Friday, January 19, 2007

Some moaning

After weeks of illness and months of not being well with the fibromyalgia, I emailed my university department today to say I'm not able to take exams at the moment.

I've missed so much work and I was planning on catching up over Christmas so I could sit the exams . But I've been ill, and I haven't done it. I'm much less tired now, although still coughing and continuous sore throat. But it's too late.

I'll have to take the exams in August. Which is okay, I guess.

I do have several issues though.

Firstly, I need to get a doctor's note to give to my department (who already have confirmation of my illness). This involves going to my doctor, which I hate doing. Last time they charged me £10 too, which truly sucks. Also there is no way for the doc to know what I'm experiencing, they can't measure my pain or tiredness or concentration problems in any way. So all they do is tell the uni what I've told them. I might as well tell the uni myself, it would be £10 cheaper.

Secondly, a more long-term problem. What if I can't do this whole uni thing? What if I'm always going to be missing lectures and lacking the motivation or energy to even start assignments (the last one I didn't even look up the title of the essay), and too underprepared and tired to do exams? It's the only thing I want to do besides sing. And a singing career is not going to happen.

I can see myself dropping out and spending my days doing nothing. Or getting a job which I hate and ending up on sick leave for months at a time. Or fighting with the government to get Incapacity Benefit or Disability Living Allowance or whatever. Never achieving anything. And that scares me.

It's so frustrating because I know I'm capable of so much. When my brain works, it works very well. I perform very well academically when I'm not feeling ill. I'm creative. I can problem-solve. I can hold vast amounts of information in my head and actually apply it. I'd be a great researcher, I'm a born scientist and I could make a contribution to psychology. I also have the ability to become a good musician.

But more often than not, for days or weeks or months at a time, I can't do any of that. I usually describe it as being "tired" - "I'm tired" is my most used phrase in general conversation - but it's much more than that. It's like being drained, and the fluid replaced with thick sludge. My body actually feels heavier, my eyes feel like balls of lead and they hurt when I move them. Even simple tasks like walking upstairs require a Herculean effort. Sitting down hurts my knees, standing up hurts my legs and back, lying down hurts my back and neck. In general, everything hurts - a dull ache like having your muscles squeezed past the point of discomfort. I have the attention span of a goldfish, I can't motivate myself to start anything and if I do start I abandon it once the energy of the initial enthusiasm has worn off. I take hours to fall asleep, then I wake up many times in the night and wake in the morning (or afternoon) feeling as tired as when I went to bed.
It's like Buy One, Get One Free tiredness.

I'm really not trying to elicit sympathy, just trying to explain. And I felt like a moan.


  1. It sounds like you have got loads of really positive things going for you. Maybe you need to put Uni on hold for a while, get fit and well and do something different. Something that you really want to do!

  2. I agree Anna, if Uni was that much of a priority you would make yourself well enough to do it.

    Just enjoy doing the things you can do for now, uni will still be there!


  3. Moan away!!!! Chronic illness can make everything seem horrible.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  4. what if you was able to find a job, ok start at the bottom, that incorporated what you are good at?

  5. Thanks everyone.

    The trouble is, if I'm not studying, what can I do?

    I couldn't manage to work at the moment. At uni if I'm ill and miss a day it's no big deal and I can catch up later. If I was working I'd be under pressure to be there every day, and I'd run into problems if I kept having time off. There's no way I could do 5 full days.

    And I can't think of a job I'd like to do that doesn't involve me having a degree.

    I don't want to take time off from uni, because I don't think it's fair to ask Michael to support me for any longer than necessary.

    It's not an easy situation to think myself out of.