I’ve always been fascinated by people who have experienced comas. How terrifying it must be to wake up from it, what the experience was like, if they remember anything.
In this AskReddit articles, people who have survived comas open up and describe their incredible experiences.
“I was in a coma for about two weeks following a cardiac arrest as a teen. I was technically dead for over an hour, in fact. 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 beginning about two weeks before the coma through a week after “waking up.” And waking up is in quotes because I would wake up, 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. Repeat six or seven times.
The coma was not even 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.”
2. Zero recollection
“I was in a coma for 3 days following a serious cycling accident, medically induced. I woke up with zero recollection of why I was there or what was said while I was out. It is easily the scariest situation I’ve found myself in, but I can’t say I remember it. I woke up to my mom and dad in the hospital with me and my body in traction of some sort and that was way scarier to me.”
“I had a seizure and was in a medically induced coma for 3 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 and that 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.”
4. Different personality
“Dunno. I was in a coma for 11 days, severe brain injury. I don’t remember being in a coma or waking up from a coma. I lost several years of memories prior to the coma, and my brain didn’t really start to “retain” information again until ~6 weeks after I came out of the coma.
I’m told that my personality changed afterwards. I had to rebuild most areas 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.”
“When I was a kid, my best friend got hit by a car at age 12. She was in a coma for I think a little over a year. She said she felt like she was asleep but was most freaked out when she woke up and saw that she had gone through puberty while in the coma.”
6. Car crash
“My girlfriend of 6 years and sort of fiance was in a severe car crash when she was 16. Both of her best friends died instantly. She was the only survivor but they didn’t think she would make it. She was in a coma for 9 months. She was in what is called a waking coma. She retained normal periods of sleep and open eyed wakefulness, but no higher brain functions.
Here are some things about her experience.
She doesn’t have any memories of the year prior or the year and a halfish after her coma and obviously no memories of the car crash.
She suffered a TBI and when she first got out of the coma she would get naked and sexual with people and anger very easily. These are common problems of people who suffer a TBI.
She went back to school after the coma, but her brain was still healing a lot. She was held back another year because her brain was still not retaining anything.
Today she is a wonderful, bright 30 year old with a college degree. She has a slight speech impediment, gets frustrated easier than most, and it took her a while to get driving down. Honestly, she still scares the hell out of me when she drives, but there are worse drivers out there.”
7. Positivity is important
“After being in a really bad accident that left one of my good friends (the driver) brain dead, they put me into a chemically induced coma for under a week to prevent brain damage due to swelling.
When I first woke up, my memory was much better than it was as it gradually faded in the days to come. I have a journal my mother recorded things in, and I recalled many things I shouldn’t have been able to immediately after waking up. Today, I have very little memory of it all, but I can definitely say that having positive people around you definitely helps when you’re in a situation like that.
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.”
8. A little humor attempt
“I was in a medically induced coma following a self-inflicted gunshot wound. I don’t remember much but my family described moments of me appearing to be awake. Most notable, an apparent attempt at humor.
Apparently they put these mits on my hands to prevent me from ripping my ventilation tubes out over and over but I pretended they were my lobster claws. I have no recollection but it’s a real me move.”
9. Bad dream
“I was put in an induced coma when I was 9 years old after a pretty bad car accident which left me with a fractured skull. All I remember is a bad dream about having a bad headache, and hearing my older sister telling everyone, including my parents, to get the f*ck out of her way because she wanted to see me. I found out later that this was on the night it happened, and they were trying to calm her down before she saw me.”
“I was in a coma for three days after an emergency C-Section (thanks eclampsia). They actually lost me for a couple of minutes after they delivered my twin boys. I remember hearing the sound of my dad crying close by. I could hear people talking around me, but any time I would try to focus on what I thought I was seeing it was like looking in a kaleidoscope.”
11. Words from Dad
“About 3 years ago I overdosed on sleeping pills and it caused me to go into a coma. I remember a lot of what my family said but one thing stood out, my dad’s voice. I remember him saying “I love you and I know you miss your mom and brother but I still need you”.
I was in that damn coma for a month and I woke up five minutes after he said that. I couldn’t speak because I had tubes down my throat and I was non verbal for a while after because the pills messed up my brain, I don’t know how I remembered but I remembered the slang sign for I love you.
I still struggle with suicide but any time I think about it I remember what my dad said and I try to do the opposite of what I was going to do.”
“I was in a medically induced coma for two weeks, about 3 months ago. I had open heart surgery, it didn’t go well, had trouble coming off the ventilator so they just put me in a come to try to give me time to heal.
I had nightmares the entire time from the medicine they were using to knock me out. I thought I had been kidnapped by a nurse and was a victim of sex trafficking. I thought my drug addict aunt had her friends rob my sister and her husband, killing my brother-in-law and one of their children, 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 that when I have a bad dream, I can tell myself it is just a dream and wake myself up in order to end it. This was not like that. I was convinced it was all really happening.”
13. In and out
“A few years ago my dad was in a medically induced coma for about 2 weeks. Everyone thought he was completely unconscious the whole time until he woke up and started mentioning conversations people had around him while he was under, this even surprised the doctors.
He said that from his perspective it was like he was asleep most the time but he would occasionally “wake up” and could hear what was going on around him without being able to move or do anything before he would eventually drift back to sleep.”
“My husband was in a coma for a couple weeks. He got pneumonia his freshman year of college, 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. Amd when he did wake up, he was still in a lot of pain so they gave him a ton of medicine and it made him kinda high and he wasn’t all there when his friends visited.”
“My brother-in-law was in a coma for a month after a car accident in which he lost his eye and almost died.
He’s said that he had a vision of “God” holding him underwater three times, almost drowning him the third time, then him giving up and finally being let up into his home town.
He’s had one almost fatal accident after that, and while I’m not superstitious, I do believe sometimes reality can echo the future in ways which our minds can perceive sometimes, even if we can’t fully interpret those echoes. Well, I simply believe he’s eventually going to have a third accident. I fear for him.”