Living with it: Anxiety and depression
Many of the people we interviewed reported feeling anxious and depressed because of their epilepsy. Some participants had these feelings when they were first diagnosed. Others explained how they felt down or depressed at different stages.
Often, feelings of depression were bound up with a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. One woman described her feelings of depression, anger and loss of control. Another discussed her feelings of depression and failure. She also recalled the support she had received from her church group.
For many participants, talking to other people and joining support groups helped them to deal with their feelings of anxiety and isolation. Some also recommended counselling (see 'Sources of support'). Several respondents explained that anti-epileptic drugs can also make people feel depressed.
Many participants pointed out that feelings of depression often passed, and discussed how having a positive attitude helped them. One woman discussed her depression and how keeping herself busy and occupied helped her.
A few people reported feeling suicidal when times were difficult, but often noted how these feelings passed. One woman, who had had a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) implanted, discussed her feelings of depression but also how her life had changed after having surgery for epilepsy.
Last reviewed February 2012.