The need for post seizure counseling
Dr. Lee Outlaw
Use of a counselor/psychologist can be beneficial in post epileptic seizure recovery
After thirty years of counseling people in practically every area of life including epilepsy, I am obviously an advocate for counseling. In fact, I have written several papers and articles on the subject of the need for professional counseling.
Counseling, that desire to talk to somebody when you just can’t figure things out is always helpful even if the person you’re talking to is only a friend or relative; we all do it.
Don’t think I’m referring only to other people; in my thirty years as a pastor and Christian psychologist, I had standing weekly appointments with both a close pastor friend and a Psychiatrist colleague to simply talk and discuss “things”, to keep from losing my proverbial mind. If you think personal problems are tough, try dealing with hundreds of people’s problems; it can often be more than one person can handle. I might add that this was long before I had been officially diagnosed as an epileptic.
The point is, we all need help from time to time and we need to talk about our problems and issues with life.
Unfortunately for those of us who are epileptics, the ones we want to talk too either don’t want to listen or have pre-conceived ideas about epilepsy. They often perceive epilepsy as a mental illness, drug abuse, anger issues or even demonic possession. In addition, many think we make it all up and are lazy resulting from having to give up driving, unable to work and often afraid to go out in public for fear of having a seizure.
Another problem for many of our friends and family members is they have never witnessed us having a seizure, or so they think. This alone results in a variety of arm chair counselors making unsubstantiated accusations and incorrect recommendations or suggestions.
After my two recent grand mal seizures just 3 hours apart (as stated in my last article), recovery has been tough, really tough”; it has been the most difficult post seizure recovery and taken the longest time for recovery I have ever experienced. Only now nearly three months since the seizures am I beginning to feel almost “normal”.
I believe sincerely the only reason I am even close to full recovery is due to seeking out personal counseling.
A colleague suggested that I might want to consider a series of sessions with a mutual fellow therapist, which I did. I knew this man and like me he is both semi-retired and a Christian Psychologist and he has some experience in counseling epileptics. I agreed and it has been the best thing I have ever done.
The first thing he asked me was, “What are your two greatest fears with regard to being an epileptic?”
Those of us who practice psychology are well aware that the one thing common to everyone is fear; it either drives us to success or failure. Fear can also induce or reduce stress in our lives.
I believe sincerely this is why the Bible tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2Timothy 1:7
My first fear like most epileptics is that of the unknown; that is the not knowing if or when I will have another seizure and what kind I might experience. Also, the older I get is the realization that the next seizure could take my life.
The second fear I shared with my counselor is very personal and something I had held onto for 19 years. Once I shared it with him and God I felt stress almost immediately leave my mind and body. It was and is a great feeling.
The past we hold on to produces emotional poison and develops stress after stress after stress in our lives. This is extremely dangerous for anyone but for the epileptic it can be absolutely fatal. If a past problem is long past and buried deep in your mind it will probably require professional help to eliminate.
The point of this article is simple, Professional Psychological and/or Clinical Pastoral Counseling can be of great benefit to epileptics in relieving stress.
This is part of my reason for starting LIVE Online Counseling beginning April 2nd.
Although epilepsy is not a mental health disorder, due to the extreme impact on an epileptic and their family, there can be associated mental health issues which develop along the way such as mood swings, depression, anger and personality disorders.
All of this can contribute to stress for the epileptic and their friends and family. Counseling can possibly help.
If you haven’t done so, please give Epilepsy counseling a chance.
May God bless us all as we seek to find a cure for Epilepsy.
© 2019 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD