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Employment Help for People with Epilepsy

February 29, 2024

By Amber Kaiser

I think most of us can relate to each other with the stress, uncertainty, competition and challenges of the job search world in some way. Whether you’ve only ever experienced applying and interviewing at the beginning of your career, or you’ve ridden the rollercoaster countless times between jobs throughout your life, the job landing experience is often highly stressful and always changing.

When you are in the midst of the process, and especially after going through it multiple times in your life, you learn that getting a valuable, good fitting job is a competitive job in itself and you really have to learn how to market yourself. For people with epilepsy and other disabilities who are able to work, it can be especially challenging to not only finally get an opportunity, but to find something that’s also a good fit for you. 

Although I had a few great job opportunities early in my career, I’ve also experienced the ups and downs of the reality of an unsteady career. Here are my tips on helping anyone who has epilepsy and other work limitations while trying to get a job. It can take time and a lot of trial and error which is the tough part especially if you don’t have a support system, but one thing to remember is that no matter what, the right job for you will happen eventually.

Reach out to your state Vocational Rehabilitation services

The first thing I recommend is contacting your local Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services. Although it was very hard for me to accept at the time, something I wished I had learned about when I started actively searching for jobs after my brain surgery, was the fact that there are actually employment services available who help people with disabilities. Even living with epilepsy for most of my life and all I had achieved early in my career despite the challenges of having seizures regularly, I had a difficult time being open to the term “disability.” I learned later in my life and career that it is okay to be open to the concept and searching and competing for a job is often hard enough for anyone and even more so for people with disabilities.

VR services is a government job support program available throughout the U.S. in every state and they can connect you with the resources in your city. If you enter a VR program, in addition to their help finding job opportunities that can adhere to your “reasonable accommodations,” you can also continue your own searching while regularly connecting with an agent assigned to you who can help with keeping you motivated and hopeful, especially if you are going through multiple interviews and opportunities and haven’t found the right fit yet.

Connect with Epilepsy Foundation and Epilepsy Alliance America employment help

Both Epilepsy Foundation and Epilepsy Alliance America have job support services. You may also consider calling the Epilepsy Foundation free, 24/7 support number at 1-800-332-1000 to ask them for any resources of employment services in your area.

Job search and interview tips

Just like technology is always changing, the job search world is forever changing along with it. A resume format that worked a few years ago may not be the best to use today and the interview questions or interview style that was labeled as “common” may no longer be used. Being open and flexible to job search changes can really help you feel more comfortable when interviewing. Depending on the situation and circumstances, if you have an interview with a business through VR services, you may also feel more comfortable and have the opportunity to share your challenges up front if appropriate.

Stay open and practice keeping your stress levels low

Especially for people with disabilities, not every job is going to be a good fit, which makes it even more stressful for people who are still having to search while going through the time and effort of learning the new job to realize that it isn’t working for them. It can be very frustrating especially if you are needing something steady and you can’t afford to continue switching between jobs. My biggest advice here is to try your best to get comfortable where you are at and slowly begin your next search with help from VR services in your area.

Also, if you are starting to have seizures again, or are experiencing more seizures from the stress of the job search or a new job, here are some tips to help you take care of yourself after the seizures, including simple meditation and breathing techniques to relieve stress. The most important thing to remember is to ask for help from people you feel comfortable with asking, get your sleep, take your mind off the job search whenever you can and stay in the present–practice taking things one moment, one day at a time. There is a quote from Oprah Winfrey that I learned years ago and remind myself whenever I remember: Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. That’s really all we can do. You got this!

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