Jump to content

Getting An Education Living With Pots

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone. I am on my fourth semester of college. During the first two semesters I was a part time student. I have one semester as a full time student under my belt. I have done well the last few semesters despite the few setbacks my pots had presented.

This semester has been a killer. My pots had risen in its intensity level over winter break and hasn't let up since. My cognitive functions have really been affected. The brain fogs are just unbelievable by themselves...

My academic performance has taken a huge nose dive. Making it to my classes and completing my work is such a struggle. Most of my professors get it, not the pots just the situation it puts me in. They don't question my faith in their classes because they can see how much of an effort I make. Still I feel like such a failure...

I'm a people pleaser. I smart enough to realize that this will one day be the end of me. With the way things are I can barely please myself let alone others. That doesn't mean I won't destroy myself trying.

I don't cry easily but as of late I find myself dissolving into tears a lot more frequently. The thing is I'm the only one that can make the decision of whether or not too stay in school. I am very stubborn person and I tend to just keep trying. I don't like to give up and as a result I never do...I can't decide at which point I should call it. I feel like I'm making a bad situation worse. At what point is it not worth it?

I alone literally won't make the decision. I can't make this call without some input and I figure who better to ask than others that have or have had a lot of the same troubles I do.

I'm sure most everyone reading this knows first hand how difficult making it through the day is. If anyone has had any similar experiences please share! I need to know I'm not alone. Any comments are welcome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I am so sorry you are going through this. I did not know it at the time, but I also had POTS while in university. I know exactly what you mean about trying until you destroy yourself; I changed my academic and career paths many times, went part-time for two years, ended up doing a master's degree while lying on a lawn chair and have only been able to work a few years part time. I was so worn out by school that I had to choose between working and having kids - I didn't know why, but knew my body was going downhill. I have two great kids and am so glad I made the choice I did, but really miss having a career (and an income!!). When I finished school and wasn't working, I did better as I was able to rest when I needed and could manage my time with more flexibility.

I can't tell you what to do or even what I would have done differently, but I know what you're going through. Try to reduce your load and simplify as much as possible, but if you can't manage, maybe taking a semester to try to recover a bit might help. If your body is telling you that it's had all it can take, no matter how much it ***** to do it, you may just have to change plans. Can you take any courses online or anything? Just be careful - I pushed through so much that I don't think I'll ever bounce back. You're having to make such difficult decisions at this stage of your life. I really hope that with the fast pace of research and medical discovery, they'll be able to help you (and all of us) soon. Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest tearose

Hi Sami and welcome!

It will ultimately be you who makes the decision but I sure understand the value of input from those who like you, were in a similar place.

I am probably 20 years older than you ...at least...and have had POTS for about that long. I had much better cognitive function back then and relapses came and went quicker. I suggest you take your time but do continue with your studies. From my vantage point, you will never have as much youth, energy and resilience as you do now. Don't overdo, don't stop, just find a way to balance and manage.

Another person on this forum is from England and took 9 years to go through college. Now she is working towards her PhD. So it can be done!

Keep your spirits up and find a way to work with the challenges and accentuate your gifts!

best regards,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest letitbe

this all happened to me as well at my 4th attempt at college as an OLD person. i ran out of classes with anxiety and cog. confusion. It was so aweful. i was very sick as well with something else and didn't know so my 'unknown' POTS was 10000 times worse.

not diagnosed till 9 years later.


could you try earlier to bed for much more sleep?

Drop some credit hours?

make more time in the mornings for ONLY cal!

NO computers, homework, talking etc. only s-l-o-w?


Slow down everything. Slowwww Dowwwn.

Will Itaker my own advice.

I was so very tired as well.

