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Making sense?

This is a question to Bill or anyone else if they think they can help. I'm in a mess at the moment having just passed a year from my time in ICU. Being ventilated etc like most of all of you who have posted on this site. I have been told I have depression and PTSD and after a long time eventually got to see someone but have been told I can have only 12 weeks of treatment. My counsellor is trying to get an extension as she feels I need more help. Surely this makes no sense to me and can't be right that someone with depression and PTSD in the mental mess I find myself in having survived ITU now finds herself without the help she needs. Thank you all for the postings which I read often and it does help to know that one is not alone with this awful mental meltdowns.

8 Replies

Hello, I'm sorry for what you are going through, I too am in the same situation coma, depression, PTSD. I was referred 23rd of December but still waiting to be will be a year in May for me. I've been to the doctors so many times and feel nothing ever comes of it, my only hope is I have a hospital appointment 13 April and I may get some advise then ( it was at the hospital that I got diagnosed with PTSD). Finding this site has been a god send, I really did think I was on my own, that maybe what I was going through wasn't real even. I hope you do get more counselling, please update the post with the out come as I have no idea what to expect. im sorry I couldn't be of any help.


Hi Gemma, I just wanted to reply with, hopefully, a word of encouragement for you. Since finding this site, I have come to realise that PTSD or aspects of it, are very normal for post - ICU patients. Flashbacks, bad dreams, anxiety, low mood, irritation....are, in their own way terrible, but I think they are  'normal' responses to what we have suffered in ICU. 

So having these troubles is not a sign of weakness nor an indication that you will not get better. Would it be helpful to see these things - awful though they are - as a sign that one's mind and emotions are busy working hard and  processing the ICU experience. These things may actually be part of the healing process. And in the long run, it's better to do the work, and suffer and struggle now, than go into denial and pretend everything is OK (or it will come back and hit you, even many years later) Please don't get yourself into the frame of mind 'it's been a year now, I should be doing better'.  Don't punish yourself.

I hope this helps. Hang on in there, have courage, and you will get through this.


Hi. Can you describe PTSD Symptoms you have to me please and what happens. My GP thinks I have it but it has never been described to me by anyone. I hope you can help on this one.




Hi Tia: it sounds to me like you have had the 'regulation' NHS 12 weeks of psychological treatment. The fact that it is rationed like this is appalling, but that seems to be how it is these days (same with physiotherapy, I found)

I'm going to be a bit bold here and make some therapeutic suggestions, having had experience as a mental health practitioner and also a mental health patient: 

if you can get the psychological therapy extended, then do so. If you can't, then I'd consider paying for counselling. However, it's expensive and you need to be VERY careful about who you get. Also, you need to familiarise yourself with the type of counselling on offer. You must go with what feels right for you.

As to the question of depression and PTSD: if you have been given a firm diagnosis of clinical depression (?have you seen a psychiatrist - nothing wrong with this, if you have)

then I wonder if you have been prescribed any medication. Now I know that many people are averse to medication for depression and will resist it. Personally, I am of the opposite viewpoint: I suffered serious depression many years ago (long before ICU) to the extent of being hospitalised, and I have to say that medication was my life line. Like many medications, it took some getting used to, but I persisted, and it was worth it. There are a whole range of tablets for treating depression, and again, what suits some people may not be helpful for others. Trial and error etc

I know that many alternative therapists and womens' magazines recommend using herbal remedies for depression or having a bath whilst burning lavender candles and listening to whale-song - I think that is all rubbish. Ditto mindfulness and meditation: whilst I'm sure these are useful for the worried well, when you are so anxious and agitated that you can barely sit still, or recovering from a very traumatic experience, you are incapable of doing either of these.

Be kind to yourself, and patient: get plenty of rest and make sure you eat and  sleep properly. Things will improve over time.

BTW, I have not suffered clinical depression since my one and only bout, so it shows you can get better.

With very best wishes

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Oh you poor thing!!! I'm the same, nearly one year and thought I was ok! But have only just recently started getting the flashbacks/nightmares/dejavu

Can I ask where you live??? The NHS is standard either 6 or 12 weeks but there are a couple of 'after ICU' programmes out there, I'm lucky enough to live in a town that has one and they've been fantastic!!!!

