Sobell House offers an eight-week course for people who are living with Heart Failure, along with a loved one. The course aims to increase attendees’ confidence in managing their condition and to help them to live well, and has been designed to give attendees the chance to ask lots of questions and to share their experiences with other people facing similar challenges. Each week there is a discussion and learning session on a different theme, as well as gentle physical activity and a relaxation session.
Annabel who is pictured, attended the course earlier this year with her husband Ari. Annabel has very kindly spoken to Sobell House about their experience of the course:
“Ari had been very ill last August. He was due to come home from hospital. We’d just started the heart transplant process which was thoroughly depressing, there were so many restrictions. Building up to [coming home] just got worse and worse and worse and I broke down before Christmas. I was crying all day every day and I just didn’t see how we were going to move forward with life. So then we were offered this therapy programme at Sobell House and we agreed to do it.
We turned up at Sobell House and it was a very welcoming place. The day centre is bright and warm and there are lovely armchairs. There were a wonderful team of professionals from Sobell House and from the British Heart Foundation who I loved.
You have carers and you have the people going through the illness there. We all had to introduce ourselves and open up. A lot of people were really broken at that stage, and a lot of people didn’t realise the severity of their illness or have plans in place.
At some points the carers go off together to talk in the conservatory which gives you a chance to discuss how you really feel and to offer advice to each other. That was really helpful because you bottle up all these horrible feelings. You go on to form these wonderful relationships [with the people on the course].
One of the things we learnt on the course was neurological path training; we’d all do sessions where you’d retrain the brain to help you get rid of stress. And it’s the most effective thing. You can pick it up so quickly with practice and do it before going to sleep. It’s changed my life, my whole approach to things.
For Ari, he was able to talk freely on the course, and he’s now got connections who he can relate to. What it also helped us to do was have a talk about death, which we were avoiding beforehand because we weren’t strong enough.
It’s changed our lives and it has strengthened us. It’s been lifesaving. I’m not going to the GP with depression, I’m not taking pills, but I think I was going that way before Christmas. Me and Ari would go for a mini date and have lunch before the course each week, so it’s given us some life back. It was something we could do together. Before we were just going to the hospital together and were focused on his health all the time, so it’s strengthened us in that sense [too].