Ashley C's story

4th May 2022

Ashley was 33 when she fell ill with viral meningitis about a year ago. What started as a severe headache developed into exhaustion, before she collapsed

Ashley C viral meningitis case study

It took a long time to recover and Ashley, from Indian Queens in Cornwall, remains grateful to our Helpline for its information and providing someone to talk to about how she was feeling. She recounts her experience here.

“It started with a severe headache, one that wouldn’t go away. I then started to feel tired and exhausted consistently. The feeling of pure exhaustion.

“Then I collapsed, feeling dizzy, and my speech and memory were severely affected.

“After multiple trips into hospital, I was admitted with suspected meningitis. After a lumbar puncture they confirmed the infection.

Balance affected

“My balance was severely affected as well as my cognitive ability. My memory was severely affected and I was unable to complete daily tasks.

“It was the worst headache I have ever experienced and I was disoriented and over stimulated by sounds and light which left me very confused.

“I then had periods of severe vertigo and fainting spells.

“One thing I wanted to mention was how alone I felt whilst I was ill, as there wasn’t a lot of information given to me by the doctors and I didn’t know how long I was going to be poorly for. My fiancé could only describe it as ‘a piece of me was missing’. I would wake up and not recognise I was awake, like my brain had a delay. If I got upset or panicked my brain would freeze, switch off. My speech would slur and jumble. 

“It wasn’t until I spoke to the charity that I got some helpful information, that made me understand how I was feeling. It was so reassuring.

“It took me a long time to recover and it was nearly four months until I was able to return to work. 

Still get brain fog

“To this day I still get brain fog, headaches and migraines. Some days are better than others, but I definitely feel it has affected my cognitive ability.

“It still has an impact on mine and my family’s life. My daughter and my fiancé are very understanding and compassionate if I have a foggy spell or feel unwell due to migraines. They suffered whilst I was poorly and my daughter unfortunately had to witness her mummy being very poorly.

“My fiancé had to care for me at home as there was a risk of seizure, so there was a loss of earnings.”

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