kids can’t be perfect, I definitely let things slide, but picking my battles is becoming more of a lifestyle choice.

I understand that tantrums are often sparked by a child’s frustration at their inability to complete a task or voice and explain themselves correctly. The child thinks that they should be able to do on their own things and their own way and when they don’t succeed, it seems like they have failed themselves and in return they throw a ‘doosey’.

On top of this frustration, toddlers quite often get frazzled doing simple things because they do not have the language skills to express their feelings which equates to their temper being shown, therefore throwing a ‘temper tantrum’.

I’ve learnt that tantrums are normal for the development of every child. Each child goes through this (maybe some not as bad as others) however These tantrums will decrease around age 4, once motor and language skills are better developed.

When it comes disciplining my little miss, during one of her many tantrums, I’ve learnt it’s important for me to remain calm and avoid inadvertently reinforcing the behaviour. If I don’t, it makes her worse. Sometimes I feel like laughing of throwing a tantrum myself (merely from frustration) but I keep it together. I am the adult. 😉

If I keep my emotions in check, I find she generally calms down sooner. If my emotions escalate or I yell or get cranky at her, her temper is 10 fold.

I remember laughing at her once and it was like adding fuel to a fire. She laid on the ground kicking and screaming and yelling “I no likey you, go away me now”.

I try not to confront her. Instead, I walk away and do something else, basically I ignore her. I don’t make eye contact or speak to her, I simply wait for her to calm down. This has helped with ensuring her that I am not reinforcing her bad behavior.

After the tantrum finishes I go and provide her with reassurance and guidance. Speaking to her in a relaxed and calm tone and telling her what she has said or done is not appreciated or nice. Sometimes she is receptive, others she just sobs and ignores me. I guess I can’t expect too much, she is only 2.

With each tantrum I’m trying to teach her how to express her feelings through words instead of throwing herself around and screaming.

Reassuring her that I still love her, but not her tantrums then we move on to the next activity.

I thought that having a very stubborn boy was tough, honestly my little miss is so defiant, stubborn, head strong and loves to assert herself. I know it’s only a phase and will soon pass, maybe I will miss it (possibly not) but I know it’s all a learning process for us both.

Have you a strong willed child?

What are your experiences with tantrums and the terrible twos?

I’d love to hear from you. Xx

Emotions.

Emotions and crying when angry.

Emotions are funny aren’t they?

They make us laugh, cry, smile, happy, frustrated, angry, irritated and much more.

I was going back through some of my old study note’s from when I was studying to become a counsellor. A topic that I came across was emotions and how we deal with them. I remember finding this subject quite interesting and one that I actually got great marks in my assessment for. (Quiet pat on my own back )

Emotions can get the better of us and in some cases can cause people to react or act irrationally.

I started reading through these notes and thinking about my personality and how I react to different situations. I know that when I’m extremely angry I cry. I find it hard to control. It’s almost like I get wild sensation come over me and tears come pouring out.

Some may say this is a sweet softer side of me, I’m also known to be quite hot headed and protective. (Yes I can loose it but I’m mainly ‘ticked’ and will become extremely protective, especially of my children or those close to me. I become a Mumma bear and hath have no fury like a Mumma pushed too far! 😉)

As I have aged I have learnt to ‘wind in’ my hot head and be more diplomatic but in some situations my tears still stream with anger. I suppose tears are better than yelling at someone or becoming violent right? I suppose it’s the more mature reaction but, I sometimes feel as though my tears are not seen for what they are (anger) and could be seen as sadness, defeat or fear?

Sometimes children cry with frustration when they can’t describe or control their emotions. They get sad when they don’t get their own way and cry right?

I cry with anger. With my anger, it’s generally because I feel as though my thoughts and values have been attacked, everyone is entitled to their own feelings and thoughts and no ones are right or wrong. We are all different therefore have different values. Who says your interpretation of something is right and mine is wrong? Or vice versa?

