It’s time to stop just asking people to talk about their mental health, and it’s time for us to learn to listen. ‘Talking’ is the powerful keyword echoed by Mental Health Organisations, young adults, artists, Students’ Unions and those who have finally opened up to the fact that it is okay not to feel okay, and opening dialogue that makes living manageable. It is the cornerstone the Samaritans work by, but it doesn’t translate so well when discussion elsewhere is faltering. Talking and listening is all we have to offer as the health system is stumbling behind any real milestone for supporting mental health issues on so many tiers.
Challenging the public and opening our eyes to our stigmatising attitudes were just the first few sparks in the burning issue that will eventually flame into a hopeful and shining light at the end of a dark, and torturing tunnel. We are too complacent with the Please Talk campaign that we are in danger of simply deflecting and shying away from the real issue at hand. Yes, talking and seeking help is crucial - but who’s listening, and what are we doing about it?
Mental health is a deadly, hidden and isolating beast. It creates waves of intense loneliness and suffering and is a widespread experience. The Challenging Times Two Study showed that 1 in 2 (56%) of young Irish adults between the ages of 19 – 24 experience at least one form of a mental disorder, while 1 in 4 experience more than one over their lifetime. This is more than a startling statistic; it’s the real startling reality about our society and us. It is a reality I am firmly a part of.
There are days where I feel paralysed by an overwhelming sense of sadness, lethargy and feelings of impending doom. With no motivation or drive to even get up or eat, I lie in bed with only my sad thoughts about my past, and anxiety of the future for company. I have had thoughts of suicide, but these were long ago. Luckily for me, my days of being mentally and physically exhausted are less frequent.
My feelings of brief and infrequent heaviness will be my passenger in life. I’m like any ‘typical’ young Irish male: outgoing, driven, sociable and happy on the outside, and on the inside too, except for those days when I am weighed down to the ground. I talk to my friends. But at the end of the day, it’s not a real solution. There are people who are completely crippled by their mental health conditions and how can we expect people to be fully prepared to be able to really help them?
Smashing stigmas to help people shake off the embarrassment, shame, fear of labels, and people ‘finding out’ are the best tools for bringing down the wall between seeking help and isolation. This blockade is being torn down, brick by brick, by so many hands that we’re now coming face-to-face with mental health and we don’t know what to say. We are slowly realising that we actually know very little, and we’re becoming increasingly more aware of how little we can do besides nod and passively listen. How can we expect ourselves to readily be capable of empathising and actively supportive rather than sympathising and passively listening? What would you say, or do, if someone told you they had suicidal thoughts and couldn’t face living anymore?
‘Reach Out’, the National Strategy for Action on Suicide (2005 – 2014) found that young Irish men are willing to talk about their problems. So, we’re talking but are we really just talking out loud? The challenges are now in those confiding relationships where the dialogue starts. We lack listening skills as well as talking skills around mental health. There is training available. We have resources such as safeTALK and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) equipping the public to intervene and actively listen when suicide has been identified in high-risk individuals. Colleges around the country have Peer Support programmes available, and provide these types of training but it can be too late for a lot of young people who suffer alone and never get to this level of support.
Of course we need to keep talking, but we also need to be able to listen. We can share statuses on social media, and keep talking amongst ourselves but at what point does talking about talking become a circular and redundant approach? We need to educate people early on in school just like we do with physical health, sexual health and first aid. We place the onus on people to take the first step by asking them to please talk but it’s up to us to take the next step and learn to listen.
It is definitely time for change at this time of year. The nights are getting shorter and there is a beginning of cold chill in the air as our winter months commence. Change is on the horizon for sure. August seems to be an official time of change for people in Ireland, especially young people as they receive their results for their Leaving Certificate. The CAO offers roll in and parents come to the realisation that their child is moving on and starting to build a life for themselves, as they accept their places in University or in an Institute of Technology.
This is not the case for everyone as some students may not have achieved points needed for their chosen course and this most certainly was the case for me when I received my CAO offer over three years ago. I was offered two other institutes but I had my heart set on attending the Limerick Institute of Technology. I was determined that I would study Applied Social Care. It was the only course I wanted to know about and it was recognised as one of the best courses for social care in the country.
