Post Viral Meningitis - Depression? - Meningitis Now

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Post Viral Meningitis - Depression?

Shermel profile image
25 Replies

Hi. I was diagnosed with Viral Meningitis end August. Was in Hospital for 2 weeks.

I was discharged and spent 3 days home resting. For 2 days I went to work only half day. The 3rd day I was back full time. Unfortunately I had no choice but to work as my sick leave was already exhausted. I was now owing my Company time. I was still weak, stayed tired and suffered from headaches and bad pressure in my head still every day. I did not have much of an appetite either.

As the days go by it is improving a bit. But I have noticed that my memory is not so good anymore. I get frustrated and irritated. I forget what I want to say at times. I am battling to sleep even though I feel so exhausted most of the time. I have noticed recently that I am extremely emotional. I suffer in general from Depression and I am on medication. There has been a few challenges in my life lately that I needed to deal with. I put this being so emotional down to this.

At the moment, life in general is normal as it could be and I am still an emotional mess. It comes over me like waves. I will be working or just relaxing with a cup of coffee and then I have these emotional waves wash over me. I am in tears on a daily basis almost, but not crying hysterically or like for hours. This is really worrying me a lot.

Is there anybody else experiencing this?

Advice if I may - I did it for 2days - Go back to work gradually - say day 1 you go in for 2Hours and each day you stay a bit longer. You will build up some strength, get work done a bit and get to rest too.

I really hope that all of us out here suffering from Post Meningitis effects can get the help we need.

Thank you

25 Replies
JenOsul profile image

So sorry to hear you’re struggling. Your symptoms are so similar to mine and I can really relate to how you’re feeling.

I hope that things become easier for you. Just try and take every day at a time and listen to your body.

I have terrible memory and struggle with my words .. especially when I am really tired (which is most of the time).

I was an emotional roller coaster but that’s one thing that has eased a bit as long as I don’t push myself too hard.

I have found that before I could multitask and think nothing of it .. now it’s almost impossible. It’s these things that seem to have the biggest affect on my body and the strain on my brain, causing emotions.

Get well x

Shermel profile image
Shermel in reply to JenOsul

Hi hun.

Thank you for replying. It is good to know I am not alone. Sorry that you struggling too.

Some days are better than others. I try to take it easy, but my work can become stressful. I get placed under a lot of pressure. Employers in South Africa don't all worry much about employees. It's all about work. So it's difficult for me to explain to them to understand that I need to take it easy.

I'm in general a very active person and can handle a lot - multitask, now I struggle too. It is not easy.

Hope and pray that all gets better soon for you.


JenOsul profile image
JenOsul in reply to Shermel

You too!

I ended up printing out some information from The meningitis now website and providing it to my employer so they could see it in black and white from someone else!

It’s worth a try!


Shermel profile image
Shermel in reply to JenOsul

That's a great idea. I will see how it goes and do the same if they continue giving me a hard time.


BaMamma76 profile image
BaMamma76 in reply to JenOsul

I know exactly where you are at. Going from being articulate, goal orientated mother of 2, who never found a challenge I could not tackle to this person.....I don't know or recognise, is a heartbreaking reality that I wish I could escape. It's lonely and I struggle with most people thinking I am making it up or want to stay stuck.

If they only knew the daily struggle just to BE ME NOW.

Not to hate myself. I never ever have hated myself. This person I am now is a stranger that honestly, I don't want to know.

We need support or a time machine? Haha.

I send much love to all who are walking this path. Hold on even when you are weak. 💞

burntsienna profile image
burntsienna in reply to BaMamma76

Thank you for this. Whilst I am much better after 2 years, you have reminded me of all I battled through & help me to recognise the remnants of the attack .

Valorrian profile image

Hi Shermel,

I had meningitis about two years ago and still to this day have after effects. I feel your pain. From the meningitis I have profound hearing loss (changed my life - now I am deaf), balance issues, memory and concentration issues, anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD. I also get exhausted easily. I'm seeing a therapist and working through my issues.

What I find that helps me is that I am doing a lot of deep breathing and mediation. If I feel like I am getting overwhelmed or need a break I take it. I will excuse myself from family and tell them I just need to be by myself for awhile and they will understand. This helps a lot. I still have a lot of frustration. What use to take me 5 minutes now takes me 30 minutes. I can see the decline in my writing, thoughts and speech, it takes me longer to process things. My thoughts are there but to form them and express them is harder as well. I keep pressing on though. I can't say it is getting easier. I'm just learning to cope with these issues better and that is helping me. I wish you the best and will keep you in my prayers.

Starry profile image
Starry in reply to Valorrian

So glad to hear you found a therapist. X

Shermel profile image
Shermel in reply to Valorrian

Hi hun

Thank you for sharing. I'm sorry to hear how you struggling and how it has affected you. You seem to be a strong woman and fighting this.