The physical sensations when I feel personally attacked or angry are similar to anxiety, which for me include a racing heart and tightness in the body. I loose my appetite, feel hot, feel like my face is sunburnt and feel a pressure in my chest, almost like someone is pushing against me. It’s weird but that’s how my body deals with it.

I have tried for many years to control the tears when I’m angry, but sometimes this emotion overcomes my control.

What I have learnt from negative emotions though is that if we dwell on it or allow it to manifest in us. They will overtake our lives and make us miserable.

Negative emotions stop us from thinking and behaving rationally and seeing situations in their true perspective. When this occurs, we tend to see only we want to see and remember only what we want to remember. This only prolongs the anger or grief and prevents us from enjoying life.

The longer this goes on, the more entrenched the problem becomes. Dealing with negative emotions inappropriately can also be harmful – for example, expressing anger with violence.

Some people can be overly emotional or sensitive, which is fine everybody is different. For me learning about emotions whilst studying to be a counsellor has helped me to understand other people’s personalities a little more. Reading their body language and reacting appropriately to their feelings.

I think the biggest factor for me personally, and what stands out from my studies is that negative emotions also can manifest in personal insecurities, general unhappiness, stress and anxiety which can lead to depression.

I know a few people who suffer depression and are on medication for it. Depression for some is described as a disease. I won’t go into depression as that’s a whole other topic and I could blog about it all day, a subject close to my heart. However emotions are natural, we cannot control them fully and we will never fully understand them.

Emotions are psychological (our thoughts) and biological (our feelings). Our brain responds to our thoughts by releasing various hormones and chemicals into our blood stream which send us into a state of arousal. All emotions come about this way, be it positive or negative. It’s complex and can be overwhelming which can also make it hard to overcome.

What we need to learn to do more is, let go of what has made you angry or emotional – constantly going over negative events preoccupies you and stops you from living in the ‘present’ and will manifest in making you feel sad and unhappy.

Depression

Depression

Semicolon tattoos – recently there has been an increase in these tattoos. I though it must have been hip or the latest cool thing to do but I’ve since found out that they actually have a meaning.

The Semicolon Project is a non-profit dedicated to supporting people dealing with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and other forms of mental illness.

The message is simple: “A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. That author is you and the sentence is your life.”

I know a lot of people including friends and family who have and still do suffer depression.

Depression is not a bad word.

Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious illness that has an impact on both physical and mental health.

While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. This is depression.

There are different types of depression.

Did you know that Bipolar is also classified a depression? As is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – SAD is a disorder that is thought to be related to the variation in light exposure in different seasons. It’s characterised by mood disturbances from the sun and moon along with temperature change.

I’ve listed a few below but not all

Melancholia
This is the term used to describe a severe form of depression where many of the physical symptoms of depression are present. One of the major changes is that the person can be observed to move more slowly. The person is also more likely to have a depressed mood that is characterised by complete loss of pleasure in everything, or almost everything.

Major depression
Can also be called major depressive disorder, clinical depression, unipolar depression or simply depression. It involves low mood and/or loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities. It affects all parts of the differed life and can make simply waking up in the morning feel like something harder and more demanding.

Psychotic depression
Sometimes people suffering a depressive disorder can also lose touch with reality and experience psychosis. It may involve hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that don’t exist) or delusions (false beliefs), such as believing they are bad or evil, or that they are being watched or followed. They can also become paranoid, feeling as though everyone in the world is against them or perhaps that they are the cause of illness or bad events occurring around them.

Antenatal and postnatal depression
This could be that the expecting parent is feeling sad, anxious or unhappy about the pending arrival. Fathers can also get antenatal or postnatal depression. Bringing life into this world is a big thing. It can be tough and even though we to get your head around – planned pregnancy or non planned.

None if the above are bad things, they are just types of depression which are caused by our own feelings and emotions. They cannot be co trolled nor should they be ignored.