The Leaving Certificate was not the end for me. I had organised a place for a PLC course in social studies in Central College Limerick. I chose the social studies as I researched that after I had this course done, I could be employed as a Health Care Assistant. Also, it really was what I wanted to be doing with myself. Undertaking the PLC was the best decision I made. I have made lifelong friends through my PLC course. Most of my PLC class went on to LIT with me so I guess I was lucky in that sense.
A PLC stands for post leaving certificate course, if the thoughts of repeating the leaving certificate year is the last thing you want to do then you can apply for a PLC course which offers various courses on different topics. It involves an interview and if successful, you only have to pay a small amount of fees. On average you study eight modules and there are various assignments within these modules and final summer exams. You can apply through the CAO for a college place. PLC grading goes by three avenues and as follows, Distinction which hold 50 points, Merit which holds 35 points and a Pass which is 20 points.
Although I did not get the points I wanted and it may have taken me an extra year to get where I wanted to go but, it was a great option I had to fall back on.
It gave me the chance to transition from school life where everything is drilled into you, to having to organise and stand up on my own feet. It gave me time to develop my confidence, as I would have been quite shy and nervous about entering into college. Within the course I was doing, we were required to be hands-on and constantly working simultaneously with our tutors.
I got the opportunity to complete work experience, which has stood to me in receiving work after I had the course completed. All depending on the course you pick, the openings that Post-Leaving Certificate courses can bring are so useful for someone starting out in the big bad world.
PLCs are a great stepping-stone. It is a foundation of building blocks that have allowed me to be set up for level eight requirements, being surrounded in a new big college environment doesn’t seem as daunting as it had intentionally felt. The PLC course has definitely provided me with the skills to excel in third level education.
So for anyone, whom feels like they have failed their parents or themselves, believe me, you have not. Plan B is only around the corner. There are multiple possibilities in which you can achieve your goal. All we have to do is look at some of the greats and they didn’t even complete college but still made a mark on the world!
Have you ever wanted to get involved in problems facing young people like you around the globe? Well, with UNICEF Ireland’s new campaign ‘It’s About Us,’ you can do it with just a click of a button (literally!).
‘It’s About Us’ was designed to get Irish youth involved in the issues that are most important to them. UNICEF Ireland work to educate young people about inequality, discrimination and children’s rights, and gives them a space to make their voices heard.
On the ‘It’s About Us’ website, young people (0-25!) are given the chance to vote for the top 5 issues that matter the most to them from 10 options:
These votes will be added together, calculated and given to the Minister for Foreign Affairs before he goes to visit the United Nations in September, so something that seems quite unremarkable will actually have a huge impact. And it’s so easy!
I did a TY work experience placement at UNICEF’s office last November, just when the ‘It’s About Us’ project was starting. I stayed in contact with them, and in June, I was asked if I wanted to volunteer with the project and try to encourage teenagers to vote. So off I went into Cork city centre for the day, hoping that we might get people interested in changing the world!
I got into Merchants Quay shopping centre for about 11am, where UNICEF’s campaign coordinator, Viv, had already set up. We were given t-shirts and iPads for the voting, and were sent off to try and find some fellow teenagers to approach.
I learned a lot from speaking with young people on the streets of Cork. For many, it had been the first time they had heard of UNICEF or the project, and everyone seemed quite interested in how it worked. We spoke to 19 year olds in college and 11 year olds with their parents, and went everywhere from shopping centres to outside McDonalds.
‘It’s About Us’ has the potential to make a huge difference because it encourages young people to become ambassadors. We are the future leaders, volunteers, doctors and diplomats, it is hoped that a project like this could be the first step in inspiring even just one person to take a stand. It’s so easy to vote, and it has the potential to change lives all around the globe. We, as young people, have the responsibility to help other vulnerable young people like us.
UNICEF Ireland is holding a Youth Summit on September 19th in Dublin Castle hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, where young people will come together and debate and discuss issues. You can vote, volunteer and learn more on the ‘It’s About Us’ website here: www.unicef.ie/itsaboutus as well finding out about the amazing work that is being done by UNICEF.
Also, don’t forget to look out for volunteers in your local town or city. UNICEF is travelling the country to get the opinions of young people, so don’t be afraid to step up and take action!