If you would like to mail me about absolutely anything, even just to get stuff off your chest it's

It will get easier and this site really helps as you realise your not alone in how you are feeling, all the best xxx

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Hi, Tiaclydebonnie,

I sorry to hear you're having a difficult time and not in a good place at the moment, I fully understand what you're going through, unfortunately PTSD is very common among ICU survivors, probably the most common question we ask ourselves is "why me" when most of us were fit and healthy before our lives were turned upside down.

I know it sounds like madness when so much time & money is spent on saving our lives, with so little if any after support, I have known people with PTSD to be offered CBT which is like giving someone paracetamol instead of morphine, but until the lack of funding for the NHS is redressed I can see no improvement in mental health care.

I found my way of helping to deal with it was by finding myself some quiet time, I'm very fortunate to live next to a country park/nature reserve near the Sussex coast where I take gentle exercise, walking my dog along the riverside listening to my favorite music or taking pictures of the ever changing seasons, it was a great way of collecting my thoughts and improving my health.

The real turning point for me was a chance conversation with the followup nurse, who I  became to know well from my 3 months in ICU, she asked me to speak to a long term patient who was very down which I did on several occasions but unfortunately he never survived, it puts everything into perspective and makes you realise how incredibly you are, it led to me being the driving force in setting up a local support group, speaking to hospital staff, the board of the hospital & a local conference of my experience, I then went on to become a trustee of ICUsteps, speaking at their first ever conference, it's not something for everyone but for me it works.

A year is still fairly early days and everyone is different there's no set time frame in recovery from such a traumatic experience, so don't be to hard on yourself, I think we all feel immense guilt of what we've put our families through even though it was beyond our control, if you feel you would like a chat about your concerns, let me know and I'll PM you my details, I'm always happy to help where I can.

Best wishes in your continued recovery, it's often hard work but believe me it's worth it.




Hi Bill it's Phil. Hope you are well. First the good news. I have downloaded the ICUSteps Document you mentioned to me and have spoken to the Sister in the Critical Care Unit where I was first put into induced Coma. She knows about Steps and is very interested in a Support Group for Nottingham. I have sent the documents to her but at the moment the ICU is undergoing a refurb but she has promised to get back to me early April when the work is complete. Although I organised two major Cancer Research UK events in 2006 my life is now totally different. I am really enthusiastic to be part of a Group helping where I can to set up but do not wish to burn myself out by doing too much so will be mindful of that. I really hope it happens and if so, will be down to you. The downside is that on Wednesday I woke up and did not feel 'right' so what I did was to go out and do the small tasks set for the day. I completed each one steadily with a coffee break in between but all day I had this horrible empty feeling inside. I phoned my surgery to see if I could get an appointment with my regular GP. I was told no appointments but could have a phone call from him on Friday morning Post Surgery. I said that would do but I could still like a massive wave building up inside. I went to collect my wife but part way there I just broke down into an uncontrollable sobbing fit. I just couldn't stop. I rang the surgery again to ask to see someone urgently as my mind was going to pieces. Although I may have told you this already so please forgive me but she said "But you sounded fine to me an hour ago when you spoke to me what is different now" To cut a long story short I managed to see the emergency GP at the Surgery and she doubled my Diazepam with a suggestion that when I spoke to my Dr on Friday to suggest doubling the Mertazapine at night. As I was reading one of the letters earlier it mentioned PTSD which my Dr 'THINKS' I have but most importantly I am on a 12 week Psychology referral and its a case of 'What happens to me after that?' and I am genuinely frightened. I am really trying my best but that never seems enough. All I want is to be happy and stop thinking of the years that have gone and events that happened and how I could have done things differently. I know things will improve but just had to send this to you. Sorry for rambling

Best wishes as always


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Thank you all so much for your very helpful comments. Which all help one to believe there is some glimmer of hope for me when I'm having a good day. Thank you all for giving your time to reply it's so very uplifting xx


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