Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Day 61, Balancing school work with endo

Endo 365

Your favourite lunatic here, writing in bliss on the plane to Barcelona (my favourite time to write).  I am completely alone and sharing as intimate and introverted inter-thinking time with myself as my life allows, facilitated by the discipline that flying gifts: no phone, in my case no friends to talk to, in a transitional period from destination to destination.

I thought I may go a little deeper into Balancing school with endo. Bare with me, even if you are not at school, perhaps this may be relevant to your career and life.

First thing is first: ensure your school (or employer) knows. I have always had good relationships with the head of my year's, if you keep them informed on everything, it is their responsibility and duty of pastoral care to ensure your teachers know as much as you would like them to, but in a way that ensures your needs are met. Punishment for attendance should not apply to you for example, you may be able to drop non compulsory modules etc. You teachers may be more inclined to extend deadlines if you have been unwell and go out of their way to catch you up. In my experience, the more they know, the better. I was able to discreetly slip out of lessons if needed be with no fuss made which is such a relief. After strong painkillers, especially during my GCSE's I used to fall asleep in lessons without being shouted at or removed.

There is such a thing as positive discrimination. 

Generally, girlies with endo will have to have time off during their 'time of the month.' So initially, we have to get good at playing catch up. As I mentioned in my former blog, try not to leave this until you feel like you are drowning. Tick a long doing half an hour a day, if nothing else it will make a refreshing break from Jeremy Kyle (reminding yourself that you do indeed, have some braincells remaining). Although my Papa ironically argues that the occasional viewing infacts reinforces that he does indeed have a brain, and a brilliant life.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 6, and have always had to fight and work harder to fulfil my academic potential. Because of this I was never the typical child hating school; Instead I actually valued it and education. I believe that education is the ultimate tool and gift to man and woman kind. It was so important to me that I did not let my endo win doubly and stop me from achieving my qualifications. It is a battle worth fighting because the outcome effects the rest of your life.

It is scary, and it is so unfair, but if you are in pain every day, then your endometriosis has won one war already- Do not let it win another and take away your potential as a human being- depriveing you of the qualifications and education you would have had otherwise. You are bigger and greater than this condition, do not allow it to devour your life.

I am very aware that education is not only founded in school, but it is a good start. During my AS year, my head of 6th form mentioned as an option dropping out and starting again once my pain had gotten under control with the next year. Obviously I was reluctant and eventually I dropped two of my five A Levels (I would have only carried three on anyway into A2 so it seemed silly to catch u on all five. It just put the presure on the three!). We stripped it down to the bare necessary (the simple bare necessities) and eventually not only did I catch up, but significantly surpassed my predicted grades which did not even take into account my attendance or endo!

And between you and me, I don't think I would have done so well had it not been for my dyslexia and  endo... Nothing motivates like fury to prove your circumstance and speculation wrong. My three A's were two fingers up- no, make that ten- they were ten fingers up to the world !

My A level, As and GCSE results remain to this day in the top ten moments in my life. I know it is sad, but it is the biggest victory I have ever had as a dyslexic fighting my endometriois- two fat pigeons with one grenade. I do not think I have cired so much with happiness as I have done at these times.

Alice 1, Endo 0. 

And this relates to more than results, it may be a target you are working towards, not having one day off sick, not eating chocolate for lent... You pick your victories to be won.

I will always remember my AS year. It is only because of the amazing support network of friends around me that kept me strong, laughing and willing to fight. To my Drama Girls- you are the best. To the extent where even my grandchildren will even  be grateful for you all. I hope bit my bit I repay the strength and loyalty you showed me.

It is very easy when you life seems to be taking a nose dive to not fully appreciate what others are doing for you. Take a moment to step back and be greatful for those who will listen and whipe away the tears. Even if it is just your mummy. Likewise, if you are a friend of a sufferer, here is a thank you from me: 'Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives.'

