Nerves before Facial Surgery | Mental Health Series

Nerves before facial surgery is one of the most common issues any FFS patient will encounter as the day approaches.  It requires great patience until the much-awaited-for-day finally arrives after many months of preparation.

The 10th of October is World Mental Health Day, a program begun in 1992 by the World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH). For this reason, today we launch the first of a 4-part series in support of the mental health of our patients. Our psychologist, Marina Rodriguez, will be addressing the many emotions, such as nervousness, that arise before and after surgery.

In the words of the WFMH president,

“The world is experiencing the unprecedented impact of the current global health emergency due to COVID-19 that has also impacted on the mental health of millions of people… the levels of anxiety, fear, isolation…uncertainty and emotional distress experienced have become widespread…” 

The current widespread visibility of mental health issues during the pandemic has helped to normalize mental and emotional healthcare. This is key especially for more vulnerable groups such as LGBTIQ+ people, particularly if also an ethnic minority, who are increasingly at risk of suffering from unattended mental health problems.

Dealing with nerves before facial surgery?

Normally, the decision to have an FFS Surgery is not something that has happened overnight. It has been a thoughtful and studied process over time. Something you have wanted for a long time, yet for one reason or another, it is not a straightforward decision. Many are the necessary choices and steps to take beforehand, which may cause some rattled nerves before facial surgery.
It is precisely this waiting that makes us feel like a bundle of nerves at different times before the surgery, even weeks before.

Signs you are nervous before facial surgery

Sometimes, we do not realize that we are nervous about an upcoming event. It helps to pay attention to the physical and emotional signs that may appear while waiting for the day to come.  Here are a few signs of stress and nerves before facial surgery, or any big life event for that matter:

Irritability & Sensitivity

Who hasn’t ever felt irritable or sensitive? It’s normal! Moments when everything feels wrong or we cry for any minor mishap that we would have typically overcome without further ado. This irritability is to be expected when something worries you. Just be aware of it so you may try to control your reactions. This becomes easier when you see your reactions are a product of nerves.

Hyperactivity or Over-stimulation

Another sensation, more physical, is to feel that you are over-activated. Your heart is beating fast, you cannot even feel relaxed on the sofa. This state of over-stimulation is the natural, instinctual “fight-or-flight” response that your mind/body generates to face any unknown or a big event. If in your case you have had other surgeries before, surely your heart is beating and you feel accelerated because you know what the a postoperative period and general anesthesia entail.

Insomnia & Nerves

Perhaps due to this over-activation or irritability, one of the most common symptoms of nervousness is insomnia. Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night is frustrating as many know. This really is nothing more than a signal that your body and brain are alert, preparing for what lies ahead.

In order to deal with this kind of insomnia, try to stick to healthy sleep routines, such as getting to bed at the same time each evening to fit in the recommended 6-8 hours of rest. Also, avoid copious evening meals and drinks with stimulants, like coffee or tea. If you like reading, use an actual book or other relaxing activity in bed that doesn’t involve looking at screens. Many people benefit from practicing simple relaxation and breathing exercises.

Nervousness vs. Anxiety

There is a big difference here.  We must distinguish all these physical and emotional sensations related to nervousness, from those that accompany anxiety. Anxiety is more intense. It makes you feel dramatically worse physically. The manifestations of anxiety may include chest tightness, palpitations, cold sweats, the urge to escape, an intense fear that something bad will happen, shortness of breath or dizziness.

While it is normal for you to feel at wits end with nerves before surgery, it is not so common to feel anxiety before facial surgery. Anxiety is considered an emotional disorder. If you suffer from anxiety, you should not underestimate its impact. We recommend you seek help from a professional as it is probably not related to the surgery, but a combination of factors of your life in general.

Reach out for help managing nerves

In short, with this blog we just want to convey that it is perfectly human to feel nervous at times, especially something like surgery.  If you are looking to spend more attention on your own emotional healthcare, join one of the World Health Organization (WHO) activities for World Mental Health Day 2020!

If you would like to discuss issues with nerves before surgery (or anytime) with our psychologist, do not hesitate to ask your coordinator to set up an appointment. Have a look at our playlist of videos on relaxation, breathing exercises, and visualization that are helpful in dealing with nerves before facial surgery.

Check out the other posts of the mental health series on emotions, the difference between a low mood and postoperative depression as well as figuring out if you are ready for FFS.

Patient Relations Manager Lilia Koss, presentator of Lilia's Livestreams
About the author

Hello world! My name's Lilia Koss! With a background in humanities and diverse professional experiences, I've accumulated 11 years now working in the field of trans healthcare. Involved from the ground up when the business idea was just a seed within a clinic until it gradually transformed into the main focus of our activity. Like any startup, I have had hands in many pots: from workflows, customer journeys, social media, public relations, customer service, sales and coordination, content, web... Now life is more defined. Lately, I focus my energies on Public Relations, Social Media and copywriting of quality for our target during my day-to-day. Plus, the organization of annual educational orientation events around the world aimed at raising visibility of gender-affirming healthcare. Life is pretty complete.