My mental health after meningitis - Meningitis Now

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My mental health after meningitis


Hello guys,

Before I start just want to say that I am glad I found a forum like this because it will allow me to connect to others who suffered from meningitis.

So I got viral meningitis 9 years ago when I was 10 and I got it through a virus called the "adenovirus". I was knocked out completely unconscious for 7-8 days in hospital. My right eye (or left, not too sure) also suffered from sixth cranial nerve palsy however I recovered from it around a month after I recovered from meningitis.

Before I got meningitis, although I was young, I was one of the smart kids in class and had a lot of energy and motivation to do things. After I recovered from it, I found myself to be a completely different person.

To begin with, I lost a lot of the memories I had from before I got meningitis (e.g. whenever family or friends would bring up old memories I would never remember them). I now have quite bad short term memory.

I am also so demotivated to work or study or do productive things. I'm not sure if this is anything to do with it however I feel it might be. I know I'm capable of doing really well however I just can't bring myself to be productive.

I also have terrible concentration and I was never like this before and I know this was an effect of having meningitis. I space out during lectures and during conversations. Even if I was to have a short conversation with someone I would still somehow space out unwillingly.

So my question is; how do you guys cope with things like these? My biggest concern is my concentration and my memory. Do you do anything to help yourself stay focused and motivated or do you have any tips?

Thank you

15 Replies

You’re completely not alone and I feel like I can relate to a lot of your experiences.

My memory is shocking! When I got if hospital 2 years from VM I had no clue how to use a microwave, the oven and I couldn’t even remember how I made myself a cup of tea or how I liked it. Those things did come back relatively quickly but my memory in relation to words, sentences and conversations is ridiculous. I have to keep a safari page open on my phone for a dictionary and thesaurus because I forgot words all the time. I have two first class degrees and you wouldn’t know if you was read anything I write now or listen to me in a conversation!

I meditate now using headspace as I find that helps ground my brain so to speak and helps me focus on one thing at a time. I also do Qigong which is more mindful exercise to Tai Chi.

Certain foods help as well but other than I just learn to live with it and so do people around me. It’s been hard to adapt but I take comfort in knowing how much I have adapted to help other symptoms.

Motivation, productivity and concentration. Yes, can relate to all those as well. I’ll start a job and after 10 minutes I’m bored, my mind has wondered off, I have no sense of motivation to finish it and I don’t necessarily a have a drive to create a sense of achievement in finishing it either. So I try to set small goals now and go with that and then I just think whatever I have achieved is better than how it was before. I’m making myself go back to uni in September so in the meantime I’m doing cognitive behaviour therapy to help certain things 😊

Exotic in reply to MooreJH

Hey, thanks for your reply. Damn you have it worse than me im sorry to hear that!

Thanks for the tips. What you said about setting small goals is something I will do from now on. Like you said, it's hard to just sit down and try and concentrate on one thing without spacing out and not finishing it :( so I think rather than focusing on big projects I will do smaller projects every now and then. Meditation could also be helpful!

MooreJH in reply to Exotic

Everybody’s side affects are relative to them as person though so it’s still just as bad for you.

I do small goals like before I would think I’ll clean the house today whereas now I think I’ll just do a bedroom. Yes it makes tasks longer but it makes them more achievable. Even small tasks such as doing the washing up can seem massive at times! Xx

Exotic in reply to MooreJH

Literally both tasks you said I get lazy to do :D but that's true it does make them more achievable! Reason why I posted this now is because I am also a uni student, exams coming up soon and I just need to focus and revise so I will set out daily plans to maybe revise 3 times a day for one hour each at different times of the day and I will see how it goes. Thanks!

