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AM i going mad

I was taken to hospital with tonsillitis and ended up 8 days later waking up in ICU . I felt confused and out of control . When i was moved to HDU they and my family explained that i had to be sedated and i was on a ventilator as my throat closed and i had no airway. I have been out for 8 weeks and still feel so tired and scared . I cant sleep as i have nightmares and relive it all . I had a ICU follow up meeting and they explained some of the things i think happened or believe are true are hallucinations that i had . I feel i should be better and be able to deal with all of this . I should be going back to work but cant as i have lost confidence and cant deal with lots of people and im just not ready to be in the real world . My family are great and so supportive but i feel i should be grateful and lucky for being here . Am i going mad or is this normal . thank you for reading this .

10 Replies

Though our experiences are all unique, you're certainly not alone in what you're going through. If you've not seen it already, our patient information booklet will be reassuring ( as will the accounts of other patients.

I was in ICU for just over 3 weeks and had no memory of the mountain biking accident that put me there. For me, it was like the movie The Matrix. I didn't believe the world I found myself in and was very aware of things that didn't make sense if this was reality and this added to a growing belief that there was a conspiracy. After 3 weeks on a general ward I escaped the hospital and ran away, convinced I had to escape their clutches.

These feelings and beliefs didn't go away suddenly but the did slowly fade over the next few months until I was back in my 'right mind'. As I say, everyone's story is unique but I hope this is of some reassurance that there are people out there who understand what you're going through and that it can get better.



Thank you for your reply i feel so lucky to have found this site and be able to read and talk to others in the same boat .

You really do an amazing job and it does feel like a life line . Thank u again .


Unfortunately a stay in ICU is something we can't prepare ourselves for, I spent 3 months in ICU, almost 8 weeks of which I was in an induced coma, this takes a massive toll on the body, I was told that muscles waste at around 2% a day and along with the psychological damage of the nightmares and hallucinations we are left in a very confused state, but as Peter says things do get better in time, so don't beat yourself up by thinking once you are discharged from hospital life should return to normal.

Families can be a great support in your recovery but sometimes visiting a support group can also be a great help talking to other that have been through a similar experience make you realize you're not going mad and certainly not alone, I think we are all the lucky ones to survive, but it just takes time to believe it.

Best wishes in your continued recovery,



Hi thank you for your reply its good to know about others. This is really an amazing site to know im not on my own .

Thank you .


Hi Pantz,

I too have been in ICU, (twice in 10 days). I escaped the 'Ward' four weeks later, (May 2012).

Mentally, capable of conquering the world, physically impossible, the reason, I was SOO weak. I was not prepared for the debilitating effect a stay in ICU had on the body.

Fifteen months later I am able to concentrate more, I have more energy and thus getting my mobility back.

You will get better but you need time & patience.

If there is a support group in your area PLEASE go there. It will help, not only yourself but also your family.

I have found that talking through my experiences with those in the same or similar situation has been not only comforting & informative but is also helping with the healing.

All the best for the future.



Thank you for your advice and understanding its good to know im not on my own . I will have to look to see if there is a support group locally to go to so i could meet others .

Thank you again


You can find all the ICUsteps local support groups at


Hi Pantz

When I was reading your comment I was just thinking to myself "thank god I'm totally not on my own with how I feel". I hate that you feel the way you do as from experience I know how tough it is. I was in ITU three times so know the feeling. With the nightmares that I think is one of the hardest things, it is for me, but I've found the more I talk about how I feel the more it eases off at times. We are all different like everyone said who has experienced it in the ways we react but for me I found reading at night helped a little. I picked a book that was totally distracting and for a little it helped. I think the more we learn to deal with it the more it helps too.

I may be slightly mad doing this but sometimes I what shows like 24hours in A &E and things like that. It is hard watching them because you kind of know what's going on so I will admit it can upset me at times. But at other times I watch them and they piece little things together. For example tonight I watched a similar show and it showed people in intensive care and things and when I was in hospital I experienced a cardia arrest as well as many other things and I saw it tonight and thought wow that's what kind of happened. It pieced a little together for me, my mum thinks I'm mad watching it because it can be upsetting but yes it upsets me but also puts a tiny piece in a a missive jigsaw I'm trying to put together with what happened to me.

With the confidence and being around lots of people I get that as well so I kind of build up for things, I went out with my mum for lunch, then went to see a film in the cinema, then built things up gradually till I was with 550000 at a Robbin Williams concert :). It gets better.

Maybe with work ask if you can have time off and maybe look at a really short course on something that interests you. That's what I'm doing to get me thinking in a professional and academic way again.

I really hope what I've said helps and if you ever need someone to talk to send a message :)


Hi Amy

Thank you so much for your reply it is so nice to here things get better, and although things look hard at the minute in time i should be back to a normal ish life .

I will certainly take all your advice on board and use the tips you have given me . My work have been fantastic and dont expect me back for a while yet and i have regular contact with them so i know whats going on .

Thank you again for you reply and i know i can message you if i have a wobble take care .


I know i thought i was going mad had great support from family and hospital staff and thought my depression and being scared was not normal but believe me after good after care from medical doctors e.c.t. you will start to see the end of that dark tunnel iam 63 and thought that its over but u will in time be able to help others that had the same problems as you x


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