Meningitis Now
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Lasting effects and What ifs?

At the end of January my boyfriend wasn't feeling well one evening and told me not to come round as he just wanted to sleep but I was stubborn and insisted on coming round just to check on him and I'm glad I did as I was the one who recognised his symptoms as not just flu but meningitis and called the ambulance. I stayed with him most of the time while he recovered and met his parents for the first time. He was in hospital for 6 days and it turned out to be bacterial meningitis (B strain) but thankfully he responded really well to antibiotics and has had few lasting effects apart from a little weakness in his legs (but this is improving) and his concentration wasn't what it used to be. So my first question I guess is, Is this normal and how long can these effects last for?

But the second part of my post is about me.

I know he is fine now but I keep having 'what if?' moments and very occasionally nightmares where I wake up in tears because in my dream I wasn't stubborn and went to check on him or I didn't recognise his symptoms, I never get to the end of the dream because I always wake up but I'm left feeling what if? and I hate this feeling.

I know this is a stupid way to think because he is absolutely fine now and I don't want to talk to him about it because I don't want him to worry about me! but has anyone got any recommendations as to how to stop having these what if moments?

Thank you x

8 Replies

Your feeling are quite mormal. As the person that had meningitis and as a mum to grown up children, I felt awful that I had put my family through so much trauma. Emotionally you have been through a lot of trauma yourself and I would suggest you try some counselling as it will help to give yourself a little TLC.


Yesterday I managed to talk to one of my friends about how I was feeling and I'm going to try talk to my boyfriend later. Where would I go to get counselling?


Sources for counselling / therapy: Your GP may be able to refer you - but waiting lists can be significant as it is often chronically underfunded; if you have any wellness or employee support programme at work, or occupational health they may be able to offer it more quickly and free, or if you have any personal health insurance they may also offer it quickly and free - otherwise you may have to pay privately and it isn't cheap.

For something separate to BM I had Cognitive Analytic Therapy for 12 sessions at £80 a session (an hour) - so very nearly £1000 - that said it was some of the best money I have ever spent. I decided on CAT and found a therapist through the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy website:

Good luck.


Ask at your Doctors surgery or google via NHS. I had a referral through my GP but it is widely available these days as a self-referral. They availability of cost free counselling has greatly improved in recent years. Ieaflets are normally on display in GP waiting rooms as well. I think mine was 'Talk Action'


I'm going to my GP on Wednesday. I managed to talk to my boyfriend on Friday night and knowing that he now knows has made me feel a little more relaxed. I still had a nightmare on Saturday night and a few moments over the weekend but hopefully with him knowing I won't have these moments as often.

1 like


I experienced general weakness for at least 6 months. I also had issues with concentration which I fully recovered from, and issues with word selection (not being able to find the right word) which I still suffer from now years later - but not to a problematic extent now (I have met another BM survivor who has the same too).

Encourage your boyfriend to have a hearing test - if you are in the UK the GP should authorise one at your local clinic / hospital. The charity helpline strongly advised me on this and it turned out I needed hearing aids. the GP and hospital didn't mention it but apparently hearing loss is a common after effect and this could be impacting on his concentration (you listen intently to hear and get worn out more quickly) - it is less obvious when you are in quieter environments recuperating.

The 'what if' thing is tough; I found mindfulness, zen and stoicism literature all very helpful in my gradual recovery and putting my life back together; and years on these are all still part of my life.

I would talk to him about it - it will also give him a chance to talk to you about any similar thoughts or fears he is having - nearly dying opened up a lot of strange thoughts for me (including whether I was dead and all of my current life was a dream...) also I resented being treated with kid gloves by people as it fed into my fear that I was broken - and he may have similar feelings.

Well done and good luck.



I'm going to try talk to him tonight it's just to put into words how I'm feeling, its much easier to type it! I'll definitely encourage him to get his hearing checked soon.

I'll try looking at mindfulness and hopefully talking to him will help me. Thank you for your advice :)


Hi it's so normal to feel like this .. I am a mum if three and our baby girl got bacterial meningitis at age 11 months .. if I had not taken her to the hospital when I did she would have died. I suffered and still do from PTSD .. Thw trauma of what you have been through is terrible ... it took me 6 months to get help .. my friends thought I was fine.. I couldn't tell them, my husband or anyone how I felt .. my saving grace has been this website.. The people understand what you have been through and how you feel... It's been amazing for me and also healing ... Take each day as it comes and talk as much as you can .. Cry if you need to.. You need to heal and that takes time ... it's been two years this past Christmas. I'm ok but I still hav days and now she's about to start school I have to hand her over and trust someone else to care for her ... it's a big thing for me and I am battling .. X Just remember you DID GOOD... Give yourself a break and take time to heal x x


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