Any M.E/CFS sufferers have revision tips?

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username1339127
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#1
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#1
My boyfriend suffers from M.E (otherwise know as chronic fatigue syndrome). As a result he is often run down after school and finds it hard to concentrate.

This is problematic with revision as he tends to overdo it and get ill but feels if he doesn't work all day then he takes nothing in. I have suggested he limit it to 1 hr after school and 3 hrs on weekend days but he says this simply won't be enough- his productivity is low but I am worried for his health.

Last year he was a bit of a wreck by AS exams and I think it affected his results, he is quite proud and doesn't like to make allowances but I am one of very few people he will take advice from.

Does anybody else suffer from M.E and have any tips, or does anybody have any advice?
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GoingToBurst
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#2
Report 8 years ago
#2
I suffered from ME from the ages of 14-18, and overdoing it (exactly like your boyfriend, I wouldn't take advice from anyone about cutting down) ended up making me 10x as bad and I had to be pulled out of school on medical grounds. I ended up missing all of my crucial exams after trying to force myself through my standard grades and then had to take an obscure route to finally get into uni when I had recovered. My advice would be to take it easy, revise little and often and avoid exerting yourself. Eating very clean foods also made a slight difference, so if he doesn't already have a healthy diet, then maybe suggest that. Unfortunately, there isn't really much he can do except ride it out. It's an awful, frustrating and painful experience, but I promise it gets better.
Don't let him believe that these exams are the be all and end all of his life. Let him know that there are other routes if university is his end goal, but he has to be healthy again before that can happen. Now that I'm finally at uni, I know I certainly wouldn't be able to cope if I was still suffering with ME, so although people look at me funny when I tell them I'm 20 and in first year, I'm entirely grateful that I was given the chance to recover before attending uni.

Sorry that was a bit long and babbly!
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username1140710
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#3
Report 8 years ago
#3
I'm not diagnosed with CFS but because of spinal conditions, I get fatigue and pain 24/7. It's hard for me as well.

I would tell him to take it easy. I feel like I don't retain information if I only do a little, so when I get tired I tend to listen to podcasts on YouTube if its something like science. So you're not pushing yourself but you are still learning. I don't know, there's not much you can do if he's pushing himself too hard but to take the textbook off of him!


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username1339127
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#4
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#4
(Original post by GoingToBurst)
I suffered from ME from the ages of 14-18, and overdoing it (exactly like your boyfriend, I wouldn't take advice from anyone about cutting down) ended up making me 10x as bad and I had to be pulled out of school on medical grounds. I ended up missing all of my crucial exams after trying to force myself through my standard grades and then had to take an obscure route to finally get into uni when I had recovered. My advice would be to take it easy, revise little and often and avoid exerting yourself. Eating very clean foods also made a slight difference, so if he doesn't already have a healthy diet, then maybe suggest that. Unfortunately, there isn't really much he can do except ride it out. It's an awful, frustrating and painful experience, but I promise it gets better.
Don't let him believe that these exams are the be all and end all of his life. Let him know that there are other routes if university is his end goal, but he has to be healthy again before that can happen. Now that I'm finally at uni, I know I certainly wouldn't be able to cope if I was still suffering with ME, so although people look at me funny when I tell them I'm 20 and in first year, I'm entirely grateful that I was given the chance to recover before attending uni.

Sorry that was a bit long and babbly!
Thanks so much for responding, since we've been together his diet has got much better, I'm not a control freak but I suggested using refined sugar as energy probably wasn't the best idea and it has helped.
Unfortunately he wants to do medicine at uni, he is taking the biomed route to lessen the pressure and has had a nice low offer from his first choice! I'll certainly show him what you've said so he knows its not just me being a nag
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username1339127
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#5
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#5
(Original post by lyseden)
I'm not diagnosed with CFS but because of spinal conditions, I get fatigue and pain 24/7. It's hard for me as well.

I would tell him to take it easy. I feel like I don't retain information if I only do a little, so when I get tired I tend to listen to podcasts on YouTube if its something like science. So you're not pushing yourself but you are still learning. I don't know, there's not much you can do if he's pushing himself too hard but to take the textbook off of him!