I never knew that there were these after effects. I came across this site when I was googling. I was shocked to see how people still suffer. I couldn't make sense of what was going on with me. Why I felt like this? Reading others experiences made me realise what was happening to me.

I wish you all the best on your road of recovery.


Valorrian profile image
Valorrian in reply to Shermel

Thank you.

EimsD profile image

Hello Shermel

Take heart. It takes time. Limit any additional stresses. Rest even if you can't sleep. I also recommend lots of supplements like magnesium. It's good for mood and stamina!

Hang in there pal. You are not alone!


Shermel profile image
Shermel in reply to EimsD

Thank you so much. Good to know I am not alone. Felt so alone. Did not know that there are such after effects. I was googling and came across this site. I was so happy.

Take care and thank you again. Hope you are well.


SqueakMouse profile image

Hi there Shermel, it’s so nice to “meet’ you!:):). But I’m very sorry that it had to be under these circumstances, with you suffering such severe post-meningitis symptoms that you sought out a support and advice site like this one:( But as you can see, this forum absolutely positively most DEFINITELY has an abundance of both advice AND support, so as long as you’re in recovery (and beyond:), you can count on this group to have your back:):) To begin with, I’m deeply sorry that you’re going through such a difficult time; few physicians seem to understand or appreciate how severe and long-lasting symptoms can be once the infamous “10 days to 2 weeks” recovery window has come and gone (nor do many of them believe that such experiences are possible, unfortunately—especially because most medical school programs teach that viral meningitis is relatively “benign”, and therefore “much less disabling than others forms of meningitis”). But as you can see from the number of people that belong to this chat group—and from the personal experiences that some of those people have already shared—a diagnosis of viral meningitis can indeed be extremely disabling (in fact, more often than not), both during the “acute” phase of the first ten days to two weeks post-diagnosis, and in the weeks and months beyond. I myself have been diagnosed with this illness more times than I can count; I don’t make antibodies to the VZV virus, so I’m constantly coming down with its various effects (shingles, VZV meningitis, etc.), especially because I also have an immmunodeficiency that makes it even more difficult for my system to subdue the infection once it appears, or to suppress it like a healthy immune system would, and thereby preventing outbreaks of the virus. And as a result, I’m all too familiar with the various forms and effects of the illness, so I can confirm that the advice and information that other people have posted in response to your questions are absolutely accurate:):). Therefore, I won’t drown you in details that you’ve already read by addressing your questions myself; however, I did find some scientific research that validates and supports the personal experience that you and I and the other posters in this thread all share, and based on that personal experience, I found it to be absolutely accurate, informative, and validating—and I’m hoping that it willl be the same for you:):). The document was written for a website concerning TBI’s (Traumatic Brain Injuries)—more specifically, ABI’s (Acquired Brain Injuries). That’s because meningitis is indeed a form of brain injury; therefore, its symptoms and effects (both in the immediate aftermath of diagnosis, and in the weeks and months post-diagnosis) mirror those following a head injury. That’s why you’ve been dealing with headaches, fatigue, memory problems, extreme and uncontrollable moods, unusual emotional outbursts, changes in appetite, and more—all these symptoms are typical for ABI’s, so it makes perfect sense that they would be typical symptoms for meningitis as well (that’s certainly been my experience, and judging from the replies that other people have posted inn response to your query, it’s been the experience of countless others that have been diagnosed with VM as well). Therefore, it’s the rule rather than thhe exception that medical professionals of all stripes take care to describe these symptoms in detail to patients with head injuries prior to discharge from the hospital, and warn them that the road to recovery will likely be erratic and difficult—and that as a result, they shouldn’t be surprised or concerned if such symptoms occur, or if they happen to linger for weeks or even months from the day of their injury. Unfortunately, for the reasons I described earlier, very few doctors ever dispense similar information or advice to VM patients prior to discharge, even though they are more likely than not to experience them, given the fact that it is indeed an acquired brain injury. As a result, those of us who have experienced VM very often experience shame, confusion, fear, self-doubt, and/or embarrassment (not to mention the depression, the deep sense of loss, and the concern that we might never return to our “old self”, and therefore to have a chance to have the skills, social or romantic life, careers, hobbies, or relationships), because no one told us to expect these symptoms and to consider them normal when they occur. Without that vital information, we all too often end up pushing ourselves too hard, criticizing ourselves too harshly, drowning in shame too often, and being overwhelmed by fear too repeatedly. It’s a scenario I’ve experienced all too often (as have many other VM patients), and I’m sure it’s resulted in irrevocable scars and irreparable heartbreak for every last one of us. So try not to beat up on yourself with harsh criticism, or to scare yourself with catastrophic images and “what-ifs” regarding your future—because as scary, painful, exhausting, confusing, and disabling as your symptoms have been, they are most definitely and inarguably absolutely normal :):). So you are not alone in your experience, and you don’t have to worry that your case is somehow an aberration, and therefore dooming you to a lifetime of disability, decline, and disappointment. Nothing could be further from the truth:):). That’s not to diminish the difficulties and suffering you’re enduring at the moment (goodness knows, I myself am STILL struggling with the fallout from my most recent bout of meningitis of three months ago); I just wanted to reassure you that no matter what your doctor or your significant other or certain websites say, you’re not expected to be symptom free and back to your previous level of activity/capability in ten to fourteen days—and if your symptoms do indeed persist beyond that window, and anyone in your life insists upon denying your experience and shaming you with their judgement and expectations, know that it is they and not you who are misinformed:):). In fact, I highly recommend printing out several copies of the article I’m going to post a link to, so if a time should ever arise that your doctors or family members or friends blame you for your continued symptoms, deny their reality (or the fact that they can be severe and long-lasting), or insist on pushing you beyond your limits or shaming you with narrow-minded and inaccurate opinions (you know the type: “I’m only saying this because I love you”; “Shouldn’t you be out of bed/back to work/exercising more/going out with friends? I’m just worried that you’re going to get pneumonia laying down so much/will lose your job being on sick leave for so long, and then how will you pay your rent or afford your bills or avoid becoming homeless and destitute?/won’t be able to walk anymore due to muscle atrophy/will lose all your friends because nobody likes a sick person..”:):), you can just give them a copy of this print-out, and save yourself from certain physical exhaustion and emotional shame—on top of the physical exhaustion and emotional shame you’re already grappling with—that such tirades and onslaughts inevitably’s hard enough to take care of your own needs at the moment, much less having to shoulder anyone else’s, particularly when they have no empathy for what you’re going through, and they aren’t the ones who are sick:):):) One detail I should mention: The article was written for a children’s health website, specifically for the sections concerning illnesses or injuries affecting the brain (such as head injuries and meningitis); however, the information and advice applies to patients of all ages, so don’t be concerned that the recommendations won’t be accurate for you because they come from a website devoted to the health and wellness of children:):). If you have any questions or concerns after reading through it, don’t hesitate to ask me; I’d be more than happy to further explain the information discussed there, and/or to share more details with you regarding my own experience with meningitis:):). In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers are with you (as are those of many of your fellow VM patients on this site, I am sure:):)...I hope you experience a speedy recovery, and that you feel better and better with each passing day:)

