Information about non epileptic seizures and Non Epileptic Attack Disorder.

Coping With Fatigue

By on 5 October 2015 in General

Anyone who has a long term chronic health condition will often tell you that it is not the pain or the medication side effects which are the hardest things to deal with but the extreme fatigue. The same is true for people with NEAD. Trying to explain fatigue to other people can be hard. It’s not just ‘feeling a bit tired’, it’s an all consuming feeling of complete exhaustion…as if something has drained all your batteries. A great explanation for fatigue is the Spoon theory written by Christine Brandolino.

When you have dissociative seizures, you will find that you have two kinds of fatigue. The first is straight after a seizure which may last a few minutes or a few hours. When you think about how much energy a seizure must use up, this kind of fatigue is not surprising! The other type is the tired-all-the-time fatigue which can happen at any time, even if you have had a great night’s sleep. Here are some tips for coping with fatigue:

Ath Thawrah Eat well

Food is the fuel that our bodies burn to keep us alive and active. Putting the wrong kind of fuel into your body has the same effect as putting the wrong kind of fuel in your car.

  • Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.
  • Cut down on red meat.
  • Eat more fish, especially oily fish
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Cut down on caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Ask your doctor to check the levels of vitamins B and D in your system and your iron levels. It is also worth asking to have your potassium and magnesium levels checked.
  • The occassional treat won’t hurt you but make sure you are not reaching for the biscuits or cakes if you feel stressed. The crash after a sugar high will make you feel even more tired. Exercise

It may seem strange to say do some exercise when you are feeling too tired to move but it really does help. Going out for a walk in the park releases all kinds of feel-good hormones which will help you feel much better. Exercise doesn’t have to be about going to the gym and getting sweaty (although that is  fine too), it can also be something gentle like yoga, Tai Chi, swimming (let the lifeguards at the pool know you suffer seizures) or just good old fashioned walking. Sleep well

There is some research that NEAD and sleep disorders may be linked, so do everything you can to ensure a good night’s sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time as far as possible. Make sure your bedroom is cool and dark. Invest in the best quality mattress and pillows that you can afford. Make your bedroom a screen free room…no mobiles, no tablets, no TV…as the blue light emitted by devices affects your body’s natural rythyms. If you have a partner or pet that disturbs your sleep on a regular basis, think of ways to stop that happening. Don’t drink caffeinated drinks after about 4pm and particularly not in the two hours before bed. Don’t eat a heavy meal late at night. Do drink a glass of water before bed to keep yourself hydrated through the night

Pace yourself

It can be very tempting on your good days to rush about catching up with the chores you didn’t do on your bad days but balance is the key. Aim for a good mix of exercise and rest, plan activities carefully so that you can enjoy them and manage other people’s expectations of what you can do. If someone asks you to do something, don’t just agree straight away. Make it clear that you will do your best but can’t guarantee to do it. Make time for fun things that you enjoy and for relaxation.

Make things easier for yourself

Break down tasks into smaller tasks e.g clean one room at a time rather than trying to do the whole house in one go. Don’t be shy about asking other people to help you. If you have children, get them involved in the chore of the day…its good for them as well as for you. If you are working, make sure you don’t let your bosses pile you up with too much work or give you impossible deadlines to meet. Think about investing in gadgets that make life easier or more comfortable. As we know, stress is abig factor for NEAD and that affects our energy levels too so managing stress will help a lot.

Fatigue can be hard to deal with but with a little bit of planning and putting into place the suggestions listed, you will find that your energy levels improve and you may even have a spoon or two left over at the end of the day.

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