Your experience of a long illness and a stay in the ICU may have left you feeling glad to be alive and thankful. However, there can be other emotions and thoughts that linger after an ICU experience. These emotions and thoughts may not always be happy and positive ones. This is normal.
Reminders of your illness may produce intense feelings or strong, clear images in your mind. You may also feel depressed or anxious and may have symptoms of ongoing stress. These include having nightmares and unwanted memories. You may be feeling anxious and want to avoid thinking or talking about your stay in the ICU. Sometimes patients say they experience both grief and gratitude at the same time. These are all normal responses.
Do not wait to see if these feelings go away. Seek help and open up to your family and/or loved ones. The key to managing this, is to talk about it early and get help and treatment.
If you have feelings of low mood and hopelessness please make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. You may need a referral to a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist.
If the ICU where you stayed has a follow up clinic, contact them to make an appointment as well.
This topic was reviewed by an intensive care medicine specialist in July 2022.