The second stage of the grief process is experiencing shock / disbelief. 

Shock is when people act in ways that are illogical, uncharacteristic and / or dangerous to themselves and others. Shock can result in feeling unwell or may even make people feel extremely elated.

After having been told they have a “heart problem” many people go into a state of shock and do things that they are later surprised at. 

Many people discover they have a heart condition when they go to the doctor or hospital for another reason. They may go to the doctor with what they think to be a muscular or gastric problem and be surprised they have been given an appointment with a cardiologist or are told to wait for an ambulance to be rushed to hospital.

Many heart patients report that they cannot believe they have a heart problem, that the doctor has got it wrong, that the blood tests are not theirs, that everyone is overreacting etc.

Shock Behaviours

  • don't hear instructions
  • make unwise decisions
  • act irrationally
  • bravado
  • laugh it off
  • accuse medical staff of incompetence / errors
  • refuse treatment
  • ignore advice
  • not accept diagnosis
  • reject medication

Shock-disbelief example

One man was told after an angiogram that he needed a triple bypass operation. His reaction was to get out of bed and state he was not doing it and started to pack his clothes to go home. This caused the staff to be alarmed as it was extremely dangerous to be upright after an angiogram and he had to be sedated to stay lying down.

Patients have been known to verbally abuse staff when told of their condition.

© Len Gould 2019 Heartemotions (Version V210118)