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Thread: The balance between doing and resting

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2013

    The balance between doing and resting

    This hot weather is getting to me. I don't regulate my body temperature properly and tend to pass out in the heat, so doing anything at the moment is very difficult. I find hot weather exhausting at the best of times.

    Unfortunately, I'm very much at the sharp end of some academic deadlines, and the last thing I need is lost time when I should be getting on. As I'm prone to do, I've probably pushed too hard and am paying the price right now. I'm struggling to focus on simple things, so the complex House of Lords judgment in the window next to this one on my computer desktop might as well be in Martian.

    My muscle spasm level has shot up and my pain levels are so high that I'm fighting back the urge to scream with every movement. I'm so weary that I'm close to collapsing, I nearly did collapse when I went to the loo a few minutes ago. Just to add to my sense that today isn't going too well, I peed all over myself and had to clear up the mess.

    I'm tempted to feel that my difficulties in meeting deadlines and the work that remains undone is my fault - but I've given it everything I've got (I post here when I'm not in a state to do anything more demanding, by the way). I do my best to plan the workload, but it's very difficult when my health is so unpredictable.

    One of my unfortunate personality traits is that I set myself very high standards. I'm probably best described as a recovering perfectionist and am very hard on myself when I feel I'm falling short. In my most tired moments, I'm tempted to feel like the worst law student ever. The crazy part of this is that I am certain those around my love me for who I am, not what I can or can't do.

    I expect many of us can identify with apologising for the limitations that disability or ill health places on us. I'm really embarrassed at the situation I'm in, and feel I've let people down. If I had the strength, I'd have a jolly good cry.

    I'm not holding on to the negative thoughts in all this. I know they are just the exhaustion speaking, coupled with my frustration that it is my health holding me back and not my motivation or my ability. When I feel more rested, I'm my usual optimistic self - if I wasn't, I'd get help as there's no shame in being depressed and no point suffering when there is help available. This is not depression - I'm just desperately weary and under stress, trying to summon up my strength for the work that needs doing and finding the tank is empty.

    I've probably spent too much time behind my desk recently, which leads to an unhelpful loss of perspective. I haven't been out for nearly three weeks other than a few snatched moments in the garden.

    I know what I should do: take the extra muscle relaxants and morphine to quieten down the spasm and pain. That will mean I'm too sedated to think at all, leaving me with no alternative to going to bed. It's so hard to take these decisions which will remove any chance of getting anything done this afternoon. I realise it's likely a case of "speculate to accumulate" - if I give my body and mind the rest it is craving, I will likely be much stronger afterwards. It's just hard to give time over to resting and being ill when time is so precious at the moment, even though the reality is that struggling on like this will mean I spend a lot of energy getting nowhere fast.

    Quite apart from any words of encouragement anyone has, I'm interested in other people's thoughts about how to find the right balance between doing and resting.

    My apologies for what feels like a self-indulgent post.

  2. #2
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    Dec 2013
    Following on from what I wrote, one of my carers has confirmed that my skin is hot to the touch over the balls of spasm in my large muscles. This is a bad sign, as it points either to an inflammatory or destructive process going on in the muscles. It also means there is an elevated risk me suffering powerful cramps that can result in muscle tears.

    I've taken the allowed additional muscle relaxants to try to limit the damage that is happening to my muscles, as anything else would be silly. If that sedates me, so be it - I couldn't fight that one any longer.

    I'm still struggling with my resistance to taking the additional morphine I'm allowed and with giving up trying to understand the House of Lords case.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2013
    I still can't get hold of the only person who can authorise an extension to the deadline, so I've kept at it to the best of my ability.

    I've called the university to let them know what's happened and I've now laid down for a few hours rest. I've given everything this broken body has, my poor muscles hurt terribly and my mind has seized up. There is nothing left.

    I'm going to get some sleep and a meal, then will see what I can do this evening.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2013
    Ultimately, I reached the point of having to stop on Tuesday. I took Tuesday evening and the whole of Wednesday off, spending much of Wednesday in bed.