It’s about us. Raise your voice.
I made a short documentary 'Perceived Perfection'. It is about the pressures we as girls and women feel in terms of our appearance and weight, and how the media’s portrayal of so-called ‘perfection’ is the main contributing factor to many feeling less than beautiful, impacting upon everything from our confidence, self-esteem, mental health and self-worth and our self-talk.
In today’s society we are constantly bombarded by images and messages telling us why we need to do the 5-2 diet, or that the juice diet is the answer to all our problems. Whether it’s the Daily Mail berating a celebrity for their appearance, to magazine articles telling us how to lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks, to pictures of actresses photo-shopped to create an image of perfection that is complete fiction.
There’s no escaping it and nobody is immune to the effects that it leaves on how we view ourselves. The reason why I made this documentary is because I feel strongly that we need to start talking openly about the pressures we feel from a young age and how it impacts on our self-perception and self-talk. Regular girls and women are the majority, yet the media invades every aspect of our culture with these false ideals and portrayals of a minority (who have experts, trainers and tonnes of money!).
I hope by making this documentary about how media depicts an unattainable image of perfection, and by getting normal girls and women to talk sincerely and honestly about their own thoughts on the topic and experience of this pressure that it might start a much-needed conversation.
We constantly hear about the valiant efforts of students volunteering abroad, and while that is extremely important and admirable, there’s a lot going on at home that we don’t stop to appreciate.
As a college student, I spend more time worrying about money than I do about course work, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. We’ve all had that moment before a night out where we’re driven demented because we don’t have any presentable clothes, and barely enough money for a taxi home. The solution? Charity shop.
Before this summer, I had never stood foot in a charity shop. I, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, had this idea that clothes from charity shops were sub par and more suited for older generations. I held on until Christmas and birthdays when I could badger my parents for money for new clothes. Not anymore.
I’ve been volunteering in an NCBI (National Council of the Blind, Ireland) for about three months now, and the experience has completely changed how I see the shops. Now, half the clothes I own come from the shop, for less than my lunch costs me. T-shirts, jeans, jackets, books. Everything I needed to get together for going back to college in September, all there, for less than a pair of jeans in Debenhams.
Not only are the clothes cheap, but also they are vetted stricter than an airport. I’ve often Okayed a shirt, only for a fellow volunteer pointing out a tiny tan mark or stains in places I wouldn’t have thought to look. Clothes make their way through a precise system. First, they usually come in in bags. From there, they are sorted and hung. Then, once they pass the test, they are steamed, tagged, and priced. Clothes that are not up to standard are recycled. There’s a pretty simple code; if you wouldn’t be happy to wear it, don’t put it out for sale.
Not only are the prices cheap enough as it is, the shop in which I volunteered offer deals. For instance, they have a 4 for €10 deal, in which you could buy a dress, cardigan, shoes and handbag for €10. I don’t wear dresses and I don’t even want to think what that much would cost in the likes of River Island.
So, now that we’ve gone through what charity shops do for you, let’s talk about what you do for the charities. At NCBI, you’re providing funding for a blind person to learn Braille, or how to use a cane. In Wexford, the branch in which I volunteered, they have Lochran House, a center to help young and old people that are turning blind adapt to their new life by teaching them day to day things like cooking, washing up and even more social events like dancing and book clubs.
Before I began volunteering in the shop, I was a lot shyer. During my first few days, I was terrified to do anything without asking for help, and there was no way I’d go near the till. Working with NCBI this past summer has given me so much more confidence in my abilities and myself. It showed me what it was like to work in a shop environment, and I know that the friendships I built through my work will last a lifetime.
Having spent my summer volunteering in Ireland, I’ve realised that a charity shop is something with no downfalls. They stock quality brands, at a quality that won’t have anyone guessing their origin. They’re perfect on a student budget and most importantly; they give back to the community. It’s not a €100 cheque to NCBI, but it’s a contribution, and every penny is a penny put to good use in charities.
"Sorry, we’re not looking for staff at the moment!" That sentence is one that thousands of unemployed have been hearing every day after printing out tons of C.V.s with money they don’t have.
"Have you got any experience?" is another, but have you ever asked yourself what could give you the much needed experience these employers are looking for?
I have and I would never look back!
