Everyone feels sad from time to time, but a constant low mood shouldn’t be ignored. It’s more than likely depression. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of - ever. Commonly known as the ‘Black Dog’, depression is an unwanted companion. One that barks, bites or silently follows in your shadow – but rarely strays from your side without medical help. Depression changes how you feel about life and makes even simple everyday tasks feel like a challenge. It can interfere with school, work and your personal life.
How does it affect people with epilepsy?
There’s a big link between epilepsy and depression. Although they’re completely different conditions, the two can attract each other. People with epilepsy are more likely to develop depression than others. Our bodies and minds are connected and epilepsy can affect your emotional health. Just as depression can trigger a seizure. It can also be a side effect to some meds, so it’s important you talk to your epilepsy doctor as soon as you notice any change in your mood.
On average in the UK, 1 in 6 people have depression. If you have epilepsy this is 1 in 3. It affects everyone differently but you may notice you feel:
- Hopeless or helpless
- Anxious or worried
- Sad or low
- Tired and fatigued all the time
- Unable to concentrate
- Uninterested in the things you enjoy (from food and sports to sex)
- You eat more or less than usual
If you have any dark thoughts such as harming yourself or ending your life – talk to family, friends, strangers or doctors immediately – help is always available.
“[Living with epilepsy] has affected all areas of wellbeing, but the mental impact has been the hardest to deal with.”
This was just one opinion shared with us when we surveyed young people with epilepsy, like you, (aged 25 and under) and asked how living with epilepsy has affected their mental wellbeing.