During my final A level year I stripped my life down to the bare necessities so all my energy could be focused on 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and 'Meta Ethics'. I waitressed on a saturday night, but months before exams I stopped and sacrificed almost everything extra curricular, including relationships I wouldn't have had done otherwise. It was very tough, and in some aspects I guess I was selfish, but I knew it was for the greater good of my life, the best for my own self interest and I feel like maybe I suffer and sacrifice enough, I deserved the basic right to fulfil my potential to the best I can. And so can you. Sorry if you were a victim of my endo too.

When I get on my soap box, or am philosophizing over relationships, I ensured whilst I was at school to keep my distace and for my heart to be guarded most hostile, because I have to peserve my emotional health otherwise I would have lost everything. My stong mental attitide it what allows my life to be as good as it is, sometimes you have to lead by your head and protect yourself because when you have endo, you are batteling enough as it is. To add heart break to the mix is unfair on yourself and unrealistic. Put yourself first, it will not last forever. Besides, you friends are your real soul mates. For now at least. There will come a time where we can trust someone enough to look after our hearts.

What you must realise girls, is that I do not regret how I dealt with my  teenage years. I certainly would not have atchieved what I have and be who I am. Okay I may have gone to one or two more rubbish parties (I never missed the good ones) and missing a few months wages. At the time it was a discipline and felt terribly unfair, and a seemingly extreme attitude but in hindsight it was so worth it, and luckily I  had a strong enough mother who was wise enough  knew it would be, I was mature enough to trust her. Do not get me wrong, I still had a life, it was just more focused and on fewer things. Also, in the scale of your life, it is literally three months for the rest of your life. 

The way you have to think about it is: 

'Have you ever noticed how, if you neatly fold everything into a suitcase you can fit so much more in that if you just ram it in?' 

Well life is like that too. Organise for success. 

And anyone that knows me will tell you I am naturally one of the least organised people they know. I regularly would turn up to school without my school bag, lunch and PE kit. I don't know what I expected to do on those days. However you can curb and mould your habits, it is possible to be the person who has 7 jobs and volunteers and sees all her friends almost once a week, whilst being the same person who gets the wrong train every flipping time. It is about planning maturely, sensibly and rationally, and decided what is important to you. And then if you are me, allowing the wind to take the rest, because you know if you haven't organised it then it isn't of great importance to your greater good, thus you can just roll with it. Besides the best times we have are spontaneous, right?

Likewise, if you have free periods or free time, write a tick list. Do not sit around chatting to your mates or on Facebook, instead reply to emails, write that essay and get things done. Tick lists are the only thing keeping my astonishingly scatty brain on the straight and narrow.

I have on going tick lists, weekly tick lists, tick lists of tick lists. I have tick lists for this flight, for this blog. I have tick lists for when I go into Lutterworth to run errands, otherwise I will walk round confused and in my pyjamas clutching at cats talking to myself. You get the picture.

And before you think I'm one of those annoying-to-the-rest-of-us  regimented people who live by their diary, alas, I am not. There is always room for fun and spontaneity because (and this is between you and me) the tick lists are only a piece of paper. 'Life is about finding a ballance.'

And whilst I am thinking about it, another gift of my endometriosis is that I have had to become very very organised and honest. Naturally as you can see, I am useless at organisation (I blame the dyslexia) and I find it hard to show weakness, like when I am in pain or upset. However in order for me to get the best out of my life and situation, I have learnt both. Proof that you can change for the better if you want to enough.

I dare you to write a list of at least three positives in your life born out of adversity. Even if it was a friend you made.

Right now the twilight sky above the clouds is stunning. So before I get too soppy and Romantic on you, I shall bid farewell. If you are a teen and reading this blog, read my 'Teen living with endo' blog which is more extensive one about 'Being a teen with endo.' Maybe you will pick something up, or just reading my story know you are not alone.

I hope this was of some use, I am always here to moan to-

All my love,


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