It all started from an idea that was thought about in Ballyfermot College, every lunch time after Tina’s soup from the canteen and mam’s pre made sambo (the casual lunch of a broke student). Spider diagrams were drawn out, notebooks were filled and ideas were constantly flowing, the way a journalism student’s mind should always be working.
A sport’s website dedicated to women was something that just seemed to sound like a flop but it was passion that drove it to turn from a scribble on a notebook page to an oil painting.
It wasn’t until we saw the woman that changed the tune of people when it came to women in sports, Katie Taylor, a true Irish legend. But after her win I thought to myself, surely there are other Irish women who have won gold before? Maybe not in the Olympics and at boxing but out there somewhere had to be a woman worth hearing about?
Scanning through newspapers and examining sports stories that consisted of male-based news only seemed to get under our skin, especially when we were hearing about women achieving fantastic things. Don’t get me wrong, I adore sports and love reading match reports from the leagues but when you know there is more to it than that, it would irritate you too!
The light bulb switched on and the notebooks were back out. But it wasn’t until a night out over some cheap cocktails that everything went ahead. Who says great ideas don’t come from good nights out? A website seemed daunting at the start as we only knew the basics, but one thing needed for a website is a creative mind and a driven personality and that’s something we both had.
Sometimes you worry it’s going to fail as it all piles up and learning new things can be difficult, while at other times it seems too good to be true. I myself have never been confident, but by god was I confident in this website.
After spreading the word of what was to come on January 20th 2014, we started to build up a fan base on Facebook and Twitter not only of family and friends but of people who believe in promoting women in sports throughout Ireland. Every day was tough as women’s sport is not easily found with the lack of media attention so there was an awful lot of pressure to achieve what we wanted to, but we did it by attracting over 3,000 views on the first day of publishing the site.
To this day we have interviewed some of the most amazing people in the sporting industry such as Irish Rugby Captain, Fiona Coghlan; MMA World Champion, Aisling Daly; Irish International Kayaker, Jenny Egan; Irish Equestrian, Camilla Spiers; Irish Paralympic swimmer, Ellen Keane and so many more! And every month we learn about a new sport that we have never heard of before. For example, who knew that there was a Tug of War Championship? Lisa and I definitely didn’t!
All our hard work seemed to pay off when we were nominated for Website of The Year in the Smedia Awards 2014 (Student Media Awards). Unfortunately, we did not win, but as we were told, being nominated after only setting up this year was an achievement in itself.
Many people reading will have assumed we get paid for what we do, we don’t get a cent! We depend on people looking for experience to help us achieve what we want, when it comes to the website the people helping us do it for free. Myself and Lisa go out of our way for interviews spending petrol money/bus fare etc. to get women’s stories out there.
Believe me when I say we would love to get paid and sponsored for what we do but we work part-time jobs and come home to the website, it’s like our baby. But it’s something that we believe in and sport reporting is a big part of our life now. Not only do I do it because it’s something I love, I have my best friend by my side and to be honest what more could you ask for?
So where am I going with this, sitting at home searching for work is now the bane of most people’s lives, but everyone has an imagination and a passion; mine was writing and sports. I have the drive to succeed and so does Lisa, and with that enthusiasm, we have now been nominated for Sports Blog of the Year and Best Newcomer in the Blog of Ireland Awards 2014.
Imagination is key, people are asking for experience on CVs now, and most can’t get the experience. Why don’t you go make it?
If you are interested in sports and feel that you would like the opportunity to write with us email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. A big thanks to Ballyfermot College of Further Education for all the skills we have gained during our HND in Print Journalism course, Colm Hanley for giving us our monthly slot to spread the news of women on Stadium Saturdays 103.2 every month, and of course family, friends and most of all the sporting legends who gave their time for interviews!
Language is the key to human interaction. It can bring us together, drive us apart or simply baffle us. If it's tough enough to communicate goodly (?) in English, why should anyone want to do their heads in and try to speak a totally different language? I'm glad you asked...
“You live a new life for every new language you speak. If you know only one language, you live only once.”
Language learning opens your mind, and allows you to experience more in the world. Studies suggest that speaking a different language actually gives you a different outlook on the world.
