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People Share Their Own Experiences Of What It Feels Like To Be In Coma

By GARGI CHAKRAVORTY, 28 April 2018

In today’s highly unsafe world, many of us have had loved ones and family members in a temporary or persistent coma. No doubt this is a nerve-racking time to endure for family and friends but have you ever wondered what a patient experiences when they are in a coma? This condition is still a mystery to medical science and not much has been revealed even after research. We rely completely on personal experiences narrated by patients who have defeated their comatose condition to wake up and tell the tale. Well be warned, some of the experiences are really disturbing and downright creepy as well.

1 “You could wake up and have no control over your body”

One Redditor with the name TheOpus described it as waking up from a deep slumber but completely paralyzed. He could hear, understand and comprehend everything around him but cannot speak, scream or move any of his limbs to communicate. It’s damn scary, right? Some people have had panic attacks at this helpless stage and their condition deteriorates but Opus describes how he tried to focus on his breath and the sounds of the machines around him and tried to calm his brain. This helped him to sleep off and eventually get better. 

coma patient

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2 “You hear things like a person reading a book or new patients screaming”

"I'm a burn survivor. I was in an explosion in my backyard when I was seven years old. While I was in the hospital, I was in a medically induced coma to make my chances of surviving higher.”

These were the words of a Redditor XxBURNBOYxX who recalled his dad reading him the story of the “Magic Tree House”. He could also hear screams of other burn patients around him. He couldn’t do anything to show his gratitude towards his father’s storytelling. Neither could he let anyone know he could hear his family talking or the screams around him. Gut wrenching, as he was just 7 years old when admitted to hospital in an induced coma. 

child in coma

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3 “You Could Think You Died”

According to Tinman556 on Reddit “I spent eight days in a coma last year after a particularly traumatic surgery, my waking thoughts were wondering if I had died or made it. I couldn’t open my eyes and I was on a medical air mattress so I felt like I was floating.”

This is by far the most common and logical conclusion that patients have due to their obvious condition. Since many patients have their eye closed they can’t even see anything around them and sort of fade into the oblivion of their minds convincing themselves that they are dead. This is what Tinman described.He realized he was alive but tried to communicate with nurses in his intubated and incubated condition which was a huge struggle as he couldn’t do so.

He thought he was a war veteran who was injured and worried that his wife didn’t know he was alive. When he recovered he was told that his wife was with him the entire time, even during his hallucination. When he would fight and struggle against medical staff, she would hold his hand and sing to him to calm him down. “It still brings tears to my eyes to think of the love and devotion she has shown to me during this time." 

woman talking to ill husband

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4 “You could live a life in an alternate reality for several years”

Redditor nitzlarb described his father’s experience. Usually, patients lose the actual sense of time and space when in persistent coma and can lead an alternate life within their minds. His father in a coma for 2 months told him that he hallucinated that he was gone for 10 years. His dreams were so vivid where it seemed he had traveled the entire country a couple of times. Post-coma he was disoriented on seeing people expecting them to have aged 10 years. 

running towards tunnel

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5 “You could see disturbing twists to reality”

Redditor Brainslosh: says that you can really see disturbing things while in a coma and most of them are an exaggeration of your physical conditions but they are scary. He was in a coma due to a car accident and actually dreamt he had a coughing fit in the middle of the road. He grabbed his throat and saw his own esophagus in his hand! Brain chilling! In reality, it was just a vent tube which was being removed from his throat. 

cure for coma patient

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6 “You take in what's being said around you”

As described by one Redditor "I was in a coma for five weeks due to Meningococcal. I had a lot of 'dreams,' most that I can still remember pretty clearly.”

She was 12 at the time and says that a person in coma can clearly hear everything spoken or read out to them. “You can definitely take in what is being said from the people around you” With no other sensory distractions she says you can absorb the words quite literally and it makes a huge imprint on your memory and psyche. She remembers her mother reading to her The Lord of the Rings and started having vivid dreams about everything related to the story. She saw herself eating ice cubes under a bridge with Bilbo Baggins. Though she was in a coma for a few weeks when she recovered she had no sense of lost time and felt she was gone for an eternity. 

