It's a curious time, being in a coma. You're not dead, but you're not fully alive either. It's sort of like purgatory; a mid-conscious state. Or at least, that's what it seems like to people on the outside. When you're the one in the coma, what is it actually like? It turns out, while there is a lot of similarities in people's coma experiences, there is quite a bit of variety as well.
Some people have pleasant comas, while others recount the experience as being utterly awful, like being trapped in a nightmare with no knowing whether it will ever end. Then, there are some that have absolutely no recollection of their time in a coma at all; as if they were just asleep normally. Read on to read some interesting tales by people who have experienced being in an extremely long coma.
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I was in a coma for about two weeks following a cardiac arrest as a teen. I was technically dead for over an hour. People often ask me if I could hear my family talking to me or if I was dreaming. The answer is no. There is a huge hole in my memory, starting two weeks before the coma and up until a week after I woke up.
During my recovery period, I would apparently ask a bunch of semi-incoherent questions, fall back under, then wake up again and ask the exact same questions, in the exact same order. Six or seven times. The coma didn't even feel like blackness. It just does not exist. I remember having the hardest time believing it was actually mid-October when the last day I remembered was late-September.
I was in a coma for three days following a serious cycling accident. It was medically-induced. I woke up with zero recollection of why I was there or what I said while I was out. It was easily the scariest situation I have ever found myself in, yet I can't say I remember it. I woke up to my mom and dad in the hospital with me with no recollection of what happened, and that was way scarier to me.
I was in a coma for 11 days due to a severe brain injury. I don’t remember being in the coma or waking up from it. I lost several years of memories and my brain didn’t really start to “retain” information again until about six weeks after I came out of the coma. My personality apparently changed afterward, too. I had to rebuild most of my life. It sucked, but it was probably a good thing. Although, I’d be lying if I said I never wondered what my life would be like if I’d never had the coma.
After getting in a really bad accident that left one of my friend's brain dead, they put me into a chemically-induced coma for a week to prevent brain damage from the swelling. When I first woke up, my memory was okay, but it gradually faded as the days went by. My mother recorded things in this journal I had, and I recalled many things that I shouldn’t have been able to immediately after waking up.
Today, I have very little memory of it all, but I can say that having positive people around me helped a lot. If you have a friend in this situation, don’t disregard them. Even though your life has moved on, they may wake up one day, and in their mind, not a day has passed since the last conversation they had with you.
I was in a medically-induced coma for two weeks. I had open heart surgery and it didn't go well, so they just put me in a coma to try to give me time to heal. I had nightmares the entire time due to the medicine they were using to knock me out. I thought I had been kidnapped by a nurse and was a victim of human trafficking.
I thought my aunt had her friends rob my sister and her husband, and I thought I was constantly being grabbed by people under my bed. It was not fun. I can't say that I knew I was in a coma or anything. I am usually one of those people who can tell if I'm having a bad dream and can force myself awake in order to end it. This was not like that. I was convinced it was all really happening.
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My husband was in a coma for a couple of weeks. He got pneumonia during his freshman year of college, and the coma was medically-induced because he had a really bad immune system or something. He told me all he remembered was waking up really confused and with a really full beard. He was also still in a lot of pain, so they gave him a ton of medicine and it made him kind of high. He wasn't completely himself when his friends visited him.
I was in a coma for three days. Unlike most people, I definitely knew time was passing but didn't know I was in a coma. I kept having weird hallucinations about running a restaurant with my brother, and I kept getting confused about where I was and why I wasn’t managing the restaurant. I’ve never worked at a restaurant and I’m not sure why my brother was involved. Life didn’t feel real for a few months following waking up.
This is really bizarre, but my uncle, a very serious, strict and rather dry man, had an accident and went into a coma a few years back. He never believed anything he couldn't touch. He was in a coma for a few weeks until he woke up and had this crazy story. He said he saw himself in a bubble, floating around in a white place and it was so peaceful and beautiful.
But then he talked about other bubbles that he could see around him. All of them had other people in them. He distinctly remembered a black-haired woman singing in the bubble close to his until one day, her bubble burst and she disappeared. When he woke up, he could give a very clear description of her body, age, all that. Now the crazy bit...