Needless to say, that holiday in Spain last year might have been a little more successful if you didn't have to mime “tomato soup”. There's always the argument that English is so widely spoken, you can get by just fine anyplace without having to know the local language. This isn't always as true as you might think. Besides, this isn't the right attitude to have when it comes to travel. Next time you go abroad, learn a few phrases and use them frequently in shops and cafés. You'll be surprised at how people brighten up when they hear a bit of an effort from a tourist, no matter how poor the pronunciation, and they'll be a lot friendlier to you.
Knowing a different language than English will help you get more out of your traveling, and will let you better experience the culture of the place you're visiting.
Becoming smarter comes from learning and knowing more. Learning the vocabulary, grammar and phraseology of another language will definitely help boost your brain capability. Language learning has been proven to help combat Alzheimer's disease. It will boost your memory and study habits.
Having another language under your belt will help you get a job. With business becoming more international, employers are desperate to hire bright young talent with competency in French, Spanish, Chinese or any other global language. Sadly, language power in Ireland is weak, with Ireland placing low in all tables regarding languages in European schools. If you can manage to hold your own in
German, or have a conversation with a Chinese businessman, you will expand your opportunities to work (not only in Ireland) tenfold. For working abroad, don't limit yourself to America and Australia.
The advantages of learning a language are clear. But starting off or getting better in a foreign language can be daunting. Luckily, if you just employ a few tricks of the trade, you'll be gossiping with your Colombian neighbour in no time.
Do well in AND out of school
You may well be getting B's and A's in class, but to really get better in your language, you have to put in work outside of school. Do extra things. Learn all the vocab for the test, and then some more. Revise your notes from last year. Do all the other things below.
Watch TV and read books
Yes, crashing down on the sofa for a little bit of open-mouthed gazing at the screen CAN be beneficial for learning. Not very, but a bit. Watch TV shows and movies in your language. Find them online with subtitles. This doesn't help you learn a lot, but you may pick up a few words, and get used to the rhythm of the language. Plus, it's fun.
What's better is reading in your chosen language. Read children's books, novels, cartoons, online news articles. If you don't know the word, look it up. (You can do better than Google Translate.) If you're interested in music, read music reviews in the language you're learning. Find something that would interest you in English, and read it in the foreign language.
Languages were meant to be spoken, which can be forgotten when you're forced to learn grammar and phrases for letter writing. The best way to get better in a language is to speak it. Speak more French in class, cause you're stuck there anyways. If you're friends with someone from Spain, than there's no excuse to not have the odd conversation with them in your best broken Spanish. If you're really stuck for someone to talk with, talk to yourself. Also see below for more ways to find people to speak to.
These days, there is a hella amount of resources, mostly free, that you can use and exploit to improve your language learning. Not all may be useful to you, but try some and see if they help.
This website gives free online courses in several different languages, including French, Spanish and German. It's intended to teach from scratch, so if you have been learning for a while, you can take a test when you sign up to place you at a level. This website is simple, and teaches basic things very well. The pace is easy-going and fun, and you can literally learn hundreds and thousands of words with it. (Irish is coming to Duolingo soon!)
Want to learn more vocab, more efficiently? This free handy piece of software acts like virtual flash cards, which are smart enough to know when you need to revise them most, thus enabling you to learn most effectively. You can download free packs of vocab made by others, or you can make your own.
Some schools do pen-pals, but in other schools, students are stuck for contact with actual people who speak the language. With Polyglotclub, you can find people who speak French and want to improve their English. You can then keep in touch via email, Facebook or even Skype for actual conversations. This is a great way for people who want to speak a language, but don't know anyone who speaks it. Always be cautious when dealing with strangers online, inform yourself on internet safety before trying to find a pen-pal.
There are a lot of people out there who are passionate about language learning and share their experiences via blogs. One blog that is highly interesting and encouraging is fluentin3months.com. This Irish blogger has been learning languages for 10 years, and shares his trove of advice on this blog, which can be summed up with his mantra: “Speak from day one!”
Languages are great. They're fun to use and will stand by you no matter where you go. All you have to do is start now. “One language sets you on a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” So go on. Give it a try. Maybe this time next year, you'll be sitting in a bar in Belize, conversing fluently with close friends in Spanish.
