Just diagnosed: Coming to terms with your epilepsy
Getting a diagnosis of a long-term condition such as epilepsy can be a shock, and take some time to adjust and possibly affect your physical and mental health. It can also affect your relationships, home, career and finances. Some people may feel relieved with a diagnosis because it can sometimes take a long time to get an accurate diagnosis.
Each person will react differently. There may be challenging times ahead, but adopting certain strategies and knowing that you are not alone can help you cope in the best way possible.
Experiencing a range of emotions is quite normal, but you should watch out for signs of depression. If at any stage you begin to feel overwhelmed, seek help immediately.
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It is likely that your diagnosis may lead to some unavoidable life changes. These can range from a change in your transport, adapting your job role or lifestyle habits so that it suits your health.
Things you can do:
- Mostly try to maintain your normal daily routine, including working, socialising and exercising. Maintaining a level of normality is often beneficial for your physical and psychological health – unless your life is extremely busy or stressful.
- Try not to isolate yourself. Have at least one family member or friend you can talk to.
- Learn about epilepsy and the type of epilepsy you have. It can really help with managing.
- When you feel up to it, take more control over your condition.
- Seek help if you are feeling depressed. It is quite normal to have these feelings after a diagnosis of epilepsy or any other health condition.
- Speak to the doctor if you are feeling the medication is giving you too many side effects, or side effects that are really affecting your life.
- Find a support group that you can join. There are many online support groups for people with epilepsy who share experiences and ask questions. These can be very beneficial for some people. Speak to Epilepsy Action for more information on support.
Many people with epilepsy now take a more active role in managing their disease. Self-management is the way forward and it will enhance better disease management and control.
Taking an active approach to managing your epilepsy can give you confidence when it comes to discussions with the doctor or decisions about treatment.
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