There was a woman, one floor below him, in a coma that sadly passed away before he woke up. You guessed it: black hair, age, body, all the same. He had never met or seen this woman in his life. His whole idea of life changed after this. It still makes me think sometimes. Where was he? He thinks all the people in bubbles around him were patients in the same hospital. Could it be? We'll probably never know.
I was out for 45 days—no white light, no tunnel, nothing. I woke up and couldn't remember who I was. For six months, I never really fully recovered, so I just started life again. Turns out, I'm a completely different person than I was and that is a really good thing. I get memories now and then, and they aren't pleasant.
I went to the hospital with renal failure and a pulse reading of 32. When the nurse stabbed my arm to give me an IV, all she said was, “Uh oh...” My arm got really warm and my dad moved my head so I wouldn’t see how much blood was coming out. The next thing I knew, I was in a hospital bed, tearing through the desert at 60 mph. Nothing but me and a hospital bed. No motor, nothing. Just cruising through the desert.
At some point, my hospital bed would come to a screeching halt and I’d be in the living room of someone I knew. My grandma's, my best friend's, former coach's... basically, any living room I had spent time in with someone I cared about. The weird thing was that the living rooms were always three-walled. One wall was missing and beyond that wall was a barren desert.
We would talk for a while about who knows what, then I’d be pulled back into the desert cruising at 60 mph again. It happened over and over. Sometimes, the same living rooms would reappear, but almost all of them were unique. When I came out of the coma, everyone kept commenting how good my hair looked. I couldn’t figure out why they kept saying that, so I finally asked my mom how long I had been asleep.
She said 13 days. I had cards and flowers from all these people whose living rooms I’d been visiting in my coma. It was surreal and I definitely can’t explain it; especially since most of the cards came from people who weren’t allowed to visit me in intensive care and were sending well wishes in writing, rather than in person.
My mom was in a coma and she told me it was horrible. She was in a wreck that technically killed her five times (her heart stopped) and she said she could feel all the pain, as well as hear the doctors yelling that she was coding. She said at that moment, she thought to herself: "Wow, whoever that is must be dying," and then she realized it was her. She was trying to scream and tell them she was alive, but nothing ever came out.
I was put in an induced coma for three weeks after I fell off a cliff. When I woke up, I fully thought it was the day before my camping trip (I fell on the second day).
A friend of mine was in a coma for a few weeks after an accident. When he woke up, he had no memory of anything. When he saw himself in the mirror, he asked the nurse: "Am I really that fat?" Luckily, he got his memory back in a week, but he told me it was weird forgetting who he was. The experience helped him in two ways.
One, he lost a lot of weight after, since he was in the hospital for a few months, and two, he is not afraid of death anymore since being in a coma was like a dreamless sleep. You go to sleep and wake up with nothing in between. That makes death seem simple and peaceful according to him. He lives his life to the fullest now.
Motorcycle accident. I should have been in a lot of pain, but I have no memory of it. No memory of pain, nothing. I woke up in a CAT scan machine and had no clue what happened; I only found out days later. I'm glad they had good insurance. It was their fault. I made a full physical recovery but 'til this day, my memory of what happened is still fuzzy.
I was in a coma for three weeks when I was seven years old. I had no idea and would have these blips through time but everything was wonky. We hit a tree doing 90 mph after our brakes gave out at the top of a mountain. I could hear the doctors and there were these images in my head that looked like pictures but I didn't see them in any physical manner if that makes sense.
They were octopus-headed people and had these crazy shapes everywhere that would fall into themselves and repeat. I think I may still have some lingering brain damage. I'd scream "I'm dead, I'm dead!" in my head and this warm glow would tell me, "It's okay, you're here now." I have no idea where this was, but it was pretty comforting.
I felt like I was on a cloud and I was weightlessly zipping around everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. As I get older, I forget more and more and my head is screaming at me not to forget. It's as if it was something important to remember. I get angry because I can't remember that shape, or that face, or that place.
I often get scared and wonder, am I going crazy? I'll see a light zip around me, and leave this burning trail in the air, or I'll see the blood vessels in my eyes and these balls of light that pulsate with my heartbeat. I'm super sensitive to electrical pulses and sometimes swear I see them in the air. It's so abstract, I can't really explain it.