To have epilepsy is to have a tendency to have recurring seizures. Anyone can have a seizure, if the brain is exposed to a strong enough stimulus. We know that about 1 in every 20 people will have a single seizure at some time during their lives.
The Prevalence of Epilepsy in Ireland report (2009) found that there are 37,000 people with epilepsy in Ireland over the age of five. That’s 1 in 115 people.
The significance of having a tendency to have seizures will vary from person to person, and will depend on many things; for most people, epilepsy, will only affect them for a short period in their lives. For some, however, the consequences can be more lasting.
In more than half of all cases, no cause can be found. The person with epilepsy is apparently healthy in every respect and there is no underlying illness, disease or damage causing them to have seizures. This kind of epilepsy is sometimes called idiopathic epilepsy. It would seem that some of us just have a greater propensity than others to have seizures.
Sometimes a cause for the epilepsy can be found. Anything that damages or injures the brain can result in epilepsy. Some of the common causes are head injuries, strokes, brain infections e.g. meningitis or encephalitis and birth defects. Other more rare causes are brain tumours and some genetic conditions like tuber sclerosis.
The brain is the control centre for the body. It is made up of millions of neurons or brain cells which are constantly transmitting and receiving messages enabling our bodies to work properly. If some of these brain cells malfunction, for any reason, the messages can become disorganised and a seizure may result.
The type of seizure a person has will depend on where in the brain the malfunction occurs. There are many different kinds of seizures but they are usually divided into two categories - generalised or partial.
If a seizure is generalised it means that the whole brain is affected by the malfunction and the person invariably loses consciousness. Tonic-clonic and Absences are examples of generalised seizures.
If only part of the brain is affected, the person may remain conscious throughout the seizure or their consciousness may be impaired in some way. What the person does or experiences during the seizure will very much depend on what part of the brain is malfunctioning. Sometimes a partial seizure is called a focal seizure.
What is a tonic-clonic seizure?
A Tonic-Clonic seizure is a major convulsive seizure. It is what most people think of when they think of epilepsy and used to be called "grand-mal".
The whole brain suddenly malfunctions and the person loses consciousness immediately and falls to the ground. Sometimes the person may appear to cry out as he or she falls to the ground. This noise is caused by air being forcefully expelled from the lungs. The body stiffens briefly, (the tonic phase) and then starts jerking (the clonic phase). Breathing may be shallow and even stop for a few moments causing the skin to turn a bluish colour. Saliva may gather in the mouth and, occasionally, bladder or bowel control may be lost.
The jerking movements slow down and the seizure usually ends naturally after a few minutes. On returning to consciousness, the person may feel confused and sleepy but many people are able to resume their normal activities after resting for a short while.
What is an absence?
An absence is another type of generalised seizure. It looks like a short staring spell that lasts for a few seconds. This type of seizure is most often seen in children.
The child is momentarily completely unaware of what is going on around him or her, but very quickly, returns to full consciousness without falling or loss of muscle control. Some children will stumble and fall if they have this kind of seizure while running around at play.
These seizures happen so quickly that they can go unnoticed for some time. Often parents and teachers think that the child is just being inattentive or is daydreaming. Because of this and because absences can occur very frequently, sometimes many times a day, they can adversely affect a child's learning. Once detected, they are usually quite easily treated.
Yes is the short answer, just as it would be for asthma, diabetes and many other conditions often assumed to be 'benign'. In fact, there are approximately 130 epilepsy deaths in Ireland each year. Drowning, head injury and road traffic accidents account for many of these deaths. Likewise, status epilepticus, which is a prolonged seizure or series of seizures from which the person does not recover consciousness, cerebrovascular diseases and chest infections are also common causes of death. Suicide too is 2-3 times higher with epilepsy than the rest of the population.
All of the above deaths together account for around 50% of epilepsy deaths. They would be greatly reduced if the seizures of the people dying in these ways were fully eliminated. This is also true for the biggest single cause of epilepsy deaths, which accounts for at least half of them. It is sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).
These premature deaths of otherwise healthy people with epilepsy have no obvious explanation. Usually, the person is found dead without any warning and routine autopsy fails to establish the cause of death. It must be stressed that SUDEP is a non-traumatic death for the person with epilepsy but the effect on his or her loved ones can be devastating.
