Struggling to finish school, any advice?

Oberon

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Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
18
I’m trying so hard to graduate and get my degree (undergrad BA) but my pain and I just don’t work well with the expected college student life. I struggle to get to campus every day and sit in their uncomfortable little chairs and work at my computer for hours. I’m too tired out from being at school to do all the homework and reading once I get home.

Recently my brain fog has gotten worse, I’m trying Lyrica and going up to 225 mg seems to be too high for me. The brain fog and confusion and lack of coordination has become too much to deal with. I’m going back down to 200 tomorrow and meeting with my doctor soon but in the meantime I’m trying to write my thesis but there’s absolutely nothing in my brain. I’m realizing now that I should have waited to try Lyrica until after I finished this semester (I only have a couple weeks left) but I thought it would help not harm and I was too excited by the prospect of having less pain to think through the consequences. Anyway, now I have to deal with worse brain fog on top of my other issues. Getting through all my schoolwork is getting increasingly difficult and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has struggled through this.

Does anyone have any advice for getting through college with fibro?
 

Charz

Active member
Joined
Dec 21, 2019
Messages
43
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
03/1980
Country
US
Don't compare yourself to others. Figure out what you absolutely need to take to graduate. Then make a plan. Some classes are only in Fall or Spring so keep that in mind. Maybe take 2 classes a semester - 1 online and 1 in class. You can do it! But you must do it YOUR WAY! No one elses.
 

JayCS

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Sep 5, 2020
Messages
1,630
Reason
DX FIBRO
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02/2020
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GE
Anyway, now I have to deal with worse brain fog on top of my other issues.
Oberon, how are you getting on now? Not knowing how we'll react to meds we - esp. at the beginning - have more hope than is warranted that the main effect will be better than the side effects are bad.
My conclusion became: Brain with pain is better than no brain with no pain. For better self-care. Even more so if I had to think more.
So my suggestion now would be to wean off the Lyrica as quick as is possible, if it's doing more harm than good.
Praps trying more supps instead, as there is less risk of harm from them, and you can get off them quicker if necessary.
 

SeaPhoenix

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Mar 10, 2022
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8
Hey Oberon,

I'm also finishing my undergrad BA set to graduate in two weeks. It sounds like, if you're working on your thesis, you're at the finish line, so it may be important to start gearing towards a career path that is accomodating and flexible with your fibro, as I am trying to figure out now. Since you're asking about advice for school, I will offer that here rather.

Fibro hit when I was in my 3rd semester of college so I took two semesters off before coming back and switching majors out of engineering, a field that was in my opinion too demanding with stress and thus wasn't sustainable in function with fibro. I finished the minor in computer engineering but I switched to business (Finance). Once coming back to school I was full time, taking 4 classes per semester, for 3/4 semesters. About the same time covid hit I went down to part time and have done 3/2 (even 1) class per semester. This also worked out considering the classes I took part time where higher level classes that were more difficult. Throughout my college career I think I took 4 / 5ish incompletes, whereby I didn't manage the class in one semester, and asked the teaching professor If I could start it over next semester or continue where I left of. In one case I finished the class just needed more time finishing the final project. My university's policy is quite strict on incompletes and they are stated as only for medical purposes i.e. serious injuries, so getting incompletes for fibro, a pre-existing condition that didn't occur in the middle of the semesters when I took incompletes, was a little tricky. Esp. considering how fibro is still not seen as a very palpable condition unfortunately - AND I don't have a formal fibro diagnosis. But the professors have final say, and I found just explaining the situation to them and talking it out convincing them was enough. In one case, I met with the professor a few weeks before the class started and explained that I had this condition to start on the right footing, and it was indeed helpful because she was more flexible with me with deadlines and gave me the incomplete to hand in the final after the class was over. If you need it, I do recommend looking into incompletes.

That's the overview of how I handled college with fibro overall, but inbetween I also picked up lots of coping mechanisms and methods. Covid-19 made virtual class very manageable, and although I still opted to go in person to classes as much as I could, I would take class virtually whenever I was in a pain flare-up (The classes were hybrid in person and virtually telecast). As others have mentioned, don't compare yourself to others. It's really easy to but even taking 1 class a semester is an achievement with fibro.

For the brain fog, I would recommend a number of things. First, sleep well and get in a steady good routine. Second, eat well and adopt healthy staples. For a long time green tea was a strong staple of mine, providing just enough caffeine to get me going but not too much to cause more tension and pain. I've recently switched to hot cacao with a touch of high-quality coffee grind that doesn't seem to be causing more tension. At one time I was taking wellbutrin, which can help with fibro fog by pushing the dopamine system to deliver. I don't anymore but I recently started vaping with nicotine, which could have a similar effect. What was really notable for me was stimulants; years ago I tried some that interfered with sleep and didnt help much but I found one that has worked well and I've been taking on a low dose for two years now (concerta). Note that I have ADHD diagnosed since way before fibro so. Try meditating as well, although I know it can be hard to make it a common practice.

I've been where you are where you think that delaying one more semester would have been better, to deal with and try to better manage pain symptoms. But I've also found that not having a purpose, responsabilities and a schedule to abide by in my daily life can be quite detrimental to mental health at least in my case. Too much of course can also be bad, but I think the best way to manage is a steady pace if reduced, rather than taking entire semesters off college because of normal fibro developments (without new or complicating developments).

Hope this helps.
 

JayCS

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Joined
Sep 5, 2020
Messages
1,630
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
02/2020
Country
GE
ADHD diagnosed since way before fibro so. Try meditating as well
I haven't formally got ADHD, altho my wife likes to 'diagnose' it.
But when my brain is hypering = chattering, guided Yoga Nidra gives me something to 'hold on to'...
 
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