BACKGROUND: Breathing and living on mechanical ventilation develops a different feeling in patients. Most of such feelings and experiences are not pleasant and can lead to psychiatric disorders in the patients after they are detached from the ventilator. The aim of this study is to explore the psychological experiences of patients under mechanical ventilation. METHODS: This qualitative study was conducted according to an interpretive epistemological approach in 2016. Fifteen participants were selected according to purposive sampling. Data were drawn from the transcripts of in-depth, semi-structured interview that were not discontinued until data saturation was ensured. The participants were asked to share what they experienced when they were under mechanical ventilation and intubation. Data analysis was conducted according to Diekelmann method. RESULTS: Altogether, 2 themes, 7 subthemes, and 27 sub-subthemes were drawn from the data. Two themes were dread (a horrible experience) and hope (an inspiring experience). Dread consisted of anxiety, hopelessness, and dependency. Hope consisted of spiritual connection as the only possible effort, the presence of health team the source of comfort, the family looking forward, and overcoming the illness (a step to life). CONCLUSION: The psychological experiences of patients under mechanical ventilation are specific, and nurses can play an important role in decreasing tension and increasing hope among them through gaining knowledge about their experiences.