7 Things I Do That Strengthen My Mental Health While Living With Epilepsy
Living with epilepsy is layers deep. It’s not solely experiencing seizures.
Not only are those of us impacted physically but mentally too.
The CDC reports that as many as 30% of adults living with epilepsy also suffer from a serious mental health condition.
Following my epilepsy diagnosis, I struggled with severe depression. I didn’t want to get out of bed, my appetite diminished, my sleep was spotty and I cried until my eyes ran dry, I was a mess.
I didn’t want to believe such a traumatic event could crash into my life like a comet to the ground. I woke up every morning believing it was all just a bad dream. Only to turn to my bedside table and see my pill bottles and/or later experiencing a seizure.
My mental health began to fall apart and impacted my day-to-day living.
Those who love and care for us the most also feel our pain and grief. My husband and family kept me standing though my soul had buckled and I just wanted to give up.
Having an unbreakable and unshakable support system is important for mental health.
I came to learn that it’s human to FEEL. We shouldn’t shove down our feelings. Even if they hurt. It will only get worse. WE will only get worse.
What Helps Strengthen My Mental Health:
- Keeping lines of communication open with family and friends. TALK.
- Connecting with others who ‘get it’ such as online support groups
- Indulging in new and familiar hobbies
- Listening to relaxing music
- Hitting the gym. Physical activity improves mental health, specifically self-esteem and cognitive function.
- Spending time with my two kitties – Tommi & Indie. Studies show that pets reduce stress, anxiety and depression; ease loneliness; encourage exercise and improve overall health.
What helps strengthen yours?
Life with epilepsy digs deep. It strikes a mental chord too. Which is why it’s crucial we not only check in with ourselves but nurture ourselves too.