Lord of the Rings

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7 “It’s like blinking”

Redditor sharms2010 had a road accident and drifted off into coma for 3 days. After that the patient was awake. He said nothing in between happened! Leaving, just a few seconds of fleeting memories when she was being nose wiped by a super cute nurse and she remembered pointing that out to him before drifting off. “It’s not even like sleeping because when you wake up from sleeping, you know you were asleep. It is like blinking”

coma patient in hospital

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8 “It feels like nothing at all”

Redditor Amsterdance, did not feel anything at all. Basically, he had no memory of the whole experience and had no hallucinations or vivid dreams either. But one thing he clearly remembers is waking up which felt like a dream till the time his brain started registering the real world around him. The whole period passed on like nothing had happened. It was later on when he fully recovered he was told what actually happened to him. He felt that time just flew by as it does when one slumbers off.

shadow on window

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9 “In some cases, you continue everyday life in your head”

Redditor typical_villain was in a medically induced coma for a week due to a car crash and had his family beside him all the time telling him to calm down as he had been in a major car accident and he was in the hospital undergoing treatment. “In my dreams, I was going about my daily business of college classes and coffeehouses. The twist would be that I was introducing myself as having been in a bad car accident, but I was okay and in a hospital.”

It goes even weirder as in his dreams he would drop his pen and if his arms hurt the rest of the class would tell him to calm down as he has been in a car crash and is in hospital. In fact, the morphine-induced coma made him hallucinate that he himself went to his college town hospital and politely stood in front of the reception desk telling the attendants that he had been in a car crash but now he is ok and wants to check out. Incidentally, that’s when all the doctors and nurses crowded around him in utter chaos. He then woke up instantly. 

doctor around coma patient

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10 “You Experience Semi-Lucid Dreaming

In this case, again the coma was medically induced and it wreaked havoc inside the patients head. Redditor BravoPapaWhiskey explains that he didn’t completely drift off but maintained his semi-conscious thought control somehow and registered the external stimulants which came and went. But half of his intoxicated head mixed up reality with dream resulting in a distorted sense of existence that was sometime pleasant other times not so much.

The terrifying part for this survivor was coming back to consciousness. He said it was a painfully slow process and it took several days for him to snap out of it clearly. When he actually realized he was alive and in Munich ICU he was shocked. This experience made him question the difference between his real life and the surreal mental state he was drifting into earlier which made him feel he was back from the dead. 

Experience Semi-Lucid Dreaming

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11 “Sometimes, you only remember feelings”

This experience is quite different and strange as this Redditor Imnotrappaport: just remembered the medley of feelings throughout his 5 days coma. Hs feelings oscillated from hopelessness, despair to relief and even extremely happiness. Although he did not know what exactly was triggering these feelings, he felt they were vivid and palpable. 

remember feelings in coma

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12 “You could be trapped with a nightmarish figure”

This is like being trapped in a ghoulish area of the astral plane. Redditor gwthrowaway451met with an accident and entered a coma. Just before the accident, he had watched a horror movie The Grudge. So this poor fellow ended up spending his entire subconscious time in coma stuck with the horrendous grudge girl in a completely white room ALONE! This is enough to give anyone a heart attack even when ok. Thankfully she never moved and just stood there! Maybe the utter horror hastened up his recovery. 

nightmarish figure

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13 “You could have vivid dreams about being imprisoned”

Well being in a coma is physically and metaphorically is quite similar to be in some sort of a prison or a cage where your movements are contained. One patient had a strange hallucination of something similar but it was also followed by a myriad of emotions and thoughts too. He imagined he was in this room with a strange medieval painting hung on it which triggered various sensations in him. Since he could not move away from the picture he was forced to look at it even in his dream. He pointed out that the painting was not pleasant at all but very depressing instead. To make matters worse he was also stuck in a very confining cage in the middle of the room but he was not alone. He constantly heard footsteps and voices behind him that scared him to death.

 vivid dreams

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14He thought he was about to be killed by a witch

At the same, the painting made him feel murderously angry and also extremely sad that everyone he loved was dead. He says at times he felt like a God who could see everything evil happening around him with mass genocides, killing, and brutality. He even felt a bout of vindictive pleasure that in the violence everyone whom he hated had died too.

The most unnerving part was that he felt the painting move a little. After that, he refused to look in that direction anymore. Then suddenly he heard a voice saying “it’s about time” and he started struggling. Suddenly huge people surrounded his cage whose faces he couldn’t see but he made out a hand as black as night and white nails reaching through the cage which touched his face. He opened his eyes to behold the sight of his little 7 years old niece, waving her tiny hand to wake him up to play with her. “She ingeniously though that if she herself tried to wake me up from my stupid sleep it might work.” This was the most miraculously effective decision from her end. 

Wicked Witch of the West

Wicked Witch of the West