Hi my name is Warren and I am new here. I am writing to ask about my friend who is depressed and suicidal after suffering hearing loss and partial sightedness through Meningitis, she has lost the ability to work and feels completely isolated and alone. I am wondering if there is anybody out there who has on any advice on help and support that might be available to her. Or if there is anyone or any group of people that would be willing to contact her and offer her support. Many thanks

6 Replies

  • Hi Warren

    I am so sorry to hear that your friend has suffered the nasty meningitis and subsequently been left with the life changing after effects of hearing loss and partial sight. You have found a good and support forum here where others who have suffered meningitis, or are close to someone who has, come together to offer each other support, understanding, ideas and info etc. I am sure you will find that others will respond to you as well and it is a great place for you and your friend to talk about her experience, off load,mask questions etc.

    However, my suggestion to you would also be to ring the Meningitis Now helpline. They can provide you with more information about the meningitis your friend has suffered and advise you if there is any other treatment or help she should be receiving at this time. The also have community support staff that will cover your area and will come out to visit your girlfriend to advise you both of the services that Meningitis Now offer are available to her. It is a brilliant service and I highly recommend you contact them. Also take a look on there website as there is lots of info on there too and it will explain in more detail the sorts of support etc that is offered. They can also match and arrange for your friend to be contacted by someone else who has suffered meningitis in a similar way so that they can offer her understanding and support.

    It would also be helpful for your friend if you could encourage her to use this forum herself as well. Sharing experiences together on here as fellow meningitis suffers is very helpful and supportive and she won't feel so isolated and alone because we understand because it has affected our lives too. If she doesn't feel able to post yet it is also helpful to click on user names and to read profiles of others experiences and after effects or just to read the threads of posts and responses.

    Hope to hear more from you and hopefully your friend too.

    Best wishes

  • Contact info - meningitisnow.org.uk

    Freephone helpline 0808 8010 388 - 9a.m to midnight

  • Hi Warren,

    I agree with what Strawberry has suggested, can you encourage her to phone the helpline and read the stories of other meningitis sufferers online? Meningitis Now is a fantastic resource which I wish I knew about when after I had meningitis. It helps to know that others have been through a similar experience and to know what can happen.

    Every case is different and everybody is different, maybe you can pass on my experience to her? I’ve had bacterial meningitis twice, (pneumococcal meningitis), with the first time being more severe than the second. I was also depressed and felt suicidal after each illness. For me antidepressants, which I only needed to take for 6 months each time, were very helpful. It was very helpful to read, read, read, share experiences and learn how others coped. I had never taken antidepressants before and I only needed to take the lowest does, but they just changed the way I looked at things. I also lost about half my hearing in one ear, which added to my depression. But then very slowly, to the doctors surprise, my hearing returned. 3 months after my first meningitis the audiology tests showed 50% hearing loss in one ear, then 3 years later, there was only 20% hearing loss. My brain adapted, it takes time, but the brain will heal.

    A friend of mine has friend who had a rare strain of bacterial meningitis. She is a doctor and after the illness she lost the ability to read and do simple tasks like tell the time. Clearly she could not return to work and she was very depressed. With time though her brain recovered and now (apparently) she is back to work. It’s an amazing story!

    Please let your friend know that our brain can repair itself and make changes. In depression it can be hard to see this. If she can be motivated and have great support with friends like yourself, that things can improve.

    I wish you can her all the best!

  • Hi Warren, great advice from StrawberryCream and SunflowerGirl the Meningitis Now helpline is great and the charity does a lot to help people. I almost died from viral meningitis and have been left with a lot of side effects but none as serious as your friend although I did, both before and after meningitis suffer from depression and had some very dark days indeed. I'm happy to be contacted directly via message on here if it would help as like Strawberry and Sunflowergirl I do know what your friend has been through, at least in part anyway. There is no need for anyone to feel isolated and alone, there really isn't and so please do encourage her to use the resources Meningitis Now provides, see her doctor to mention the depression and suicidal thoughts as this is very common after meningitis and there are some really good drug therapies for depression now which don't have the nasty side effects of those from yesteryear. The problem with depression is though that it feeds itself, the more depressed you feel the less like you feel like getting help, or going out or doing anything. I had a breakdown in 1997 pre-dating meningitis by 15 or so years which was linked to post traumatic stress disorder but I'd hate anyone to get that low. I had serious thoughts about harming myself too so I can speak from experience about meningitis and depression. So if it would help IM me and I'd be happy to pass on my contact details. Jonathan

  • Hello Warren, I have sent you a private message

  • how is she now ? I hope well...I am only one month post VM and although the physical pains subside sometimes and are not quite as harsh , I am an emotional wreck who feels all alone. I have severe after effects that are scaring me, constant earaches and ringing in ears, numbness arm and leg , severe pins and needles in my feet while the feel on fire, very confused and disoriented...I have never suffered depression, Ive always been for the most part happy and positive, now I feel alone and have horrible thoughts of "not wanting to be here anymore" I feel like an inconvenience and everyone around me assumes Im fine and they just dont get it, I feel like they dont take me seriously

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