Much like my articles over anxiety and depression, conditions such as Epilepsy are invisible to the eye and are harder to handle without proper experience handling the situation (whether you have Epilepsy or know anyone who does). Dealing with Epilepsy can be physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. Between being on medication that can leave you feeling tired regardless of the amount of sleep you get, the emotional roller-coaster being dependent on others provides, or the mental breakdown of not being able to do what you love to do, having Epilepsy can be difficult to handle. Regardless of your age, Epilepsy can affect your life. With that being said, learning how to handle Epilepsy can help you live a happy and healthy life, even with all these factors affecting your life. In this article I will cover how I have (and continue to) handle Epilepsy and the changes it can make in your life.
Be Open To Dependence
The biggest emotional and mental barrier when I was first diagnosed with Epilepsy was feeling like I had to give up my independence. The first thing to go is your ability to drive. For example, under the Texas State Law you must be seizure-free for three whole months (three months consecutively, not three months all total) in order to be granted the ability to drive again. If you don't happen to live in a big city with public transportation, this can completely limit your ability to travel. Learning to swallow your pride and ask for a ride may be hard, but is necessary for those either working or going to school.
Learn To Be Efficient
One major tip I have for those who have decided to (or will decide to) swallow their pride and catch rides to get from place to place is be efficient with the time you have. Many days I do not have school or anywhere to be, so I used those days to get EVERYTHING I need done for that week. With doing so, that makes the week much easier and more about getting from place to place, rather than transportation on-top of everything else you need to get done in your life that week.
When it comes to any condition, you can reduce your day to day difficulty by reducing triggers for your condition. What may be seen as common sense is also ignored by many. Taking steps such as gradually reducing caffeine intake, managing your stress, getting better (not just more) rest, and improving your diet (such as diets that drastically reduce the time you "are allowed" to eat). Reducing triggers that set off your seizure may not completely rid yourself of seizures for life, but they can drastically reduce the amount you will have (also may day-to-day life easier).
Reducing Your Social Circle
With a condition such as Epilepsy you would think that being around many people would be something that is necessary for emotional stability. Contrary to what many think, when dealing with Epilepsy you want you circle of friends, family, and associates small. It's no secret that everyone has their own daily stresses. With daily stresses follows complaints and a need to express all that stress. With the stress levels you may be at, the last thing you need is to be around the stress of others. It's hard enough to deal with the possibility of not being able to perform you job and not being able to drive (like my experience), but socializing with negative people on a daily basis can be the small push that tips you over an emotional edge, leaving you falling into a spiraling depression. In order to stay in a positive state of mind you need to reduce your social circle to those who encourage, motivate, and give value to your life in any way (not take away from it).
Don't Give In To Insecurity
Last but not least, do not give in to insecurity. When you lose a lot in your life, it is easy to feel like you are at your lowest. With the inability to take yourself from place to place it is easy to feel like a burden and useless. With the inability to focus due to medication and lack of motivation due to your situation, it is easy to feel like every day just drags by and you do not hold much value in anyone's day to day life. As easy as it may be to dwell on your situation, it is much easier to place value in your life through what YOU CAN DO (instead of focusing on what you can't).
Epilepsy can drastically affect your life. With seizures happening in a matter of seconds from their symptoms (dizziness, confusion, heaviness, etc), your life can take such a sudden twist that life can become too hard to handle. Some key things I learned with my experience with Epilepsy is to be open to dependence, learn to be efficient with your time, reduce the triggers that set off your seizures, reduce your social circle, and most importantly....DON'T give in to insecurity or depression. With change comes the opportunity for growth. With circumstances comes the opportunity to improve your life.
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