Have you, or someone you love, dealt with depression and epilepsy?

Volume 2, Number 4

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Help Make Life Better for People with Epilepsy

Director's Letter

Some things just hit you.  I’ll never forget where I was when I heard about the Challenger blowing up or the tragedy with the World Trade Center.  My folks still remember where they were when JFK died.  Last week, when I learned about the passing of Robin Williams, I was just going into a TEAM Referral meeting.
I am not usually swayed by celebrity status, so why did his passing affect me?  Was it because I remember growing up enjoying “Mork and Mindy” and Mrs. Doubtfire?  Was it because I had a friend commit suicide years ago?  Or, was it the shock of learning that someone who brought joy to so many was dealing with depression? 
Depression hits close to home because like many others with epilepsy, I deal with depression.  Until a cure is found, depression will always be a potential issue for people with epilepsy.  Here at EEE, we decided to do a little digging and were surprised to find that people with epilepsy are more likely to commit suicide leading us to focus on depression and suicide for this issue.
For everyone out there who is dealing with depression or considering taking your life, please don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Jonny B., this month’s survivor story, made one last effort with a Facebook posting.  Adrian, our newsletter editor, and I were about 100 miles away when I saw his posting and even though we tried to help, we didn’t know where he was.  Many others saw his post as well and Jonny B. got the help he needed and is still with us today.
Just as you are not alone in dealing with epilepsy, you are not alone in dealing with depression.  I hope that like me, everyone has that core group of friends and family members they can reach out to when feeling down.  And, don’t be afraid to go see a counselor or psychiatrist.  Do not be ashamed of depression, epilepsy, or anything else in your life.
Instead, reach out when needed, be there to help when needed, and otherwise, get out and celebrate your life!
Meghan Kennedy
Executive Director 

Depression & Epilepsy

People with epilepsy have a higher prevalence of depression than the general population yet it remains under-recognized and untreated in a significant number of patients. Data suggests that 20% to 50% of patients with epilepsy will experience some form of depression and the most serious complication of depression is suicide. 

Signs & Symptoms:

 Some common features that could point towards depression, and these are not just exclusive to people with epilepsy, can include the following:
  • Changes in sleep, mood, and appetite
  • Decreased interests
  • Suicidal thinking
  • Poor concentration/attention
  • Change in thoughts, movement, and speed
  • Pains in various parts of the body
When a person has epilepsy, there are some additional factors that come into play:
  • Continuing to have seizures
  • Being afraid of having seizures 
  • Having side effects from epilepsy medicines
  • Having problems at work or school
  • Having social, relationship, or family problems
Neurologists will often find themselves in the position of being the only health care provider available to initiate treatment when depression does occur, but asking for a prescription shouldn't be the only means to overcome depression.  Other therapeutic options include counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.  For more information, visit the NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center page.

If you or someone you know are in crisis, then call


to get help at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • Changes in sleep, mood and appetite
  • Decreased interests
  • Suicidal thinking
  • Poor concentration/attention
  • Change in thoughts, movement and speed
  • Pains in various parts of the body

Survivor Stories

Thank you to Jonny B. for letting us share his Survivor Story.  Jonny felt he couldn't handle his epilepsy and attempted suicide almost two years ago. Luckily, his last plea for help worked and he is now helping others today.  

Want to share your story?  Just contact us .

Event Calendar

Now till November 30th- Purple Proclamation Project 2014

September 13th- Inland Empire Disability Resources EXPO

November 5th- Epilepsy Awareness Day Event EXPO at at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott from 10AM to 7PM

November 6th- Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland

November 13th- Give BIG Riverside.  Mark your calendars to help us win $5000 that day! 

November 15th- The Purple Ball

Visit our Calendar page for other events.
Click here to donate to EEE
Copyright © 2014 Epilepsy Education Everywhere, All rights reserved.

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