This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from November 1 through November 30. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!
Having a medical condition is difficult, some individuals deal with their condition better than others, but the struggle is generally still there. Many people find it hard to accept a diagnosis of epilepsy. For my blog relay this month I would like to help people to deal with their low moments.
Epilepsy and Depression
One in three individuals with Epilepsy and associated conditions will experience some form of depression/Anxiety and other mental illnesses during their lifetime. I have spoken to many people who have Epilepsy, or live with somebody who has Epilepsy and they have addressed the fact that they struggle to be motivated to even get out of bed in the morning to face the day, and having depression can be a risk for actually developing epilepsy.
I have noticed over the years that the most common causes of Depression for Epilepsy patients are:
- Uncontrolled seizures
- Being afraid of having seizures (This was a big problem for me and my family)
- Having social or relationship or family problems
- Having side-effects from epilepsy medicines
- Design a journal. In my past posts about helping your child deal with their condition, I touched on the topic of designing a journal, my tip was to go out and pick out a journal they like, or go to the arts and crafts shop and find a blank artists journal and create a cover using magazine images, wallpaper samples, or glitter. Now this isn’t just a tip for young people, I do this myself and I’m 21, so adults can do this too! Having a safe place to express your thoughts and feelings always helps clear your mind. Evaluating your art can help you pinpoint aspects of your life you may want to change.
- Drawing, painting, and sculpting: try and see if any local clubs in your area offer art therapy, if they don’t, or if you’d rather do it alone, then go and buy some arts and crafts to let our your emotions, you don’t have to be good at drawing to create something spectacular, any art is art.
- Dance: Dance your heart out, even if you have two left feet!
- Drama therapy: I have tried this myself and I loved it. Experiment with acting, this helps self-discovery and expression-I even got the chance to star in a tv show back in 2009
- Music therapy: music is proven to help with anxiety and depression, and discovering new artists is the greatest feeling
150g (5oz) plain flour
100g (3½oz) butter
50g (2oz) vanilla sugar
The vanilla sugar (icing)
1 vanilla pod
225g (8oz) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F), fan oven 160°C (325°F). Place the flour and butter in a bowl and rub together to form crumbs. Add the vanilla sugar and mix to form a dough (you don’t have to use vanilla, you can use almost any flavouring, orange, strawberry, whatever you like!). Roll out the dough. Using a star-shaped cutter (or a shape of your choice), cut out stars and place on a baking tray lined with nonstick baking paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes until just golden. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Leave to cool and enjoy!
When help is needed
Even though self help is great, please bear in mind other treatments out there for your depression or associated illnesses. I have added some helplines, but please see your doctor or GP if you think you or a loved one is dealing with a mental illness.
In the UK
Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 | Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Rethink | 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm)
In the US
25 yr old monthly columnist on Living Well with Epilepsy. Full time worker of NHS England.
Emily’s Perspective is a snapshot of what life is like living with Epilepsy. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy at the age of 10.
Based in UK.