The period after a seizure is called the postictal phase, and it can be a period where you feel confused and lost, especially if you are on your own. During this period it is very important to look after yourself, and give yourself the chance to get back to being yourself.
In this article we discuss five self-care techniques to get you back on track and recovering from a epileptic seizure, in particular, a Tonic-Clonic (grand mal) seizure, although some are applicable to other seizure types too.
1. Breathe, Assess and Re-Centre
After the seizure the very first thing you should do is relax and take some deep breaths. You will probably find you are in pain from the convulsions and confused. Taking deep breaths focuses your mind on breathing rather than the pain and confusion, helping prevent panic and reduce fear. Lying still with no sudden movements will help you to re-centre yourself and recover more quickly whilst limiting any further harm to the body. Whilst you are doing this, pay attention to any unfamiliar sensations and assess yourself for any injury. The last thing you want to do is get up and put weight on a limb that is injured! (I didn’t learn this the hard way, honest!) If you are on your own call for help do not get up if it is avoidable. Call a medical professional, family member or friend to come ad help you during this stage where you are very vulnerable and judgement may be impaired.
Seizures are very physically intensive, more so than any gym session you will ever do, unless you are one of these strange people that likes these high intensity exercise plans! Just like any period of intensive exercise you could sweat and start to dehydrate. It is very important to get some water or isotonic sports drink in you shortly after a seizure. I always find when I don’t drink afterwards my recovery period is significantly longer. In a similar vein, I always find it useful to get some sugar in me, so my Mum or partner makes me a cup of tea with sugar in. This replaces some of the energy I’ve used up practicing my fish out of water routine. Give your body the fuel and tools it has lost during the fit to help it recover.