SqueakMouse profile image

Hi Shermel, it's SqueakMouse again😍 Just wanted to send you that link I mentioned in my earlier text😋. Hope it helps😄❣️❣️❣️

SqueakMouse profile image
SqueakMouse in reply to SqueakMouse

P.S. A thousand apologies for the lack of spaces between paragraphs in my initial text😳; I know that makes reading harder and headaches worse for many VM patients, and I'm so so sorry😢. I did actually put two lines of spacing in between every paragraph in my original reply--but somehow when I posted it, all the spaces disappeared, and my post became an endless run-on sentence😬. I hope you're able to make sense of it😉. If not, I could try copying and pasting the text into another reply window, and edit it again from there. Just let me know if that's something that would be helpful for you, and I'll give it a whirl😍

Shermel profile image
Shermel in reply to SqueakMouse

Hi SqueakMouse.

So good to meet you here too. 🤗 Thank you for replying. I will answer you shortly. Very emotional currently.


SqueakMouse profile image
SqueakMouse in reply to Shermel

Oh, Shermel, I'm so so sorry for the emotional distress you're enduring😢; it's hard enough to be wrestling with a case of viral meningitis, but the accompanying emotional stress and upheaval often makes it that much worse...especially since our emotional stability and balance is affected by VM as well, which makes our moods and emotions even more disruptive and disabling than we're used to, with seemingly no way to regain control or restore peace of mind😔.

The whole experience is so confusing, exhausting, frightening, and distressing😮; these symptoms will fade away as your recovery progresses, but awareness of that fact can be upsetting too, since we know that it can take weeks to months for viral meningitis to fully heal...and understandably, the very thought of having to feel this poorly for so long can be heartbreaking😢

So please don't put any extra pressure on yourself to reply to my texts; having been in your shoes, I know how very little energy you have on any given day, and you should use it to nurture yourself and support your healing😍.

That's not at all to say that I'm not eager and excited to hear from you, and to have a chance to get to know you better (because I most definitely and enthusiastically do😄❣️)...I just want you to know that I deeply empathize with what you're going through, so there is no pressure for you to respond, or any expectations you need to worry about meeting😋.

