“I’m so tired” is one of the most common things you’ll hear on any university campus. But people with autoimmune conditions, like myself, can have an even more unstable relationship with fatigue.
Although Hashimoto’s Disease is a common condition and even my mother who was diagnosed after me has her hormone levels under control, I still struggle with many of the symptoms and my doctor continues to increase my hormone dosage.
After spending all of last year studying at home, moving to London and becoming an LSE student has felt surreal. I’ve been trying to take advantage of as many opportunities again during my short time as a General Course student. It is easy to get carried away and push your body to the limit when you are excited about exploring the city, attending events, or reading for your classes. However, it didn’t take me long to realise that I needed to slow down. No matter how much I slept I constantly felt tired, I got frequent headaches that bordered on migraines, and I struggled to concentrate on readings and discussions. It can be frustrating to cancel plans or feel like you’re missing out on exploring London by staying in, but putting your health first is always the best decision in both the short and long term.
Studying at university with an autoimmune disease has taught me to respect my limits more and take better care of myself. The key to enjoying the full year of studying abroad at LSE is building healthy habits that can take some of the stress away and can offer your body a break. I promised myself that I would start getting ready for bed at 11pm and try to get eight hours of sleep even when procrastinated papers are breathing down my neck. I am also learning how to ask for help when I need it instead of simply trying to deal with everything myself and stressing about sleeping when I should be studying. When I realised I couldn’t concentrate in class and that readings took me much longer than they should, I decided to make an appointment with an adviser from the Disability and Wellbeing Service.
…putting your health first is always the best decision in both the short and long term.
LSE is undeniably a rigorous university and London is a busy city, and struggling with an autoimmune disease can be frustrating when your body is not keeping up with all the things you want to do. I tried overlooking the constant yawning and the pressure on my temples, but ultimately my body persisted and I had to change how I managed my days and reorder my priorities. Finding a healthy rhythm will take more than just going to bed earlier or talking to someone about my failures to concentrate, but everyone has to start somewhere.