MooreJH in reply to Exotic

Well done and if you feel like you can’t do it then maybe something else? I contracted VM during the last year of my degree and I was due to become a university lecturer at the end of it, which didn’t happen. I finished my degree but had to accept I wouldn’t be able to do that job. I wouldn’t be able to stand in front of a class for a 3 hour lecture as I couldn’t remember words, I panicked which made me emotional, my sentence structure was awful and I would repeat words in sentences. I would beat myself up over everything and would get stressed that I had set aside an hour to do some work on an assignment but my head wasn’t in the place to do it so I had to start thinking differently. If I wasn’t capable to start a new piece of work or a new paragraph then I looked back over a previous paragraph or page and refine it. If I felt I couldn’t do that I would make notes for a new paragraph or chapter in my work but I wouldn’t necessarily be able to apply myself to write it. I tried to see the positive from it x

Exotic in reply to MooreJH

Really sorry to hear that it got in the way of a future career :( yeah, I know how you feel. That's a good idea actually if I can't apply myself to do something then I'll just go back and refine what I've done!

Thank you so much for all your help

Hi Exotic

I'm kinda similar to the other replies to be honest. I got VM after my first degree, the year before I went to study my Masters.

My decline came over time and I went on to start a PhD but I've just lost all motivation, energy, and ability to speak. It's only gotten worse and following a trauma it turned into Fibromyalgia.

I've gone from a driven, ambitious woman who wanted to change history, to someone who celebrates if she can walk up the stairs instead of crawl.

It's the most depressing thing ever if I think about it but I try not to.

I now have new Hobbies, which I enjoy and care about. I grow plants, and it's nice to see what you've achieved and know that an outcome is a direct result of your actions and behaviour, that's what I see as a motivator.

I'm sorry you have these symptoms and I truly hope that things improve over time with you. I'd advise you to keep an eye on them, and keep in touch with a doctor if you feel anything getting much worse.

Mental wellbeing is so important and if you can look after that, the rest will hopefully follow.

"Master your circumstances or be mastered by them" (ironically I can't remember who said that...)


Exotic in reply to bexiiee_b

Thanks for your reply. Can't imagine what you went/are going through :( really sucks. Good thing you're focusing on what you enjoy doing! Hopefully in the future you can start to feel better and can continue to do your PhD efficiently.

Thank you so much and hope everything goes well for you too, and that's true; mental wellbeing comes first.

The last part :D :D :D

IRHONDA in reply to bexiiee_b

so right ..

I have similar symptoms and sometimes I wonder if it’s due to the trauma of having had meningitis. I Had meningitis when I was nine years old And to be in a hospital and away from family and all the scary things that were done to me, was extremely traumatic never mind physical trauma. Sometimes I think my symptoms are due to PTSD

Hexy in reply to SarahLion

It is exactly like PTSD. I've been having CBT, they diagnosed PTSD and I am now going for a more intense treatment EDMR. Same problems as all of you on here, and it was 35 when I got menoencephalitis am now 61!!! All the best to all of us. And if you make yourself a coffee and can't find it ? Try the fridge!😂😘😘💜💜

Hi, I can really relate. Memory and decision making and all those sorts of things are harder some days than others for me...I do think it's gotten better over time (I have the recurrent form of VM so each episode sets me back a bit) but I'm also a therapist who is in the field of cognitive training and executive functioning skills training so back channel me at and I can send you some other things to do that can help you with your cognition. Hope this helps! This is a great community for support and validation!

Lions mane mushroom and CBD oil will repair the synapses in your brain and clear your focus quickly... you can find extracts of lions mane in health food stores or just Cooke and eat fresh ones. You will notice a difference right away... good luck.

I had viral spinal meningitis last year and was onlife support for 2 days and in a medically induced coma for 2 weeks, My neurologist told me to take Acetyl-L-Carnitine and high dose Vitamin B- I got a prescription for it - its called metanx. It wasa good 6 months before I could be trusted to use the stove or oven. I ended back up in hospital in an "altered state" - totally out of it - after being startled or scared. Now a year later, I am much better. I have a master's degree and was once an adjunct professor at Colorado State University 0 but no way could I do that now. Good luck to you. Follow up with a good neurologist.

Also, I went on to play games to help memory.

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