Just take all the time and space you need in order to feel more stable emotionally, more comfortable physically, and closer to feeling like your "old self"😉 I'll be here to support you and cheer you on, or to offer any information and advice you might need, whether your "hibernation period" lasts three weeks or three months😄.

You aren't alone in this, Shermel; I know it's oh-so-easy to think that when you're going through the worst of your recovery, because all kinds of distressing and inaccurate thoughts swirl through our minds when our brain is injured😢.

But while such thinking is a normal part of healing from VM, that doesn't mean that you should be expected to endure it all by yourself, or to fight your way through it without any support or assistance from others😮. There are many many good-hearted and exceedingly wise people in this forum that I know would feel honored and delighted to offer you this support, in whatever form or timing that suits you best😍 (and you can count me in as one of the volunteers😉!; if there's anything at all that I can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask😋).

Meanwhile, take good care, and know that you're incredibly strong, tough, and courageous...I have no doubt whatsoever that you're going to make it through this, happier and healthier than ever 😊

Shermel profile image
Shermel in reply to SqueakMouse

Hey Squeak Mouse

Thank you so much for all your support and messages. It really means a lot to me.

How are you doing? Since my last post, physically I am doing good. Mentally I am destroyed.

I am suffering with extreme aggression, frustration and get highly irritated quickly. I still have my episodes of feeling really down and emotional. I have never been a moody or aggressive person.

An incident occurred 3days ago where a driver was in fault and came over into my lane, but still for some odd reason seemed to think I did something wrong. He showed me finger signs - swearing me. I stopped my car, jumped out and wanted to hit him, but he drove off.

I went blank - I was absolutely livid. I don't know myself like this.

I do suffer from Depression and I am on medication. I used to Self-Harm - cut. I have not cut like for 7 years now. Ok, So yesterday, I had plans and things happened which changed my plans and I lost it again. I was angry, felt frustrated and then I broke down in tears. I carried on, I don't want to live anymore. My life is worthless. Then I wanted to cut so badly. I've felt down and miserable many times before I had Meningitis and I coped and never once did I have the urge to cut. Now, I'm losing it. I can't handle this anymore.

I am not Bipolar, but the way my emotions and moods are going currently, one would say I am.

I am on medication, Venlor for depression, Bayers Aspirin for blood clots, Topamax for severe headaches I got - on it more than 2 years now. I was on Epitec, known also as Lamitor, Lamotrigine,Lamictal. It's given to patients for epileptic seizures. I'm not epileptic but I did have seizures caused by medication. I was on it for 11 years. I weaned off it. When I googled to see why I am like I am now, it stated there that side effects coming off can cause Meningitis.

Now I am confused - that medication basically caused me to get Meningitis. I am too scared to touch any medication now. It's like one medication will help, but when I need to go off it, I can't if I don't want to get ill, but if I do go off, I get ill, or lose it and feel like I am totally crazy. I am struggling to cope. My work is getting affected. So maybe I need something to calm me. But I'm too scared to take any medication now.

What can/should/must I do?

Thank you


Jwire profile image

3 years post VM and I have horrible anxiety and depression. I am on medication. It’s very hard and I’m sorry you’re feeling this way. I just wanted to let you know you aren’t alone.

Shermel profile image
Shermel in reply to Jwire

Hi Jwire

Thank you so much. I'm so sorry to hear that you struggling so long already. I really hope that something good can happen that you can heal completely now.

Thinking of you. Sorry for only answering now. I've been very emotional and extreme fatigue too, must be due to all the emotional turmoil.


Emilymads profile image

Hi sorry to hear this it’s a horrendous illness it’s left my 15 year old with depression and anxiety she also suffers partial seizures now too there just doesn’t seem to be an end to it🤷‍♀️It’s so so sad to see Emily is now a different child with it all 2 years later x

Shermel profile image
Shermel in reply to Emilymads

Hey Emilymads

I am so sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling so long. And she is still so young too.

Is your daughter on any medication? I replied to Squeak Mouse on my one post. If you want to, go read what I posted bit earlier. (Sorry. Just long story to 're-type) if you can.

Thinking of you and your daughter. 🤗

Lippistix profile image

Please read my daughters success story of how cranial massage and acupuncture helped...

Shermel profile image
Shermel in reply to Lippistix

Hi Lippistix

Wow, I'm so happy for Rosie and for you that she was able to make such a great recovery.

I am from South Africa, so unfortunately things are very limited here. I will do some research to find out more about the cranial massage.

Thank you for sharing with us. 🤗

Planetvixy profile image

It takes time to shed the viral load from your body. I have had 5 attacks ( I have recurring or mollarets meningitis) and it can take six months of rest and recuperation and tons of supplements. Every body is different, all I can say is , it will get better. Time and rest. Xx hope u feel better soon

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