These types of depression can vary from person to person and if you do or have felt sad or unhappy for a long period of time, perhaps speak to your local doctor.

Just as there are many types of depression there are many different treatments.

If you suffer depression or know someone who may need some help please, check out the below website, Beyond Blue is a foundation for depression where you can not only get a better understanding of depression, the signs and how it may be caused but also where you can seek help.
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression

Raising children

Raising children..

As most of you know I’m a mummy – twice over! I have a gorgeous little man who will be 3 in November and an adorable little princess who entered this world in May. Both are the absolute loves of my life. I often wonder what I did before them.

I must admit with my little man I did things so differently as to how I am with my little girl. I guess being a first time mum I was very over protective, quite nervous and was scared to make mistakes.

Mistakes? Mmmm well I made a lot of them actually but hey, first time mums are allowed. Actually any mum is allowed as there is no rule book to parenting nor is there any right or wrong way. So perhaps they were not mistakes but experiences?

Where to start? with my little guy I would run into his room to check him each time he cried, even if it was only a slight whimper. I actually slept in the same room as him until he was 17 months old as I feared that I would not hear him if he cried. I pretty much mollycoddled him and wrapped him in cotton wool. You wouldn’t think so now though as he is quite independant and self sufficient for a toddler.

With my little girl, I allow her to cry – now please don’t think I’m a terrible mother or neglect her. I certainly do not, however I don’t run to her if she whimpers or cries a little, as I’ve learnt, that babies can cry in their sleep (dreaming). I have a video monitor that is in her room and also a portable monitor that I carry with me that allows me to see her wherever I am. It also has a microphone on it so that if she is awake and upset, I can talk to her through it – sometimes if she simply hears my voice it settles her. I also can assess her situation without running to her side. I will go get her if she is too upset though, or if she continually cries for a period of time. As a mother you learn your babies cries and can differentiate the cry between hungry, sad, tired or just needing cuddles.

With my little guy, as soon as he cried I would pick him up. Sing to him and I also rocked him to sleep. He didn’t know how to self settle and never had too as he had my undivided attention and I was more than happy to carry him around and rock him to sleep.

With my little girl, I allow her to self settle. If she cries I monitor for how long and will go into her room, gently put my hand on her chest so that she can smell me and also feel that I am with her. I sometimes also shhhhhh. Again if too upset I will pick her up and comfort her but I’m certainly not as clingy on her as I was with my little guy. I constantly watch her through the monitor though 🙂

With my little guy, as soon as he cried I would pick him up and carry him around. Second time around, I just don’t have time to carry her constantly as I do have a toddler to also look after.

With my little girl, I allow her to lay in her rocker or in a safe place and observe what going on around her. Yes I carry and hold her but not constantly. There is defiantly no neglect though.

Now as I said before, there is no right or wrong way to parent, everyone has their own way and no one should judge. Being a parent is hard, especially a stay at home parent. There is no ‘break’. You are followed to the bathroom, asked ‘why?’ A million times per day, you seldom shower without an audience and of course share all your meals, however I’d never change it for the world.

Being a mother is the most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done. It is the only thing that continuously makes me smile and be happy. To hold my children is a blessing and to watch them sleep at night then get a good morning kisses and cuddles makes my day. They make me whole.

What I have learnt from both my children is that firstly I’m a lot more relaxed with my little girl, perhaps confident? I know she isn’t going to die from a little cry, I know that self settling is a good thing for both her and I and I have also learnt that although she is a gazillion percent reliant on me, she is ok to lay in her rocker and watch the works go by. I’m never far away and she doesn’t always need to be held it carried around. 🙂

I love both my children equally, there is no favouritism – they are both my absolute world. I’m besotted by them. They make me who I am today and I’m forever grateful that I have 2 gorgeous children that I made.

