Meningitis in your words

John Crawford's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Viral
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: After Effects
John Crawford

In 2005 I succumbed to the mumps epidemic as a result of the wrongful link to MMR and autism. 10 days later I developed a severe headache, sickness, stiff back and confusion.

I luckily intimated to my wife it could be Meningitis. After that I was in and out of sleep. I got the lumber puncture confirming it was Mumps Meningitis and stayed in Hospital for a week.

I was left with short term memory loss, headaches, terrible concentration, balance problems and I slept for 16 hours a day. This lasted 6 months and I felt so guilty. I rushed back to work too early and working in a bank did not allow me to ease into work. It was sink or swim and I drowned. I would fall asleep at my desk. I struggled to concentrate, slept in and fell asleep in my car at traffic lights. This was the signal all was not well. I was diagnosed with M.E and signed on long term sick leave. I felt GUILT. There were no scars. People would say you were looking well. I wanted to punch them. My temper was irrational. I would punch myself in the face because I could not figure out how to cook and time the meals. I could not keep up with conversations. All I dreamed about was my bed. I would sleep for 2 hours in the afternoon and then 10 hours at night

"If we can learn from each other then maybe we will get there that little bit earlier."

I then decided I had to try something different which coincided with the start of cognitive behaviour therapy. I slowly reduced my afternoon naps, went on short walks which I steadily increased. Sometimes you crash but I ACCEPTED bad days because I knew I would have GOOD days. I accepted people saying I looked well because I realised they were trying to make me feel better. For me it has been a long journey. I manage my illness, I accept my illness, I plan around my illness and I have a great quality of life. I do not set myself up to fail. If I go to a function I will rest for the days leading up to it and have nothing planned for the days after it.

The vast majority of people get better so give yourselves the best opportunity to succeed. ACCEPT, MANAGE and LIVE! I was dealt a crap hand and unfortunately I was one of the small percentage that was left with long term complications. 11 years later, I am retired through ill health BUT I have a great life. I took up lawn bowls meeting new people. I manage my symptoms very well and that is the key. ACCEPT and MANAGE. Everyone is different. Be patient with yourself. You are not going to die. You are past the worst. Help yourself get better. It just took me too long to figure it out. A relative of mine got Meningitis a few years back and I helped him with advice. I am glad to say he has fully recovered after sharing many of the same symptoms as myself. It took him a full year. He told me that sharing my experiences with him helped him to manage his days very early on in his recovery. That is what's great about sites like this. If we can learn from each other then maybe we will get there that little bit earlier.

Stay strong and remember you WILL get better.

John Crawford
November 2016