Firstly, I’ll apologise in advance for my terrible writing….for some reason glandular fever has turned my brain into fudge! Although I am definitely a lot better, I can’t seem to shake this ‘half asleep’, confused, sluggish feeling. I just want to write down what’s happened over the last few weeks, so I can look back at this blog post when I’m back to my normal self and be reminded that I have made the right decision.
Having missed the first two weeks of Spring term, I was beginning to feel anxious about falling irrecoverably behind with uni work. I called up to talk to my uni’s welfare department just to have a chat and see if there was an option to start doing half days and whether there was support available to help me cope with the mounting workload. The last thing I expected was to be told that I should probably suspend my studies.
I didn’t realise how strict my university was on attendance, and I was told that mine was too low to take anymore time off. ‘But… I need more time off..?’ I whispered back down the phone, sitting listlessly in the passenger seat of my mum’s car. I was completely unable to imagine leaving her and dragging myself back up to London. ‘If you can’t come back next Monday, you will have to interrupt your studies’ I was told flatly.
Needless to say I felt frustrated and bit upset. I had been expecting to be allowed to go back to uni when I was feeling well enough. I imagined I would return full of energy and able to launch myself back into both my studies and my social life. Now I felt that this was never going to happen. I was either to crawl back, white faced and exhausted and put every last drop of my limited energy into completing the work – or I was not to go back at all.
Cue a LOT of overthinking and worrying. I was feeling pretty crap, but I decided to give it a try. Completely throwing in the towel felt way too sudden and abrupt a decision to make. So I tried my best to power through.
I didn’t realise that you can’t ‘power through’ with glandular fever. It wasn’t even trying to focus in intense two hour seminars, or looking after myself after 2 months of being at home that tired me out. Or my attempts to seem ‘fine’ and keep conversations flowing, when really I wanted to collapse in a heap on my bed. The big killer was the 20 minute walk from my flat into university (and back again.) By the end of the week I literally couldn’t move from my bed. It was as though my body had completely given up… I was in pain all over, aching head to toe and shaking with tiredness. I called up my mum, who told me to just come home.
As soon as my Dad picked me up from the train station, I instantly felt a wave of relief. It was just going to be impossible for me to catch up on the exams/coursework I missed last term as well as doing the current terms work, whilst still recovering. I knew that my degree was going to suffer. UCL wouldn’t allow me to miss a single lecture or seminar and the doctors keep telling me that if push myself too hard it become a lot worse or can even turn into ME which I don’t want! I just came to the realisation that no matter how frustrating it is, there is no point making myself ill over it.
So I’ve decided to suspend my studies until September, which feels like a huge weight off my shoulders. I’ll be able to properly relax now without worrying about anything and take my time to get 100% better. I’ve sublet my room, moved back home until September.
After a rough and very stressful couple of weeks (which I couldn’t have coped with half as well without the support of my lovely friends) what better way to treat myself than with a plate of dark chocolate chip cookies! Every one knows that a hot cookie straight from the oven is basically the food equivalent of a hug 🍪💗
I used Felicity Cloake’s ‘perfect’ recipe (if you haven’t heard of her, google her now she is honestly so great) and they really did come out perfect…crispy and golden on the outside but soft and chewy within. Once cooled, I sprinkled them with sea salt (omg) and my sister and I dunked them in glasses of cold milk.
If any one needs a bit of cheering up this weekend, I highly recommend. Here’s the link to Felicity’s recipe: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/apr/25/how-to-cook-perfect-chocolate-chip-cookies
Love from Lydia x