Stress, Epilepsy, and CoViD-19

During the whole “shelter in place thing we’ve been doing for over a month, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have been able to work from home. I thought it was going to be an easy change. I thought it would be less stressful. But it hasn’t.

It’s been great, mostly. My commute has gone from fifteen minutes to fifteen seconds. I get to eat lunch at home, with my wife. But that doesn’t mean it’s less stressful.

I work for a business that’s been very affected by the lockdown, and the Powers That Be want to know how badly affected we are. That means lots of reporting for me to do. Lots of “do this yesterday” items, and lots of “would you mind working Sunday, it’s not like have to come into the office” items. (For the record, I would very much mind working on Sunday.) And that creates stress.

Yeah this is me.

Stress can be a big problem for those of us with epilepsy. It can pop up when it’s not expected – and it doesn’t even haveto be attached to anything. You can be stressed without anything to be stressed about. You can even get stressed over the thought of being stressed.

I’m sure I’ve talked about stress before on here. It’s one of my big seizure triggers. And I’ve been doing too well for too long to push my luck.

So what do I do to cope? A few things.

Physical Activity

In my case, this usually means going for a walk. This is where I’m lucky being at home. I get to go outside, see the trees, breathe the air. But even at work, I can take a quick walk around the parking lot, or even just down the hall and up and down the stairs a few times. It gives me something to focus on and experience other than my frustration and stress.

Aggression Substitute

AAlso known as a stress ball. Mine is definitely suited to me 😜

The main point of a stress ball, for me anyway, is to help me relax. “Walking it off” is great to take my mind off whatever’s bothering me, but stress makes me tense. My neck goes stiff, and my stomach gets queasy. Squeezing the stress ball pushes all that physical force into my hands, and lets the rest of me relax.


Again I can see how lucky I am to be working from home. I get to come out and vent to my wife. She doesn’t always totally understand (especially if it’s a programming problem) but she always listens. And just getting the words out helps ease the stress.

If you don’t have a significant other to vent to, or a friend that you can spout off to, try writing the problem down. Doesn’t matter what exactly you say, or how. The main thing is to think through the words. That gives you some distance between you and what you’re feeling. It does work.

This isn’t an easy time for anyone. And we as people with epilepsy need to take care of ourselves, especially at times like these. I hope these ideas help you as much as they helped me.

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