Staying Calm and Managing Anxiety During a Hospital Stay

I had always been afraid of hospitals. The smell of disinfectant, the sterile environment, the unknown — it all made my heart race and my palms sweat. Could my fear trigger my epilepsy?

Hospital anxiety during epilepsy tests

I got admitted into hospital for my MRI scan. After the MRI scan, I will be scheduled for surgery to implant a deep brain stimulation (DBS) device. The DBS device is basically a pacemaker for the brain. It sends electrical impulses to certain areas of the brain to help control my involuntary muscle movements. I am diagnosed with generalized dystonia, and I will be having surgery to help with these symptoms.

A friendly nurse welcomed me when I arrived at the hospital and made an effort to reassure me, though my nervousness didn't subside. I felt like I was going to be sick. My worst nightmare is having to spend the night in the hospital.

Fears, anxieties, and how I manage them

Fear of needles is one of my biggest fears. The injection has to be placed on the nerves in my hand, which hurts like hell. My epilepsy was triggered a short while later. I had to use a jacket and two blankets because the hospital was so cold. It was unbearably cold. My epilepsy is also triggered by the cold.

Clobazam, my emergency medication, was the first thing I took during this experience. Knowing my own triggers, my heart was racing. That's why I hate staying at hospital. I knew that I needed to do something to calm down.

My therapist has also taught me some deep-breathing exercises, and I needed to tap into them. I closed my eyes and took a few long breaths, being sure to exhale completely before drawing in another. Breathe Nisshaa. You can do this. My body listened to me. I was feeling better. But having epilepsy is never easy.

Preparing for a hospital stay

I've learned that it's important to be prepared for hospital stays. I always bring a list of my questions for the doctor, and I make sure to have a plan in place in case I have a seizure. I also bring things from home that make me feel comfortable, like my teddy and a pillow.

The next day, I got my MRI scan. The wait and the scan itself took a long time. Because of my dystonia, I couldn't stay still for the scan, so I had to be sedated. When I woke up, my head was a little dizzy. After resting for a few hours, I was discharged from the hospital. I'm was so happy to be home! My implantation surgery is coming up, and I hope all goes well.

Tips for hospital anxiety with epilepsy

Here are some specific tips for managing anxiety during a hospital stay with epilepsy:

Talk to your doctor. Let them know about your anxiety and any triggers that you have. They can work with you to develop a plan to help you stay calm and manage your anxiety during your hospital stay.

Learn relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are all effective ways to reduce anxiety. These techniques really help me so much.

Bring things from home that make you feel comfortable. This could include a favourite blanket, pillow, book, or stuffed animal. Having things from home can help make the hospital feel less foreign and more comfortable.

Listen to music or calming sounds. Listening to music or calming sounds can help distract you from your worries and promote relaxation. You can bring your own earphones and listen to the music. That's what I did.

Spend time with loved ones. Having visitors can help reduce loneliness and anxiety. Ask your loved ones to come and visit you, or talk to them on the phone or video chat. I had my mom stay over with me, and she was a great source of support.

Get some exercise. If you are able, get some exercise while you are in the hospital. Even a short walk around the room can help reduce stress and improve your mood. I was walking so much in the hospital to reduce my anxiety.

There is support!

I hope these tips help you manage your anxiety during your hospital stay. Remember, you are not alone. Many people experience anxiety when they are in the hospital. It is a normal reaction to a stressful situation. If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to your doctor or another healthcare provider. They can help you develop coping skills and get the support that you need.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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