Depression and Epilepsy
You may not know but depression and epilepsy can go hand in hand, so it is prudent to be aware of any potential triggers, such as loss of sunlight. As the days grow shorter it is important to be on guard against onset of seasonal symptoms. Here are a few things I’ve found that can help combat any manifesting depression.
Depression can manifest itself in different ways for different people; whether you feel constantly fatigued, a complete sense of apathy, or you just get grumpy, it’s important you are able to recognize these feelings for what they are. One of the main reasons I struggled with depression was simply because I refused to acknowledge my symptoms. I had a thousand excuses for why I felt so terrible, and rather than seeking out the help I needed, I was content to wallow in my misery. As you might imagine, this approach did more harm than good, and it was not until I was honest with myself that things finally began to get better. Don’t be afraid to speak up concerning your mental health, it might make all the difference. Call your doctor and share your symptoms, thoughts and feelings so they can help you navigate these feelings.
- Talk to friends and family
Have a support system you can rely on. When life has got you down, it’s reassuring to know you have people around who can pick you back up. Depression can be difficult to discuss, but once your friends or family know what’s going on, they can help get you out of your funk, (or just know that they should give you some space). Realizing I had people who supported me was a major stepping stone for me, and is part of what allowed me to soldier through. With the help of my friends, I was able to work through the worst bouts of my depression simply by talking about it. Sometimes a helping hand is all you need!
- Help yourself to some sunshine!
A lot of anticonvulsants (mostly the liver inducers) actually lower a person’s vitamin D and calcium levels. Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge issue, but vitamin deficiency paired with perpetually grey skies and a lack of natural sunlight might leave you feeling a bit under the weather. If you find yourself lacking your normal energy in the wintertime, you might want to check your vitamin D levels. Seasonal affective disorder also comes into play this time of year so it may be worth it to take some preemptive measures and start supplementing your diet with some vitamin D.
Ashley is a recent graduate from The Ohio State University and a young woman living with Epilepsy. Ashley joined My Epilepsy Story in 2014 and has a featured section called Ashley’s Advice. Ashley has a passion for helping other girls and women living with epilepsy especially young women that are starting college.