Anxiety is a feeling that many people experience at certain points in life, mostly when we find ourselves in a threatening or difficult situation. Anxiety can become a disorder, however, if it gets out of hand, causing a constant feeling of nervousness, distress, and unease for no apparent reason.
How is anxiety related to epilepsy?
Anxiety can be very significant in the life of a person with epilepsy. It can occur not only as a reaction to the diagnosis, but because of the fear of having a seizure. The knowledge that a seizure can occur at any time and place without very much warning is a major point of anxiety for many people. Some also become anxious about social rejection due to their condition, particularly during adolescence. Social support is therefore an important element in the life of a person with epilepsy.
How to Cope with Anxiety?
Finding ways to control anxiety is more helpful than trying to stop feeling it. The Epilepsy Society proposes these exercises:
- Breathe hard – not too deep, not too fast. Try it a few times to feel calmer.
- Concentrate on something nice to distract yourself: music, a photo, an activity like yoga or reading.
- Plan small achievable tasks for each day.
- Talk to people. Any social contact can help us feel more secure and valued.
- Write down the situations that cause us anxiety. Remember what helped us cope last time.
At MJN we work day by day to improve the quality of life of all these people who every day have to deal with the uncertainty and anxiety that comes with not knowing when the next seizure is going to happen.