When my dad was dating my mom in high school, he would visit her at her parents' home. Her mom's parents also lived there. He would always talk to my great grandfather whose name was Dave. Dave's favorite word was "nonsense" and would call everything around him that. My dad would mess with him by giving him a big kiss on his cheek when he wasn't paying attention.
He would have been in his mid-70s at the time. My dad was 17. Twenty years later, Dave was not doing well and ended up in a coma. He was unresponsive for several days but still alive. When my dad went to visit him, he went up to his face and started yelling, "NONSENSE, DAVE," and gave him a big kiss on his cheek. Dave woke up from his coma, just like that. Everyone was speechless except for Dave, who called him nonsense.
My coma was chemically-induced (post-op) and lasted ten days. I had some really wild, vivid dreams during that time, including some hallucinations after revival. Did I know I was out? Only shortly before I was revived. The medical staff around me somehow successfully navigated through my brain fog and brought me out.
I was in a coma for about two days when I was 22. I have Crohn's Disease and had been in a severe flare for a few weeks prior. Lots of blood loss, unable to eat, dehydrated, etc. I fell asleep on my parents' couch. The next thing I remember was waking up in the ICU and thinking about how I needed to use the restroom.
Since I had no idea what had happened or where I was, I just got up and all the machines went off. A nurse came running into the room and told me to sit down. I don't remember anything that happened during the coma; no dreams, no sense of time moving. It as just like, a dreamless sleep. Apparently, though, I was able to do basic commands while in the coma.
Like, a doctor told me to open my eyes so they could take my contacts out. I'd squeeze a hand if I was told to, but otherwise, I didn't move or respond to anything. I don't recall any of it though. Doctors think I went into this coma as a way to preserve energy to keep me alive. I had to get five pints of blood and had IV drips in both arms while I was out. It's weird to think about how it happened— I was there and yet I have no memories of it.
I was in a coma for three weeks. During that time, I was definitely aware of people around me, of being in pain, and also, at the same time, I had an alternate reality where my entire reason for returning to my life revolved around the knowledge that it was "my turn" to take care of a Native American woman I had never met, but whom I would meet in the future.
I needed to recover for this reason. When I woke up, I actually pulled out all my tubes and tried to leave to start helping this person. I didn't even know where she lived, or how I could help her. I thought I was on a reservation somewhere in Oregon, but she was in the city, at a very busy, huge hospital right in the middle of town. I have been looking for her since.
I had a seizure and was in a medically-induced coma for three days when I was 17. To be honest, I don’t remember anything. I remember fading in and out of the anesthesia trying to pull my breathing tube out and my hands were restrained to the bed so I couldn’t. When I woke up and was coherent, I couldn’t recall anything from actually being in the coma. They had even moved me to a hospital over 100 miles away. It was really just nothing but black. No dreams, no lights, no voices, just nothing.
My brother was in a coma for a few months due to collapsed lungs. I live in Michigan and he lives in Las Vegas. On Christmas, I flew out because they said he wasn’t going to make it. Anyway, his wife and I spent the entire time in his hospital room talking and whatnot. A few months later, he woke up and he told his wife that he remembered hearing me.
He said he felt like he was trapped and buried alive. He couldn’t move or talk, but he could hear us and he was terrified. This was five years ago and he still has trouble sleeping because of the nightmares. He said the nightmares replay over in his head every time he goes to sleep. He doesn’t like to talk about it at all.
I was in a three-month coma. I knew I was in a coma but had no sense of time. I had some minor awareness of what was going on around me, sort of the inverse of a dream. I remember using Legos to build walls against the pain. I remember alternating between feeling like I was freezing and on fire. I remember writing a book in my mind, and visualizing it like a movie as I wrote it.
When I came out of it, the next six months were awful. I had no appetite but somehow gained 40 pounds pretty quickly. I felt like my whole nervous system was off by a millimeter. I've never been able to fully recover the energy I had before. I lost the ability to lucid dream. It'll happen sometimes, but very rarely. I held onto the details of the book in my mind for about two days, which wasn't nearly long enough to write it all down, especially since I had to relearn touch typing. There were times in that first six months I wished I was back in the coma.