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Thanks for the podcasts advice! He loves audio books so this could possibly be a good way for him to learn a bit more passively at the end of a hard day! Will definitely suggest that
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GoingToBurst
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#6
Report 8 years ago
#6
(Original post by Starrydog)
Thanks so much for responding, since we've been together his diet has got much better, I'm not a control freak but I suggested using refined sugar as energy probably wasn't the best idea and it has helped.
Unfortunately he wants to do medicine at uni, he is taking the biomed route to lessen the pressure and has had a nice low offer from his first choice! I'll certainly show him what you've said so he knows its not just me being a nag
That's great that he's had an achievable offer, but if his ME is bad enough that he's struggling now, he really needs to consider deferring for a year to focus on his health. Uni is intense, especially for the medics.
I know he probably won't want to defer, he won't want to admit there is something wrong or that he can't quite cope, but honestly it's the best thing to do if he's already struggling. No one will think any less of him if he does defer, I always thought people would look down on me for not going to uni when "it was expected" but people have had nothing but praise and respect for me when they find out my story.

I really hope he can beat ME soon though, it's a horrible thing to suffer. You're a great person for being there to support him .
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username1339127
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#7
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#7
(Original post by GoingToBurst)
That's great that he's had an achievable offer, but if his ME is bad enough that he's struggling now, he really needs to consider deferring for a year to focus on his health. Uni is intense, especially for the medics.
I know he probably won't want to defer, he won't want to admit there is something wrong or that he can't quite cope, but honestly it's the best thing to do if he's already struggling. No one will think any less of him if he does defer, I always thought people would look down on me for not going to uni when "it was expected" but people have had nothing but praise and respect for me when they find out my story.

I really hope he can beat ME soon though, it's a horrible thing to suffer. You're a great person for being there to support him .
He picked Biomed for that reason, a more relaxed course. He feels the style of learning at university will be more suited to him as you have more independent time so less pressure to have busy day go home revise etc
I do worry he may be overly social and exhaust himself

There is the option for him to pull out if it is just too much, which I think he could be persuaded to do if it was obviously making him ill. What are your opinions on the uni study timetable? Is it easier to work with then A levels?

I was under the impression that everybody's M.E reached a stage where it no longer progressed further towards recovery, am i wrong there?
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lestrangegirl98
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#8
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#8
I have chronic fatigue syndrome and have had it since I was 6 I'm 15 I find it hard to remember things if he takes it easy and study's a little with breaks and rest it will make it easier and also when he is having a bad day do much as it makes it worse and on a good day don't over do it other wise he will feel worse the day after


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soundslikeapain
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#9
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#9
I have had M.E for about 4.5 years now and am currently trying to revise for exams coming up but am finding it incredibly difficult. One of the main things impacting me is the anxiety surrounding being unable to revise and not doing as well as i know i could have if ME wasn't a factor. I think a way of combatting this, that isn't always possible, but probably helpful is, when taking rest breaks, try to completely relax. No thinking about what needs to be done otherwise that will use up energy as well. I also find making a plan of exactly what work I'm going to do is helpful, so i don't need to expend energy on deciding what to do. Honestly it is a horrible and stressful experience that i have yet to get through myself. I hope he reaches a point where he is more able to do things and I hope he does well in exams. sometimes it just isn't possible to revise or work and (being an absolute hypocrite here) that's okay, nobody can ask you to do more than you're physically or mentally capable of doing.
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seo.kim
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#10
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#10
(Original post by soundslikeapain)
I have had M.E for about 4.5 years now and am currently trying to revise for exams coming up but am finding it incredibly difficult. One of the main things impacting me is the anxiety surrounding being unable to revise and not doing as well as i know i could have if ME wasn't a factor. I think a way of combatting this, that isn't always possible, but probably helpful is, when taking rest breaks, try to completely relax. No thinking about what needs to be done otherwise that will use up energy as well. I also find making a plan of exactly what work I'm going to do is helpful, so i don't need to expend energy on deciding what to do. Honestly it is a horrible and stressful experience that i have yet to get through myself. I hope he reaches a point where he is more able to do things and I hope he does well in exams. sometimes it just isn't possible to revise or work and (being an absolute hypocrite here) that's okay, nobody can ask you to do more than you're physically or mentally capable of doing.
Good luck with your revision, from a fellow exam student with M.E. Taking exams with a sickness is another experience altogether, and I can truly relate to the anxiety around revision and not being able to do what you could do without the condition.

I had to prioritise rest over studying most of this year and now that it's exam season and feeling very unprepared compared to my ideal, and I couldn't help but feel regretful even though this was all I could manage to do this year. 
I try to focus on the fact that us M.E and other chronically ill students are doing our utter best! If I didn't take that rest throughout the year I might have been too sick to even sit exams this summer. Denying to myself that rest and pacing is vital, not an optional indulgence, for M.E made it so much worse for so long.

I also hope you do well in your exams, and you can feel a sense of achievement for all you're getting through.
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