Hi, i had meningococcal meningitis when i was 18 (nearly 5 yrs ago) and I was in intensive care, a coma, and had a 6 month outpatient period afterwards.

Side effects at the time after the disease included migraines and generally being very weak, sick, confused and my attention waned easily.

The headaches stayed with me for a long time and i also had a mild bout of pneumococcal meningitis too about 8 months later.

I have since suffered with depression and anxiety issues as well as being easily irritable and stressed/unhappy/short tempered which I have always tried to ignore but they've become worse and very visible to my family/girlfriend.

So far the doctors have only recommended speaking therapy (cognitive behavioural) and a mention of anti depressants.

I know that meningococcal meningitis affects the brain and its chemistry - could my depression by a side effect of the meningitis? My parents said my emotions and behaviour changed whilst I had meningitis and have since stayed that way (i never had any previous bouts of depression etc prior to the meningitis).

i'm getting booked back in at doctors but don't really want to resort to anti depressants for fear of their side effects or dependance.

The CBT hasnt worked thus far for me, and i know it is starting to get worse and affecting my relationship and the more i worry about it, the worse it gets. As opposed to CBT i guess i'd rather see a psychologist or so - someone i can talk to and not get exercises/tasks from. As much as i try the CBT exercises i cannot get onboard with them and aren't convinced theyre helping. Can i just ask my doctor for this treatment?

Can anyone add any advice?

5 Replies

  • About twenty years ago I was spending Christmas in North Africa, I became ill, and just managed to get back home to the New Year, where I came down with Viral Meningitis.

    On New Years Eve I was rushed into hospital and as soon as my temperature dropped and they released the pressure on my brain they sent me home.

    Since then my memory is really bad and I understand meningitis will affect the memory and cause a certain amount of confusion.

    When I returned to work my work began too suffer and that in part ended my career in Engineering. In the past they were concerned that my memory had become tainted and I was suffering various forms of confusion. I had many tests and they were able to see what was wrong.

    Now I am sixty five my memory has become worse and I have problem relating to different life challenges. Also I suffer depression associated with my Chronic Disability.

    If you are finding one type of treatment is preferred all you can do is is ask for your preferred pathway, all He may do is refuse and suggest further avenues for you to try

    Over the years, although disabled I have done voluntary work in a mental health environment and I also work voluntary on various task groups and committees associated within the NHS environment.

    What I am trying to say is all is not negative, live your life and learn , if required you will be all ok and you will have an interesting life. Granted my condition was not as bad as yours, all I suggest is carry on with your life and never feel disadvantaged

    We are always around to give you help, support and encouragement


  • Thanks for the reply. It helps to know im not making it up - explaining it to my family or girlfriend makes it hard to understand for them.

    My memory isn't great either, and again its not always easy for peoplw to understand or take into account the issue i had. Because its not a visible disability its easy to miss i guess.

    Ill try the doctors again and see what they say. Just an explanation or confirmation of my suspicions would be nice so i can start to understand it more and live with it as best as i can.

    The depression is the worst bit and im trying to resolve it but it is like banging my head on a wall sometimes as i can't control ita onset. With it comes anxiety, slight OCD, self hate, self doubt and anger/short temper.

  • Yes your problems seem to be depression and the GP will need to treat that problem for you. That may lead to further well known treatments.

    With a bit of luck all will work out well for you and the contraindications from your meningitis may just go given time, I really feel just live your life and not to worry

    Good Luck


  • Hi Oasis,

    It is certainly possible that you have an acquired brain injury after such a serious illness - were you ever referred to a neuropsychologist after your illness ? I wonder if sensory overload/fatigue is an issue and worsens symptoms ?

    There is a friendly Headway site here on healthunlocked, if you feel it may help. I was suspected of having Encephalitis but never got a definite diagnosis - I have both physical and cognitive probs as a result but have adapted : )

    Kind regards, Angela x

  • Sorry, meant to add this info, thought it could be useful

    If you scroll down to bottom of page there is a factsheet on possible emotional and behavioural effects.

    A x

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