Struggling and not sure what to do next

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Struggling and not sure what to do next

Postby erinmmulhearn » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:11 am

I was diagnosed with MS when I was 17 after having my first episode at 16 and I’ve always had an optimistic outlook about my life despite my diagnosis. I don’t ever complain about the fact that I have MS and most people I know don’t even know I have it. My body is healthy and I don’t have many physical symptoms besides a disc herniation that I had surgery on, but I’ve been able to trek in the Andes, Costa Rica, and all throughout Asia without any problems. Right now I’m in my 3rd year of college majoring physics and I’m really struggling. I’ve always grown up being told “you’re so smart” and I was in special advanced classes in my elementary/middle school years and then did AP classes in high school. Even after my diagnosis I didn’t have many problems in school, then in college I started to struggle. At first I thought it was because I didn’t know how to study because I never really needed to before so I changed my study habits and things were a little easier. Then my sophomore year I had another small episode and after that I really started to have problems with my academics. I went to my neurologist and had a bunch of neuropsychological tests done and the doctor said I’m still as smart as I’ve always been. She told me that if I was struggling so much then I should just drop out of school as the stress wasn’t good for my body. Now I just failed my 2 of my midterms even though I study for all my classes every night and go to every lecture/recitation and do all the homework/practice problems. My family is really supportive and have said I can stay an extra year if I have to retake classes but I’m frustrated. I’m really trying my best. I also have ADHD and take vyvanse which helps me focus but only for a short time. At this point I don’t know what to do…I’m tired of everyone telling me to study and work harder when I’m already doing all that I can. I don’t want to drop out of school and I’m trying to have a positive outlook but seeing my test scores and knowing I’m working twice as hard as everyone else but my efforts are still not enough makes me upset. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do next?
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Re: Struggling and not sure what to do next

Postby Scott1 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:41 am

Hi,
Probably take the advice of your family and just repeat the year. There are many people who have the same issues with study as you do.

It doesn't suggest to me that your MS is the issue. If you have ADHD that is probably more relevant. We can all hit a speed hump from time to time.

I don't recall too many people I've met along the way who focus on their academic results as the thing that defines them. We are defined by what we persist at and what we reject. You just need to let go of the concern and go round again with a bit more of an idea of what to expect.

Regards,
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Re: Struggling and not sure what to do next

Postby ElliotB » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:20 am

I find that there is little I cannot do mentally BUT I have to do things at a much slower pace than I used to and can only handle one task at a time or I run into trouble. I don't know if it is possible but it might help to spread the one year load over a longer period of time.
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Re: Struggling and not sure what to do next

Postby jimmylegs » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:45 am

i was sick with in hindsight was malnutrition in university when i was in my teens. i slept a LOT. i had really enjoyed physics in high school, took it for funsies in my first semester of uni, aced every single assignment and then just bombed the exam. i'd be interested to find out how i performed at the same task now.

anyway, more recently i've suffered with severe cognitive issues while getting an 'outstanding' assessment at work placement and excellent marks academically (not in physics mind you) so i empathize with your situation, being told you're smart but still dealing with the evidence that all is not well.

my most recent cognitive issues (ie over the last decade, cleared up now) were definitely nutritional. for other reasons, i'd had a zinc test done and when my levels were deficient, the doc told me how much to take for how long to correct the issue. once i fixed that up, cognitive issues vanished.

way back before i had figure out the zinc issue, i used to use ginkgo biloba for what i think of now as a 'first aid' (as opposed to long term) approach, similar to the way others use niacin for the 'flush' - to fire up blood flow, and deliver oxygen and nutrients to possibly starved tissues. in early days i really noticed ginkgo's effect on my cognitive functioning. nowadays, i just know i don't need it. if i took it and it did anything for me, i would take consider it a warning that i needed to feed my brain some nutrients. if i find for whatever reason that i lose my train of thought more easily or whatever, i can usually attribute it to having slacked off on taking care of myself. a week of decent nutrition gets things back in line.

re adhd specifically, there's plenty of research examining the nutritional differences between patients and healthy controls. along the lines of patients having low normal levels of something while control levels are higher normal.

related recent research:

Iron Status in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl ... ne.0169145
"Lower serum ferritin rather than serum iron is associated with ADHD in children."

Magnesium, zinc and copper estimation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 3016300283
"Children with ADHD have lower levels of zinc, copper and magnesium compared to both laboratory reference ranges and to normal controls in both hair and serum. These deficiencies are correlated with the core symptoms of ADHD."

have you been referred to a dietitian in the past?

do you have serum ferritin, magnesium, zinc and/or copper levels available?
odd sx? no dx? check w/ dietitian
DRI=MINIMUM eg bit.ly/1vgQclQ
99% don't meet these. meds/lifestyle can affect levels
status can be low in ms & other cond'ns
'but my results are normal'. typical panels don't test all
deficits occur in 'normal' range
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Re: Struggling and not sure what to do next

Postby erinmmulhearn » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:21 am

Thank you for your kind words...I haven't been referred to a dietitian yet and I don't have my zinc levels available but I will look into them! One of the side effects of my ADHD medication is lack of hunger so maybe I am not getting the nutrients I need from the amount of food I eat.
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Re: Struggling and not sure what to do next

Postby jimmylegs » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:52 am

no problem :) and please don't neglect finding out levels for serum ferritin, magnesium and copper in addition to serum zinc!

also:

A Practical Guide to Avoiding Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion
https://nutritionreview.org/2016/12/pra ... depletion/

"Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion is Widespread
Many drugs, such as the stimulants Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall, are prescribed for attention deficit disorder. These can reduce appetite. This, in turn, decreases the intake of beneficial nutrients."
odd sx? no dx? check w/ dietitian
DRI=MINIMUM eg bit.ly/1vgQclQ
99% don't meet these. meds/lifestyle can affect levels
status can be low in ms & other cond'ns
'but my results are normal'. typical panels don't test all
deficits occur in 'normal' range
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