After effects from BM

Since contracting BM I have been having anxiety/panic attacks one of it being fear of germs and getting BM again. I also have the fear of going out and meeting people. Considering that I was a really sporty person who was going circuit training 3 times a week, bike riding, road running etc ;now I fear seeing my sports friends who I used to train with. My emotions has also changed, I cry at a drop of a hat I wasn't like that before. Is this normal and if so will it get better with time.


9 Replies

  • Sorry to hear you have suffered bacterial meningitis,but glad you have found our forum for support.Menigitis can leave a huge array of both physical and emotional after effects and from your othe r post it s clear you have been through a huge trauma .I suffered Bacterial meningitis and septicaemia in Jan 2008 and still live with the life altering consequences - loss of balance( I am also on crutches and need a powered wheelchair for outside),memory loss,learning difficulties,migraine.I also suffered post traumatic stress disorder which at the time was even worse to deal with than the physical after effects.

    Have you contacted Meningitis Now helpline?The nurses there are fabulous and can signpost you to many of the free services the charity offer.Counselling was my lifeline at the time -I received telephone counselling(as was unable to travel) and without this I would not have been here,as I became seriously depressed and anxious about going out.For me it wasn't germs but just I felt so unwell and 24/7 dizzy that I was scared I would take ill outside.I also became travel sick for the first time in my life so this also became a barrier to travel as even the smallest journey would have me unwell -simple solution-travel pills! I had flash backs every time I closed my eyes so was scared to sleep asif I did Id wake up with my heart pounding and feeling i couldn't breathe.In the end I really was suicidal from lack of sleep and it was only when my GP prescribed me sleeping pills that things started to improve.As I was very blessed indeed to have survived and am a Christian,I felt bad that i felt so bad! One minute I felt so upbeat and happy to be alive,the next I was sobbing and wishing I had slept away.Then Id feel bad about having such thoughts,but it was aviscious circle and I couldn't seem to get out of it.It was talking to my counsellor that enabled me to feel compassion for my trauma and see that it was OK to have all of theses feeelings.

    Many of us on here will empathise with what yo uare experiencing as we have been there too.Everyone is different in what helps them,but help is certainly there for you.Meningitis Now can help with counselling,1-2-1 support( I volunteer for this.You are matched up with someone who has had a similar experience and can contact via email,text,phone,in person) for individual support and friendship.Some only need a few contacts,others become good friends.Medically,I would see you Gp to see what can be done to help with the panic attacks and anxiety.Please don't suffer any longer as mental after effects can disable you even more than physical ones.Remember you have had a traumatic brain injury.Many people have emotional after effects from acquired brain injuries,and Menigitis is the same.

    You will get through this but its a long,slow process so just accept the you that you have become and seek help for the after effects that are upsetting you as they do need expert treatment.Meningitis Now also offer financial support grants ,so it may be that you could find a complementary therapy which would help you or specialist counselling?To enquire about any of these contact helpline or the website.

    The forums are not so busy ,since the format was changed.I for one,have memory problems ,so now have a hard time keeping track of the posts,but I do hope other will answer.

    Please know you are not alone and feel free to pm me if you,d like to chat privately-just click on daffodil.

    Take care.x

  • I meant to say that I too had a fear of getting Meningitis again-in fact any worsened migraine,temperature or worsening of the dizziness had me wondering if I should phone the doctor.Also became over anxious about my teenaged kids getting it.One thing I did to try to combat this was to work on my immune system with a herbalist/nutritionist.This helped me to focus on positive actions I could take.I have found mindfulness meditation to be really helpful in stopping anxious thoughts.There are lots of free resources online and if you google mindfulness meditation you can find lots useful info and simple mediations.

  • Thank you for your reply. Reading your post sounds just like what I'm going through - I can't go out on my own due to my inbalance, but when I do I panic that I may fall or worse catch an illness and then get BM again. Like you I also get travel sickness, the dizziness is 10 times worse in a vehicle. At times my balance and dizziness is so awful along with the headaches/pressure in my head I'm not sure if I'm going pass out or throw up then the panic sets in because I live on my own.

    I have been in contact with Meningitis Now and they directed me to this site, I'll contact them again re more info.

  • You just described so well what I feel re the dizziness,fatigue and head pain! Have you been to see any specialist for the vertigo?I saw a neuro otologist and had a years vestibular rehab but sadly it didn't work.I I hadn't had a very good Gp who refereed me to ENT and also a neurologist I would have had no follow up.I was just discharged from hospital and told the side effects would pass eventually!Do insist you are sent to specialists as there are lots of things that can be done to help.