    Fortunately, I heard that I had got an extension I'd requested on the troublesome deadline shortly after I reached the point of having to stop, which made it easier to let go and rest. I was facing the prospect of forfeiting 20% of the continuous assessment score on the module by missing the original deadline without an extension. It's still going to be tight to complete the assignment by the revised deadline, but it's now possible.

    I have a fair crack at first class honours, but all it would take is a couple of mishaps at the wrong time to put that out of reach. Missing the deadline for this assignment could have thrown away my best chance to secure a first.

    To cheer me up further, I got an earlier assignment returned by my tutor. I'd written parts of this assignment at the point where I was so tired that I barely knew what I was doing. Some of it had been written in a hospital waiting room when my mind could not have been said to be fully on task. I was expecting a poor result.

    It turns out that my ability to judge my performance was the only thing that had gone wrong, in that I scored 95%, equalling my top mark ever. Scores in the 80s are difficult enough to get for final year standard law and scores in the mid nineties are rare indeed. This was a very pleasant surprise, especially as I missed the tutorials on those topics because of not being well enough to attend. If I can sustain my good performance so far in this module for the final two assignments and the exam, I will give myself a good chance of getting first class honours.

    I'm blessed with an excellent tutor for this module who is not only very disability aware, but has a tremendous talent for developing the best from his students. I'm going to miss him when we part company at the end of the module and can only hope for another good tutor for the final law module which follows. Assuming I pass both these law modules, I will then only have one semester's worth of free choice study to complete before graduation. I'm not sure what I will study for that free choice - possibly management.

    There is a lot of hard work to go, and, to a large extent, you are only as good as your last piece of work. I try to be humble and not complacent, though I may sometimes take that humility a bit too far and sell myself short.

    I'm not always good enough at distinguishing between the unreliability forced onto me by my health problems and my innate abilities. I'm too easily tempted into denying my abilities just because I do not always have the strength to bring those abilities to bear.

  5. #5
    Senior Member sea queen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Sending you hugs flymo, you help so many on here with your knowledge and reassurance, directing us all in the right direction.
    I don't understand how your meds work but is it possible to take a days complete break and concentrate on your energies, also is it possible for you to use a fan in the room where you work/sleep etc.
    We have several fans which are currently in use both in the bedrooms and lounge etc.
    Whatever you decide you obviously need to rest - make sure you do young man!! xx
    Last edited by sea queen; 22-07-14 at 16:07.
    Sea Queen

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    I like hot weather but it doesn't like me. My body is split vertically in two. My right side can cope whatever the weather but my left side has nerve damage and as such really gets confused in hot weather and over compensates by pumping perspiration out.

    I make a convincing subject for a 'sure' anti-perspirant spray advertisement - one side dry the other damp - I can even divide the two with a vertical line!

    Your curse. I'm sure that the hardest task master is you. But it's no good pushing yourself so hard that it makes you ill - that benefits nobody.

    I'd phone the Tutor and explain that you need more time and I'm sure they'll grant you that wish.

    Alternatively get your carer to fill a galvanised bucket full of water and crushed ice before pouring it over you. This will cool you down rapidly and keep you focused.

    Do you know I've binned my day and night medications - one stops cramps and the other pain. I really can't see what the medication was doing as I don't feel much different. Perhaps my doctor had been prescribing placebo tablets to save his budget!

  7. #7
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Does take a few days for the drugs to get out of your system so it is maybe too early to see the effects of not taking them.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    May 2014
    In a situation like yours I push myself and wont give in until I really have to, then I need to go to bed and cry! But I dont.
    I sit at my computer far too long and for more hours than I get paid for so that my reports are done and completed in the time Ive said they would be finished................I like recovering perfectionist!!
    Flymo I gather you are the same and will only give in when you really have to, unfortunately no one but you can decide if you should do or rest, I know I would take no notice of anyone telling me this, I need everything done yesterday and properly!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member acheron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Hugs Flymo sounds like your body knows what it needs so listen
    you will come back stronger to cope with the work
    there's nowt more annoying than being held back from something you know you can do but illness gets in the way
    rest up friend and take care xx

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2012
    Sorry to hear you're feeling so bad and struggling Flymo. Think it's a case of 'needs must ' here, so all I can suggest is if your body is saying you need to rest up a bit, or have a break then you must do it.

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