Self-Help

The most important thing is to take time to heal. Give both your body and mind a chance to come to terms with your condition. Remember good mental health is just as important as good physical health. There are many ways that we can help ourselves to keep well. It is important for everyone to have a healthy body and mind.

Mindfulness is a great tool to make you aware and manage your symptoms. Learn how to recognise warning signs, if there are any. Below are some tips to get you started. You know your own condition better than anyone else.

Self-Help

Recognise early-warning signs

It is important to know your triggers. What makes your symptoms
worse and what can I do to help my condition. Try to understand your
condition, the more you know about FND the better equipped you will be to manage your symptoms. Learning your triggers especially if you have Functional Seizures will help you to control them rather than them controlling you. Unfortunately some people do not have triggers and symptoms/seizures seem to happen for no reason at all. There are many ways and things you can do to identify your triggers. Keeping a seizure diary is very useful, making notes such as, when did it happen? What was happening in your life? Were you watching TV, chatting with friends or listening to music? What was your
feelings/emotions at the time.
Recognising your triggers helps you to take back control of the situation. Remember you know your own body best. Don’t rush your recovery, take your time and listen to your body, this will help towards management and improvement of your symptoms.

Exercise

Exercise has a range of benefits to your health, both physical and psychological. Exercise is a great, simple way of dealing with anxiety as well as increasing your energy levels, improving blood circulation and overall improving your concentration, self esteem and confidence. The thought of exercise for some can be daunting especially if you are struggling with loss of mobility and/or pain but there are many ways to
exercise such as gentle walking, yoga and even from your armchair. Try
to aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise three times per week. These 20-30
minutes does not need to be done at once. Start with 5 minutes and
work your way up. It is important to be realistic on what exercise you can do, and don’t push yourself too hard, listen to your body and go at your pace. Slow gradual exercise may actually ease the pain.

Diet

A good balanced diet is important to boost our overall health and provide us with the correct nutrients our body needs, helping us to maintain good physical and mental health. Eating a varied diet is important, making sure you have a balance of fruit, vegetables and
pulses. Being overweight can put a lot of pressure on your lower limbs making walking even more difficult than what it already is. Reducing your intake of caffeine will help especially if you suffer from headaches and migraines. Because caffeine is a stimulant it can have many side effects such as rapid heartbeat, restlessness, insomnia, distracted
thoughts, agitation, light headedness, diarrhoea and mood swings. It is
recommended that we limit our intake to around 2-3 cups of coffee per day. Everything in balance will lead to a healthier you. A healthy diet is about having a balanced intake of the correct minerals and vitamins. It is also important to keep your brain and body hydrated, so drinking plenty of water is crucial.

Rest Well

Try not to exceed your limitations, Psychologists use the term boom
and bust. It is easy to do too much when you feel you have extra energy, this is the Boom. Yet after this comes the Bust, when you experience total exhaustion because you have exceeded your
limitation. Remember pace yourself, a little at a time keeps you well.

Sleep Well

Try to establish a good sleep routine, lack of sleep impacts on our ability to function and may even increase pain levels. Sleep is our bodies natural response to rejuvenation. Developing a night time routine alerts our mind and body that it is time to sleep. Hopefully
resulting in a good night’s restful sleep. Some things that may help are:
Having a bath before bed may relax the body. Avoid drinks with caffeine, substitute them for a warm milky drink or chamomile/camomile tea.
Don’t be tempted to use your phone or watch TV, this only stimulates
the brain. Try to relax and put all thoughts of the day out of your mind.
Sleeping during the day can disturb your night time sleep, this can be difficult especially if you suffer from chronic fatigue. Try to rest rather than sleep. It may take time to establish a good sleep pattern but it will be worth it.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is an exercise of placing us in the here and now. It is the
practice of paying attention and concentrating on the present moment,
either outside or inside us. It is of being present in our own lives instead of living life on automatic pilot. Increasing our awareness of our surroundings and emotions increases our coping mechanisms. Concentrating on the present moment helps us not to worry about the past or future.

A Simple Exercise

Think about the present moment, listen to the sounds around you, become aware of your environment. What can you see, hear, feel.

Be aware of your breathing, each breath in and each breath out.
Totally relax and stay with your feelings and surroundings, let your mind be totally aware of the here and now.

Mindfulness takes practice but by taking time to do this each day helps you to become in control of your situation as well as helping you to manage your condition/symptoms.

Useful Local Contacts

Age NI is the leading charity in Northern Ireland dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life, through advice and advocacy, care and wellbeing and companionship and support.
https://www.ageni.org/

The Aware NI website provides support for those with mental health conditions. They deliver well-being programmes into communities, schools, colleges, universities and workplaces.
https://aware-ni.org/

Carers NI help to make life better for carers through expert advice and support.
https://www.carersuk.org/northernireland

The children’s law Centre works to protect the rights of all children living in Northern Ireland particularly those who are at the most disadvantaged, e.g. children with disabilities, special educational needs, mental ill health, and homeless young people. They provide free legal advice and representation for all children and young people.
https://childrenslawcentre.org.uk

Cruse bereavement support offers help and support for all types of bereavement, for adults, children and young people in Northern Ireland.
https://www.cruse.org.uk/get-support

Disability action supports and advises those with physical, mental,
sensory, learning and hidden disabilities.
https://www.disabilityaction.org

The Education Authority for Northern Ireland is responsible for
ensuring that efficient and effective primary and secondary education services are available to meet the needs of children and young people. They also provide information and guidance for parents, carers and schools to support improved outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs.
https://www.eani.org.uk

Lifeline is the Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for
people who are experiencing distress or despair, no matter what your age.
https://www.lifelinehelpline.info

Make the call service makes sure you are getting all the benefits,
services and supports your entitled to.
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/make-call-service

Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people can investigate complaints made by children and young people or those who care for them about the actions of relevant authorities.
https://www.niccy.org

The NI Direct website provides information from different
government departments, such as employment, benefits, health and well-being, the law, pensions, housing, individual rights, parent advice, transport, disabilities, education, carers, healthy eating, exercise and much more.
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/

NSPCC provides services across Northern Ireland to help give children and young people support the need to thrive.
https://www.nspcc.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/northern-ireland/

Parenting NI is the leading charity for parenting support in Northern Ireland, providing free support and advice, parenting programmes, advocacy and employee wellbeing seminars.
https://www.parentingni.org

Patient and Client council is your voice on health and social care
issues.
https://pcc-ni.net

The public health agency (PHA) is the major regional organisation for health and social wellbeing improvement in Northern Ireland. They are committed to addressing the causes and associated inequalities of preventable ill health and lack of well-being.
https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/

Speech and language therapists provide assessment, diagnosis,
treatment and support for children and adults of all ages who have difficulties with speech, language, communication, eating, drinking and swallowing. This service can be accessed either through your GP or through self referral.

https://southerntrust.hscni.net/service/speech-and-language-therapy

https://setrust.hscni.net/service/speech-and-language-therapy/

Speech and Language Therapy – Northern Health and Social Care Trust (hscni.net)

Speech and Language Therapy – Childrens | Western Health & Social Care Trust (hscni.net)

https://belfasttrust.hscni.net/service/speech-and-language-therapy/

Versus arthritis gives advice and support around pain and
management, it has a great section on fibromyalgia, the causes,
symptoms and treatment.
https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/fibromyalgia