This month is Men’s Health Awareness Month. We regularly hear from men from all over Scotland struggling with a new diagnosis and living with epilepsy.
Topics that are mentioned regularly include the effect epilepsy can have on confidence, mood, general health and wellbeing.
These issues can of course affect other groups of people as well, but men often deal with these matters in a different way. This blog looks at some of these issues.
Coming to terms with epilepsy
Being diagnosed with a long-term condition like epilepsy can be a stressful experience triggering a mixture of emotions such as feeling sad, isolated or angry.
Anger can also lead to frustration and resentment. Men often find it more difficult to talk about how they feel, bottling things up instead. It can take time to get your head around being diagnosed with epilepsy.
Find out as much as you can about epilepsy from your healthcare team, and how it may affect you.
Take time to digest the information, ask questions, and only when you are ready, talk to your friends and family. How much you tell them is up to you.
Having a better understanding of the condition can often help regain a sense of control over your life.
Pressure or even just well-meaning encouragement from friends and family to carry on with life as normal when you don’t feel ready for this can be frustrating.
You might not feel like going out as much, at least in the beginning until your seizures are better.
Speak to a close friend and explain how you feel about having a seizure in front of others. Opening up will give your friends a better understanding of epilepsy and you may feel a bit more confident about going out.
Make sure your friends know what to do in case you have a seizure, so you know you are in safe company on a night out.
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 as too much alcohol can affect how well your body absorbs epilepsy medication. Avoid binge drinking as this can put you at risk of a serious seizure.
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.
We can help with this, so please ask them to contact us on our helpline 0808 800 2200.
Take time to explain to your children 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. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for free copies.
Having epilepsy should not stop you from being a good and loving dad or spending quality time with your family.
Lots of men take pride in their car as it can provide a feeling of independence and a sense of identity. If driving a car is your only means of transport, losing your licence after your first seizure can have an impact on your emotional wellbeing and sense of self-worth.
With the right medication between 50 and 60% of people with epilepsy can have their seizures completely controlled.
Once you are seizure-free for one full year you can reapply for your ordinary driving licence. Stricter rules apply for passenger carrying and heavy goods licences.
While you are without your driving licence you can apply for a free Scotland wide bus pass. You can also buy a Disabled Person’s Railcard which gives you one third off rail fares throughout the UK. There is more in our driving and epilepsy factsheet.
For more information like this, please read our men and epilepsy factsheet. If you want to talk, call our freephone helpline on 0808 800 2200. We are here to listen.