They are part of me and no matter how over tired I am or how many times I’ve played the same game or sang the same song, they make me happy. Dirty nappies and all. 🙂

Id love to hear your parenting experiences. Email me noordinarymummy@gmail.com

Attempted break in.

Attempted break in

So not that long ago we had an attempted break in, into our home.

It was approx 9:30pm at night and someone tried to break in through my little girls bedroom. She is only 8 weeks old and was in bed at the time.

There are French doors onto a balcony off her room which is where they tried to get in.

I was laying in bed watching TV when I heard a door handle tattle as though someone was trying to open it but couldn’t. You know the sound when your opening a door but it’s locked and it rustles? Well that’s the sound.

This sound kept happening for approx 30 minutes – it started about 9pm. At first I didn’t think much of it, I thought it was my husbands eldest son who is almost 13 in the bathroom but as it kept happening I though best I’d check it out.

As I walked from my bedroom hubby’s son was standing outside my door scared. He had heard it too, as we both stood still it happened again. It was coming from my daughters bedroom. She is 8 weeks old. I grabbed my phone and started to call my husband who was downstairs working on his laptop but he had his phone on silent as he wasn’t answering.

I decided I’d go downstairs and get him. Hubby came up and as he went out to investigate, the attempted intruder ran, they had entered our property from a reserve that we back onto then they came through our tennis court and up into a balcony which is s good 2-3 meters high and into my daughters balcony.

I called the police and within minutes they were at our house. I think they arrived as I ended the call to the police station. They were very prompt and made me feel thankful.

They walked our property and saw foot prints but unfortunately the offered we had managed to get away. Perhaps they were in hiding down in the scrub of the reserve behind our property boundary.

They next day I went outside to look for possible entry points and to see if there were more footprints and yes there were. Not implying that they had came back but just confirming which areas of our property they had been on. I know they were not our foot prints as it had been raining and these prints were quite fresh. They has also been around the front of our home as we have a pebble path with loose pebbles and the pebbles were embedded with large foot prints. The police didn’t walk that path. That particular path is right outside mine and my 2 year old sons bedrooms.

So the following day I arranged various security company’s to come and investigate what updated security systems and measures we need. They have since been installed.

Although I have been concerned as I do have 2 young children. I can’t say that I was overly scared as my thought process is that, if someone wants to get in bad enough, they will find away.

Perhaps I’m arrogant towards the situation but I’m not going to allow this to scare me or change the way I live. Why should I live in fear, especially within my own home? All I can do is protect myself and my family.

My biggest concern is if the proposed intruder was on drugs and how they may react or behave. That there is out of my control.

We have even more secure systems and high tech alarms in place now and security and the police patrolling the area on a more regular basis.

Have you had a break in or attempted break I’m?

I’d be interested in hearing your story. Email me – noordinarymummy@gmail.com

Broken friendships.

Broken friendships.

It’s interesting the friendships we make along the years. Some that last, some that pass but what I guess still integers me as why some last longer than others and what makes those that don’t last fade?

I’m the first one to admit I don’t have thousands of friends. I don’t need them. I have a few amazing friends whom I know I can count on at anytime and they would be there for me.

What breaks my heart though are those lost friendships that are non recoverable.

I have had a few of these also.

In most cases my friendships generally end as people we grow apart however sometimes things happen that change a friendship forever and it’s unrepairable.

For instance, I’ve had friends not like my husband for whatever reason so they choose to cut me out of their lives. I’ve had friends marry partners themselves who are controlling and limit their time with their friends. Or they don’t allow their partners to spend time with their own friends insisting that the husbands friends are their ‘couple’ friends so that’s whom they should be spending time with.

I had a wonderful friend whom I met through an old boyfriend. She was dating my then boyfriends best friend. We automatically got along and even after my relationship with that boyfriend ended we staied friends. She was with her boyfriend for a lot longer than I was with mine. I think my relationship ended after 2 years and gets about 4 years however through the whole time we kept our friendship separate.