I was in a coma for a month from Christmas to the beginning of February. I definitely could hear my family talking to me, not always decipherable, sometimes just in murmurs. It definitely felt like I was a ghost. I had an "out of body" experience; at least, that's what it felt like. I could hear the doctors and the panic when I was flatlining. I was in a white room with a window to my right, a figure in the corner, and people always running by the window. I could feel myself wanting to be helped and woken up, but no one could hear me.
I woke up sometime in April and had to relearn how to eat, how to talk, and how to walk. It was as if someone gave my brain a hard reset. But the crazy part is, unlike some coma victims, I remember my entire life before the day of the accident and I remember waking up from comatose four-ish weeks later. I remember nothing else.
I remember feeling trapped in a nightmare world (think a John Carpenter movie, but with a Tim Burton aesthetic). In this world, I was being tortured by monsters. This is where I imagine I was initially hooked up to life support and resuscitated. After that, things got better. I had an amazing time in a fantasy world and spent what my brain remembers as about three months in an RAF hangar during WWII as a nurse.
When I woke up, it turns out my dad had been reading Brandon Sanderson books while I was under and my girlfriend had been reading a book on RAF nursing during the war. I also asked about my sister's new kitten when I eventually became lucid, which was odd because no one had mentioned it except my sister's housemate when she came to visit me during my coma. After that experience, I tell people to be careful what they say around coma patients because you don't know what they'll pick up on or how it will affect them.
The bad part: at one point in the coma, I had a very high fever and was kept under an ice blanket, which turned my dreaming mind into chaos. I felt like I couldn't breathe and was fighting to stay alive. At one point, I felt like myself and others were stuck on a sheet on ice in water and being rescued; keep in mind I had no idea I was in a coma. I woke up at the end of February with no memory loss, only muscle atrophy.
I knew a guy who was in a car accident and was in a coma for a few weeks. He lost all memory before the accident, including that his girlfriend had broken up with him. To her credit, she was there for him while he was in the coma, but then when he woke up, she had to go through the breakup conversation again... several more times. He ended up having memory problems after the accident where he wouldn't remember conversations or the people he previously had known. Those memory issues lasted for years but eventually subsided.
A friend of mine was in a bad accident when she was six months pregnant. She was in a coma for several weeks. Her baby was delivered (a little premature but healthy) while she was out. Her recovery was really gradual— she woke up, but was far more vegetative than not for a while. She did months of in-patient rehab and had to relearn how to walk.
She says she lost all her memories from the two years prior to her accident and several weeks after waking up. It's been five years now and she's doing a lot better. She can take care of her kid, drive, walk, and even do volunteer work, but she doesn't have the stamina to work long shifts. She also says she doesn't have any memory of that time.
One of my nieces was in a coma. When she woke up, she said she could hear everyone very clearly.
I was in a coma for two weeks following a car crash. While I was under, I felt like I was living another life. For example, whenever they applied ice packs, I would "dream" that I was out in the snow, etc. It all felt so real, and then I woke up to a cruel reality that I couldn't walk anymore.
I was in a coma for four days due to liver failure. It was the best sleep of my life— no dreams, no partial waking up, just total relaxing darkness. I didn't know I was in a coma until I woke up and was told I almost died.
My coma was medically-induced. It lasted just over two weeks. All I can remember is how comfortable it was. I would occasionally have foggy dreams of friends and family around my bed, with only a basic awareness that I was in the hospital but no real grasp on reality. Comfortable is the best way to describe the feeling. If I would’ve passed, it would’ve been okay. That gave me hope, and a new perspective on the end of life when I got out and got better.
I was in a coma for 36 hours and had mostly hallucinations of colors. I woke up from the coma in a really bad nightmare and screamed bloody murder. The nightmare was me getting chased by what looked to me like a demon dog or a wolf. At some point, I fell off a cliff while running. It was, to this day, the scariest nightmare I've ever had. Overall, I rate the experience a bad 4/10.
I had a very serious head injury. I don't quite recall the specifics of the swelling, but I was out for a little over three days, they said. I woke up as if someone had turned a light back on. I immediately tried to get up because I thought I was still on the mountain I was skiing on.
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