Been living a nightmare ever since.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Sami,

I so feel for you. And I wish I had some good advice. All I can say is I understand. I think I attempted college 5 different times. But I never finished. Again, this was before dx. My issues have been since early childhood. But I agree with the comment that says to do whatever you can now. Not to be discouraging, but it could get harder in your later years. Not to over-do it or push yourself into a major crisis, but take fewer courses and plan on staying in school longer. If you are undergoing some treatment and therapies now, it should help boost you through. But again, you must pace yourself. It is good to be stubborn and not give up, but you can be a little more lenient if need be. I know at this point, at 41, I will not have a major career, kids, or a degree. That is the way it is. But, had I started earlier, maybe more could have been accomplished. I am entrepreneurial, so I am not missing out, but it gets tougher. I remember an orthopedist told me when I was 18, to have kids young. He was right, for so many reasons. So plan your life, do everything you want to do and achieve, and later on down the road you can slow down like I have ;) haha. But meanwhile, tweaking your schedule may be very reasonable and appropriate. Trust your instincts, but do not give up! You don't know how your life will play out, and you may be get better as you get older. We are all different. We have all been blessed with glorious gifts. It may not look the way you thought it would, but there are gifts at every turn. You can do it! And new opportunities could arise if you slow down a bit, you just don't know yet!! Its your life, so enjoy it and be kind to yourself! You get to create this in any way you want... keep up the hope... you have every reason to be hopeful and have a great life! Just go a little slower prehaps! xoxo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:'( awww. this makes me so sad. The one thing that you HAVE to hear, please, hear me,


However, I maybe know how you feel. Last year, I tried so hard to continue my classes, but things got worse and worse and I was just a complete wreck. Just complete wreck. Emotionally drained, felt like I could do nothing to fix anything. that made it worse because I pushed myself to keep going. I was in the ER like 3 times a month at least, I don't remember anything that happened...

Seriously, I remember maybe 40% of anything that happened while I was pushing myself. Class material or social interactions.

Professors were understanding. Miracle of miracles I got good grades. But golly, was I a total wreck.

I decided to take a semester off and let my body catch up, you know, medical leave.

Praise Jesus I did. It made all the difference in the world. Now I'm back in school, and I am enjoying it, learning, and going to class even!

YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. You are doing things others could never do! All those people who skip for headaches or sleepiness... you are trucking through when I bet half the time you can barely see straight and walk in straight line.

That makes you a victor!!

But I understand it's hard to be positive when everything is crashing down. I hope with all my heart you have someone at school who can give you some stability and support. Best of luck, friend!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I totally understand. I am 21 and just dropped out of college for the FOURTH time :[ I am going on disability. i feel i gave it a great go and 110 percent, but my body just cant do it. It does not help i also have a 1 year old either.

Do what you can, but try to not over do it. I used to practically pass out just trying to make it to class. I could never pay attention to what my professor said because i was such a wreck from just walking to class.

I then started online classes, but those didnt even work because my brain fog is so bad some days, i cant remember my name. Most days im lucky to give my daughter a bath and put her to bed, and once im done, i practically die on the couch for the rest of the night. Dont feel like a failure. There is only so much we can do with POTS, and most people never have to experience a chronic illness that changes their lives. I did feel like a failure for awhile, trying to compare myself to my friends. I always felt like i was not good enough because i couldnt take my daughter to the park, do homework and still have energy to clean the house. I tried, but it only made me more and more sick. Having this illness is like having a full time job plus some, because we never gets nights or days off. Dont beat yourself up, you are already doing an amazing job with just dealing with this everyday. Good luck and message me anytime you want to chat :]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just want to thank everyone for your kind words. Reading all of your comments has really helped. It is comforting to know I'm not alone in this. I have decided to make my way through the rest of the semester and go from there.

I think most of you are right about doing this now at a younger age as opposed to going back a few years later.

I think I'm gonna major in history. The professors in this department are so great, and I always have loved history. I was going to do the communications program but it get to confusing and overwhelming because you can do so much with it. Maybe I will minor?

I seem to be making progress with both the back work and the current assignments so that is encouraging.

I will keep everyone updated on how things go. Once again I want to thank everyone so much for the input.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...