We had the type of friendship that if she had an argument with her boyfriend and was upset at 2am she would call me and I would go to her home and comfort her or she would come to mine.

We often had ‘OC nights’ – for the young readers, OC is ‘orange county’ which is a TV show that used to be in Tuesday nights. We would cook a yummy dinner and have desert and wine and make it a girls night in. It was fun. We did it for possibly 3-4 years or even longer! We would giggle and laugh and feel that we could relate to these TV characters. There were about 5 of us girls that would do this.

Even after my friend broke up with her boyfriend we kept our friendship. She had a pretty tough break up as they were living together however I always made sure I was there for her.

We had a few other boyfriends inbetween but nothing serious. We would go out and party, dance and have fun. Gosh we were 25 year old single fun loving females.

Her boyfriend still lingered though as they had such a string love and respect for each other. I was always supportive even when she started dating a new guy. Sometimes it’s best to say nothing and give no advice as it may very we back fire. So for a few months she was double dating so to speak.

I knew they new boyfriend wasn’t much of a fan of mine. He thought I was a bad influence on her as I was care free, independant and very strong minded. I think our friendship started to change there. We started to spend less time together as she was spending more time with the new boyfriend.

I started to see my now husband about 6 months after she started dating her now husband.

Although mine and my husbands relationship was a bit stop start in the beginning she was almost always supportive. Until at her wedding which we attending something changed. My hubby and I had a fight and he broke up with me. I was so upset as it was my friends ‘big day’ however I held it together and went to the bathroom then left to go back to our hotel as it was a destination wedding. From then on she didn’t like my now hubby. Possibly understandable but I have since heard and she once told me that my behaviour that day ruined her wedding. Now I never made a scene nor did I cry in public but apparently I ruined her wedding day.

So after my hubby (was only boyfriend at the time) and I broke up and came back to Sydney we tried to work on our relationship – he had been married before and his break up was messy and difficult. I understand being at another wedding would have been tough even though his marriage has ended 5 years earlier. We ended up working through it only to break up a month later.

My friend was fuming and demanded I go stay with her and her hubby until I found my own place which I was grateful for so I staied with her for a week.

A few months passed and my ex (now hubby) was wanting me back. At this time I was dating a younger guy whom my friend also didn’t approve of. I felt at this point I couldn’t do anything good in her eyes. It was at my 30th where the younger new boyfriend attended that I realised she and I wouldn’t be close again.

After that relationship ended and my ex and I had worked things through – or were trying a fresh start. Ex (now hubby) and I went to Paris. When my friend heard about the trip she called me and says that she refuses to be there for me ever again and when the pieces break again she won’t pick them up. She made it very clear that she didn’t like my now hubby and cannot say she is happy for me. I was really upset but guess I had to understand.

Even though I’d supported her through her multiple break ups and fights with her previous boyfriend is also been on the end of the phone at 2, 3 whatever am consoling her and being a supportive friend. I kind of sensed that she now thought as she was married she didn’t need me or my friendship as she had his friends and I guess this was her easy way out?

I was quite heart broken.

A few years passed and I’d heard that her mum was unwell then passed away and I took the day off work to attend the funeral. When her first child was born I sent a shall gift. Each year on her mothers birthday and anniversary I send a nice message of thoughts letting her know I’m always here and understand how tough it would be for her going through such life changing times without her mum. I always received messages back from her saying thank you and that she will always love me and appreciate my thoughts and that when she gets time it would be nice to catch up. I still have all these text messages and facebook messages.

So recently I invited her to my little boys 2nd birthday. We have many mutual friend and I see these friends possibly monthly if not more often as we all have children around the same age. I’d chatted to a mutual friend asking if she tonight it would be a nice idea and she thought perhaps it would. After all this time and all the ‘olive branches’ I’ve put out there thought maybe this could bring our friendship back, however I got a bit of a slap in the face. The text response was simply ‘that’s kind but we can’t make it’ I was upset again then realised. Why am I constantly allowing this so called friend to disappoint me?

