On Parent Mental Health Day, our Communications Officer, David Coates looks at ways parents can look after their mental health especially if they are looking after a child who has epilepsy.
Parenting is a very demanding job, and it’s easy to forget about looking after yourself! Everyone needs time to themselves. This is especially important if your child has epilepsy.
Epilepsy affects not only the child with epilepsy but also can have a profound impact on all members of the family.
When a child is diagnosed with epilepsy, parents may experience a number of feelings such as anger, guilt, shock, and denial before finally accepting their child’s diagnosis.
Parents may also experience feelings of helplessness, fear, panic, or anxiety when their child has a seizure.
Living with epilepsy not only affects the child’s mental health, but also the parent’s.
On Parent Mental Health Day, we provide some information and tips for parents who are looking after children living with epilepsy.
Talk about your feelings
Talking about your feelings can help you maintain good mental health and deal with the more difficult days.
Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.
It can also be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone.
Take time for yourself
It is important that you try to take some time for yourself, whether that’s within your home or by going for a walk.
Being physically active can help your mental health. You could try walking, going for a jog or run or find an online class.
Or take time to relax by doing something you enjoy.
Take care of yourself
As a parent, it can be easy to forget about looking after yourself because you are so focused on looking after your child. In particular, if that child is living with epilepsy.
Make sure you are eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, and making time for physical exercise.
Build a support network
Find people you can rely on for practical and emotional support.
Tell them when you’re starting to find things difficult and tell them what you need, whether that’s help getting your child/children to school or booking a GP appointment.
Join a support group such as our Facebook online support group. Talking to others in a similar situation can help.
None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong.
If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.
Call our freephone Helpline if you need someone to talk to on 0808 800 2200. Our Helpline is open Monday to Friday between 10am till 4.30pm.