Mental health and epilepsy: Niamh’s story

Our Youth Group member, Niamh, shares her experiences of living with epilepsy. The struggles she has had with her mental health and the support she has received from her closest friends.

As many people know I have epilepsy which causes me to have tonic-clonic seizures. I recently hit the one year seizure free mark which is such a massive milestone for me.

However, I still have many side effects which make my everyday life very hard.

I get extreme migraines which can last for hours on end, and these alone are very hard to live with as I cannot focus on what I’m doing and will nine times out of 10 have to go to bed to recover.

I also struggle with bad memory loss meaning that I don’t remember everything I’m meant to.

My doctor once told me that my brain picks and chooses what it thinks it needs to know and farts away the rest of it (I thought was quite funny).

This affects my school work and having a conversation with someone as I regularly forget what has been said at the start of a conversation meaning the person I’m speaking to doesn’t think I’ve been listening (I can confirm that that isn’t the case).

I have other side affects but these are my main ones.


Struggling with my mental health

One of the hardest things I live with daily is my anxiety, and loneliness.

Since being diagnosed three years ago, I’ve really struggled with my mental health, and feeling like the whole world is against me.

Being diagnosed left me feeling different than all my friends and unable to talk to them about it as I thought they would feel weird and stop talking to me or would start treating me like a freak.

I wake up every morning and take medication and do the same every night.

This is another big challenge for me as it is a constant reminder that I am different and not like some people around me.

I often feel very alone and isolated from the world which causes me to shut people out and bottle my feelings deep inside.

I leave the house each day worrying about what might happen and always come to the worst case scenario.


Support from friends

I recently opened up to a couple of my closest friends about how I was truly feeling and they couldn’t have been more supportive.

They asked me questions and really took the time to listen to me and I couldn’t be more grateful!

Since being diagnosed I haven’t let it stopped me from doing what I do best. I can cook on an open fire and go to parties with my friends, I can go on long camps without my mum and dad and I can do all the scouting activities I want.

I know what I have to do to keep me safe and healthy and am very open to telling people that I have epilepsy.

Also, I believe that just because I have a neurological condition doesn’t make me any different from someone who doesn’t have one and I shouldn’t be discriminated because of it either.

My point in writing this today is to make everyone aware that a neurological condition affects people so much more than you might see.

My epilepsy is always on my mind but it doesn’t and shouldn’t stop me doing what I love. I treat everyday as a new one and feel so blessed that I have such a big support system behind me every step of the way.

If you are struggling with your epilepsy and mental health, please call our freephone Helpline on 0808 800 2200 or email