She clearly doesn’t want my friendship anymore.

For many reasons friendships end and it’s sad but I think a true friend –
Will never judge.
Will never listen to others put their friend down.
Will stand by their friend and support them through anything.
Will make time for their friends.

Tell me your broken friendship stories.

Noordinarymummy@gmail.com

Debate or Discussion?

Debate, discussion, communication and opinions.

I’m all for a robust discussion. A disagreement. A difference if opinion. Bring it on.

But so often what I’m seeing from my inside my computer, as a busy mum and blogger is that the average person is hitting the keyboard and secretly saying things online they would never dream of saying in real life.

Words, that they are humiliated and ashamed to say or even own when they are either confronted or are outed.

It’s enough. People are very much I feel happy to write the abusive email, quick text of anger and or a message of nastiness not even thinking of the implications. By hitting send in any communication form or hanging up the phone after that mean message, there will always be implications.

We all have opinion’s and we are all very much entitled to this, please remember though, your message, text, call, email may just be the final tip that really hurts someone, hurts their feelings, emotions and is unrepairable. If you send this to someone who is possible suffering depression or who may be suicidal or in a terrible frame of mind it could be the worst decision ever.

Think before your send. I’ve said this before but every action has a reaction.

You don’t necessarily know how the receiver is feeling of what they are going through. Be kind.

We’re better than this. All of us.

Heart attack, it’s a big deal.

Heart attack, it’s a big deal.

So 2 weeks ago my mum had not 1 but 2 heart attacks. My mum is a nurse and works very hard in a hospital over an hours drive from the small town where she lives. She had arrived at work early on the Friday morning complaining if chest pains and shortness of breath, one if her colleagues insisted on taking her pulse – which was racing. Her colleague also insisted on an ECG straight away only to find out my mother had suffered a minor heart attack.

She has been suffering sharp chest pains for a few months but thought nothing of them, passing them off as indigestion. Turns out she was wrong.

I found out that my mother had a heart attack at approx 4pm that afternoon after she had it at 7am. The hospital had informed her husband who failed to contact anyone else to raise the awareness. Needless to say I was fuming. This is my mother, this is her health and this is very important.

The way I found out is not ideal, I was on a play date with a friend and our two boys and received a calm from my older sister asking if I had heard from mum. My reply was no as I hadn’t. I asked her why? He response that she received a weird text from her but had tried calling mums mobile only to have it ring out or go to voice mail. She was taking her 3 children to the dentist and asked me to keep trying.

I decided to call the hospital where our mother works. To my shock I was transferred to the emergency department where a nurse informed me that she had was unable to talk as she had a heart attack and they were running tests to work out why.

I called my sister to inform her and she rushed to the hospital which is 1.5hrs away ASAP.

The hospital staff were concerned after running tests so sent her via patient transport to a larger hospital the next day. I of course travelled to that hospital on the Sunday morning with my toddler for a visit. I received a call from my sister earlier that morning saying she had another heart attack earlier that morning.

My mum is young 54 to be exact, how can this happen to her? Why has this happened to her?

After many tests, cardiac ablation )which required nodes to be removed from her heart) and an angiogram it turns out the heart attacks were caused by a condition called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Which basically means the sufferer has emotional stress. It’s also called ‘octopus heart’ or ‘broken heart syndrome’.

Now before the shock set in I was thinking, mode removed? Why? Doesn’t she need those?

Nodes in the heart are what basically pumps the heart, nodes create the electrical conduction for the heart to pump. Normal electrical conduction in the heart allows impulses that are generated by the sinoatrial node (SA node) of the heart to be propagated (stimulate) the cardiac muscle (myocardium). The myocardium contracts after it’s stimulated. It is the stimulation of the myocardium that allows contraction of the heart, allowing blood to be pumped throughout the rat of our body’s.

