What those with an outside perspective might not understand is how epilepsy can affect your mental health. Many people believe that living with epilepsy is just experiencing the physical aspect – seizures. However, there are a multitude of layers to the condition being in our lives. Not only do we experience it on a physical level, but an emotional, and mental one too.
In addition, it can be isolating.
After my diagnosis, I had to retire from driving in order to protect myself and others because my seizures were unpredictable and relentless. I tried to hold down a job, but time and time again I would have a seizure during my shift…creating a risk and leaving me with the ultimate decision to resign from working outside the home too.
It’s tough coming to those conclusions but we do what we must do to protect ourselves and others. Being a stay-at-home spouse or individual is a job that most people don’t understand.
There are a lot of misconceptions and criticisms that come with it. Some include:
- I wish I could stay at home all the time
- It must be nice to rest whenever you want
- I bet you’re glad you don’t have to work a 9-5 job
- You’re so lucky!
As a matter of fact, we do work while we’re at home regardless of what people may think. Take for example:
- We’re on the phone with doctors/hospitals/pharmacies/insurance companies
- We’re taking care of the kids/fur babies
- We’re cooking and cleaning safely
- We’re grocery shopping from home (Thank God for online delivery services)
- And some of us do have jobs at home
But being cooped up for lengthy periods of time can get challenging. Loneliness and depression tries to weasel its way in.
So in order to battle back isolation turn to these helpful tips:
- Stay social – Keep in regular contact with family and friends through phone calls, video calls, text messages, visits and outings.
- Tap into your creative side – Have you been meaning to pick an instrument and learn a new song? Inspired by a particular artist and want to try your hand at that craft? Dedicate some time to unveiling hidden talents and establishing new ones.
- Exercise – Keeping our physical and mental health balanced and positive is important. Consider seeing if you can find an exercise buddy and signing up for online programs that help you stay healthy. Even if it’s just you, you’ll still reap all the amazing benefits.
- Love on your pets – Pets are a powerful therapy! Research tells us that they reduce anxiety and help relieve the symptoms of depression and feelings of loneliness. So, carve out quality time with your furry friend! Teach your pet a new trick, or buy them a puzzling new toy.
These are just a few of many things that you can do!
Having healthy activities, hobbies, and routines has made a significant difference in the way I manage feelings of isolation while living with epilepsy.
Do you know of any other suggestions that might be helpful?