Our Helpline & Information Officer, Stuart Macgee looks at issues, which are relevant and important to men living with epilepsy.
We regularly hear from men from all over Scotland about how being diagnosed and living with epilepsy can raise a number of concerns.
Topics such as the effect epilepsy can have on confidence, mood, general mental health and wellbeing.
These issues highlighted can of course affect woman also, but men often deal with these matters in a different way.
Coming to terms with epilepsy
Being diagnosed with a long-term condition like epilepsy can be a stressful experience.
It can cause a mixture of emotions such as feeling sad, isolated or angry, which some men can find difficult to discuss.
Some men may see having seizures as a sign of weakness. However, it is important to remember that epilepsy is a physical condition.
Find out as much as you can about epilepsy from your healthcare team, and how it may affect you.
You can contact our helpline for more information about epilepsy, and someone to talk to.
Having a better understanding of the condition, can often help regain a sense of control over your life.
It is normal to worry about having a seizure in front of your child or partner.
Your partner will also need time to adjust and is bound to have many questions.
Children are usually very resilient. Take time to explain what is happening to you and how they can help, such as dialling 999 or calling a family member or neighbour should you have a seizure.
Our storybooks for young children help explain epilepsy in an age appropriate way and can be a starting point to talk about epilepsy with your child.
Having epilepsy should not stop you from being a good and loving dad or spending quality time with your family.
Men can find it difficult after a diagnosis of epilepsy to cope with some of the social pressures they feel.
There often is a strong desire to be ‘one of the boys’. You might not feel like going out as much, at least in the beginning until your seizures are better controlled.This can sometimes lead to a sense of isolation or even loneliness.
Epilepsy does not mean the end of going out with friends and having a social life. Alcohol is usually ok in moderation but follow your specialist’s instructions.
Try and limit the amount you drink to 1-2 units in a day. Too much alcohol can affect how well your body absorbs epilepsy medication.
Sometimes people can forget to take their medication when they have been drinking, which could trigger a seizure.
Binge drinking at the weekend is never a good idea as it can put you at risk of having a serious seizure.
Work and career
Once you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, you have the protection of the Equality Act.
This means that an employer needs to look into making reasonable adjustments to allow you to continue doing your job safely, even if your seizures are not yet controlled.
Your employer can also find you a safer position, if this is possible, in your place of work.
You cannot be dismissed from your work, unless your seizures remain uncontrolled and it is not possible to keep you safe.
The first thing to do is phone our helpline for an initial chat. We can signpost you to another agency who can give you employment specific advice.