    Travel sickness -I take cinnarizine which is a travel sickness pill for travelling and also take it if I have an acute attack of vertigo( tends to be when its windy,snowy,raining or traveling,like you say movement makes it worse.This is because the part of your brain and inner ear that may be damaged controls balance and movement.

    A few years ago I wrote a post on here about vestibular problems after Meningits,but now cant seem to find it.I will search again and let you know,as there are a number of good websites to help.

    I also saw a neurologist remy almost constant migraines and have had success with Pitotifen which is a migraine preventative.This has made a huge difference.I still get a tendency to headaches -like my head is a barometer!but very much improved and only get the odd migraine every few months now.

    Have you seen a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist?Again your GP can refer you.It was my OT who gave me crutches as I was falling so much and like you was afraid even to go down the path on my own.It is very natural reaction as you are so dizzy and unwell.I now after 6 yrs have a powered wheelchair as I had an attendant pushed one,with no one to push me,so it sat in the cupboard and I just didn't go out or if I did I just went from a car to a chair for 5 yrs.If you are on your own this may be an option.You may think its a step backwards but actually it has given me such freedom and a new lease of life this summer.I wish I had got it long ago.

    You may also qualify for PIP and other sickness benefits which could help you with getting mobility aids.Youcouldalso use itt pay for a carer to accompany you outside?

  • I applied for PIP and received an outcome after nearly six months. I'm due to be going back into rehab next month so hopefully I will get alot of help there.

  • Tinks, yes, it will, get better, though you may find the emotions are affected long-term. It's odd, and nobody tells you it will happen, but the brain has had a real injury and you will have sudden, unpredictable weaknesses in emotions and muscles - for me, a non-sporty person, it was just climbing stairs that would suddenly catch me out. For years after my meningitis I'd suddenly need to sit down for a few minutes; you get to recognise the onset and just accept it - in a minute or two it will pass and you can get on with things. The severity of these moments will decrease, and the gaps between them, will gradually get longer; for me it was several times a day, then several a week, then just occasional. I still find that I'm affected emotionally by things that used not to bother me - this is normal, and is a kind of depression which will slowly lift, but you've been through an important experience which leaves its mark. You're missing the social side of your sport, and fear that your friend swill think you're weak because there's nothing visibly wrong with you. Well, yes, you are weak, but it's not moral failing, it's the result of a brain injury fro which you are recovering. Tell one or two of your friends that you need them to help you get through this - don't just avoid them or they'll soon fade away and you'll feel worse. You will get better, but it's team work.


  • Hi Martin. Thanks for your reply and advise. At the moment I'm not as confident like I was before contracting BM/stroke e.g my balance/short term memory/hearing issues. Meeting and speaking to people can be such an ordeal, I end up not say anything because it makes me feel very anxious. I'm hoping to go back into rehab soon so fingers crossed my balance etc will improve.


  • Hi Martin,

    I had viral meningitis 4 months ago, my symptoms are very similar. I struggle daily with memory, tiredness and balance. I've seen consultant who just said " it's all side effects of meningitis, not that that helped at all but the meningitis trust have been amazing support. Good luck I hope you feel better soon x

  • Tinks,

    Not sure if I can offer much help but just wanted to sympathise - I came down with VM 8 weeks ago and have felt anxiety and depression for pretty much the first time in my life, having been a confident person previously with no worries. I have had outbursts of tears and anxiety from nowhere at times. Along with the headaches, fatigue, etc that have kept me off work since.

    A few things helping me currently..

    My wife is a counsellor and has helped me talk things through and recommended 'Mindfulness' techniques, it is well worth reading up on this and possibly buying a book or reading some blogs about it.

    As someone else said, I have also been working with a qualified nutritionist to who can run some functional tests but also help the things I can control - such as supplements and diet plans which will do as much as possible to help the fatigue and other symptoms. What I would say in terms of your fear of germs (because I can relate to this) is that by seeing a Nutritionist and getting the right supplements, vitamins and foods, I am much more confident that my immune system can tackle and deal with those things in future. I take a strong pro-biotic capsule from a health food shop and again, this helps me feel like I am protecting my body in future, as your immune system relies on a healthy gut!

    Having some kind of treatment which offers solutions always makes me feel better about things and less anxious.

    Lastly, it's a bit cheesy but I've been writing down 4 things I am thankful about every day in the morning. It has helped me feel less sad and focus on positives. Some days I am just thankful for a good night sleep, sun shining, kindness of friends or whatever. It helps to remember whats good!

    Hope you are doing better in the last few weeks, keep us posted on how you are doing.

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