Good self-care can significantly reduce risks of SUDEP in those with established epilepsy. This means:
Can certain things cause a seizure to start?
For most people there is no single thing that triggers a seizure - it just happens. However, seizures may happen more often if a person gets very tired or hungry or forgets to take their medication. Commonly, people find that alcohol or getting over-stressed can bring on a seizure but no two people are alike and what affects one may have no affect on another.
About 3-5% of people who have epilepsy are photosensitive and may have a seizure in response to flickering lights e.g. strobe lights, or even the flickering of sunlight through trees.
In most cases, the family doctor will refer someone who is having seizures to a specialist for examination. To make the diagnosis of epilepsy, the doctor will need a careful medical history and as much information about what happened when the person had the seizure and what it looked like. A good eyewitness account is very important.
Usually, the person will be asked to undergo an Electroencephalogram (EEG). Sensors attached to the scalp can record the electrical activity in the brain, which can help the doctor decide whether or not the person has epilepsy.
If epilepsy is diagnosed, it is usually treated by a daily drug regime.
Some children who have certain types of epilepsy can grow out of the tendency to have seizures altogether.
Recent research has shown that, in many cases, once a person has been free of seizures for a few years, the epilepsy medication may be withdrawn, slowly, by the doctor and there is an excellent chance of the person remaining seizure free, without medication.
For some people, taking the medication is something that will have to be continued for many years and for some, existing medications do not completely control their seizures. Newer medications, which have recently appeared on the market, will hopefully, help to reduce this number.
For those who do not respond to the medication, surgery may be an option. If the abnormal activity causing the seizures is limited to a small area of the brain in the temporal lobe, it may be possible to eliminate or control the seizures by removing part of the brain in an operation called a temporal lobectomy.
Anyone being considered for surgical treatment will have to undergo a long series of investigations, which can take a considerable length of time. These will usually include long-term EEG recordings (including a stay in hospital), psychological assessment and brain scans.
Yes, provided the person has been free of seizures for one year and is certified fit to drive by a doctor.
Thanks to Epilepsy Ireland for providing content.
Remember that the age of sexual consent in the republic of Ireland is 17 and the age of sexual consent in Northern Ireland is 16.
When it comes to sex and relationships, many people drink to give themselves confidence to approach potential partners or to decrease their sexual inhibitions. A moderate amount of alcohol can indeed make it easier to chat to guys/gals. It even increases sex drive in many people. However, it’s not all good news. Large amounts of alcohol can seriously wreck your buzz, particularly your sexual buzz.
As with most things in life, alcohol is best consumed in moderation. Taken to excess, alcohol can seriously wreck your sex life. Remember that it is illegal to buy alcohol or supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 18.
We’ve got the good, the bad and the ugly on alcohol and sex.
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence means feeling good about yourself, believing in your abilities and believing that other people value you. It’s doesn’t mean boasting about how good you are at something. YOU have to believe in your own value rather than relying on impressing others.
Do you need a confidence boost?
If you said yes to some of the above questions, then it’s time to work on improving your confidence.
Improve your confidence:
What is meditation?
By definition, meditation refers to any form of practice where a person trains their mind to focus and to enter a deep sense of relaxation and concentration. When a person meditates, the mind is said to be relaxed, yet focused, at the same time.
Meditation has been around since ancient times and there is even evidence of it in hunter gatherer societies. It has also long been a part of religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism.
Meditation started to gain popularity in the West in the 60s and has been popular in western society ever since. Many people associate meditation with monks and monasteries, and some people do indeed practice it as part of their religion, but in the western world, it is more often used for stress reduction and relaxation in a secular (non-religious) way.
In term of religious meditation, it is practiced as part of various religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and even Catholicism. Apparently, Padre Pio was a big believer in Christian meditation!
There are different types of meditation such as transcendental meditation and mindfulness.
The chief aim of meditation is to focus the mind and to drown out internal chatter, worries and wandering thoughts. Our mind is constantly active and thinking, so meditation aims to quiet it for a bit. This clearing out of the mind seems to help with stress relief.
Why bother with it?
There are tons of benefits to meditation:
How to do it?
How to learn it
If you would like to perfect your technique, there are several courses and classes available nationwide.