My mum herself is a highly trained nurse and has been for many years, yes she has a stressful life but to hear this diagnosis is a little shocking.

I won’t go into her personal life details but there are many confirmed reasons as to why she is suffering ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’. Now it’s up to her and our family to try and eliminate these stresses to ensure that she is around with us for many years to come.

After much research into this I’ve found the descriptions below from a Harvard Health publication.

It’s named after an octopus trap — and that’s not all that’s unusual about this reversible heart condition. It occurs almost exclusively in women.

Years of gender-based research have shown that in matters of the heart, sex differences abound. One striking example is the temporary heart condition known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, first described in 1990 in Japan. More than 90% of reported cases are in women ages 58 to 75. Research suggests that at least 6% of women evaluated for a heart attack actually have this disorder, which has only recently been reported in the United States and may go largely unrecognized. Fortunately, most people recover rapidly with no long-term heart damage.
Features of takotsubo cardiomyopathy

Chest pain and shortness of breath after severe stress (emotional or physical)

Electrocardiogram abnormalities that mimic those of a heart attack

No evidence of coronary artery obstruction

Movement abnormalities in the left ventricle

Ballooning of the left ventricle

Recovery within a month
What is it?

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, usually as the result of severe emotional or physical stress, such as a sudden illness, the loss of a loved one, a serious accident, or a natural disaster such as an earthquake. (For additional examples, see “Stressors associated with takotsubo cardiomyopathy.”) That’s why the condition is also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy, or broken-heart syndrome. The main symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath.
Stressors associated with takotsubo cardiomyopathy*

Sudden drop in blood pressure

Serious illness, surgery, or medical procedure (e.g., cardiac stress test)

Severe pain

Domestic violence

Asthma attack

Receiving bad news (such as a diagnosis of cancer)

Car or other accident

Unexpected loss, illness, or injury of a close relative, friend, or pet

Fierce argument

Financial loss

Intense fear

Public speaking

A surprise party or other sudden surprise

The precise cause isn’t known, but experts think that surging stress hormones (for example, adrenaline) essentially “stun” the heart, triggering changes in heart muscle cells or coronary blood vessels (or both) that prevent the left ventricle from contracting effectively. Researchers suspect that older women are more vulnerable because of reduced levels of estrogen after menopause. In studies with rats whose ovaries had been removed, the ones given estrogen while under stress had less left-ventricle dysfunction and higher levels of certain heart-protective substances.

Takotsubo symptoms are indistinguishable from those of a heart attack. And an electrocardiogram (ECG) may show abnormalities also found in some heart attacks — in particular, changes known as ST-segment elevation. Consequently, imaging studies and other measures are needed to rule out a heart attack. To get a definitive diagnosis, clinicians look for the following:

No evidence on an angiogram of blockages in the coronary arteries — the most common cause of heart attacks. (The coronary arteries are also not blocked in microvessel disease, a more common cause of heart attack symptoms in older women. Microvessel disease results from abnormal dilation of the blood vessels feeding the heart.)

A rapid but small rise in cardiac biomarkers (substances released into the blood when the heart is damaged). In a heart attack, cardiac biomarkers take longer to rise but peak higher.

Evidence from an x-ray, echocardiogram (ultrasound image), or other imaging technique that there are abnormal movements in the walls of the left ventricle. The most common abnormality in takotsubo cardiomyopathy — the one that gives the disorder its name — is ballooning of the lower part of the left ventricle (apex). During contraction (systole), this bulging ventricle resembles a tako-tsubo, a pot used by Japanese fishermen to trap octopuses. Another term for the disorder is apical ballooning syndrome. (See “Apical ballooning and the tako-tsubo.”)

Heart attacks can be caused by many factors of our lives and can occur at any age or any fitness level.

If you are suffering any type of stress or tightness in your chest, please see your doctor. No life is worth losing.