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Dealing with university

Hi everyone, I’m chloe. I’m currently 19 and studying drama and theatre at university.

I’ve had chronic vestibular migraines since I was 16 years and it has effected my life massively since.

If anyone has some tips on dealing with work on a daily basis and how to keep a positive out look on my work, would be a tremendous help. Also any tips on what to do on a daily basis to keep the migraines and vertigo at a minimum so I can continue having a full active and social lifestyle.

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Hey Chloe! I’m 19 years old too and am a university student so trust me when I know how hard it can be dealing with school and something like this at the same time (it’s something I am really struggling with right now). I’m glad to have found another person my age on here tbh (I’m sure theres others but I am new on here).

Things that help me is to continue to push myself to do things I would do normally like going to social events, going out to eat. Even though I could be feeling bad in those moments I don’t usually feel worse from going and they give me new positive memories to think about. Of course you have to listen to your gut and if you absolutely feel like you cant then don’t do it- just push yourself to the right limits. If you think one day you may have done it too hard take note of that and don’t do it again. I started meditation and I try to do x2/day. I like to do body scans and trying to focus on the parts of my body that DO feel steady (takes away from always focusing on the dizziness). Furthermore, I LOVE yoga and swimming.

On a daily basis I would say meditate, and light exercise (so maybe like quick yoga in your room from a youtube video).

I don’t know how your classes work but maybe you could drop one? I have recently dropped one of my classes to lighten the workload and get some more sleep. I thin it has helped a bit so far by providing me some relief.

You can always message me if you want to talk about coping ways to deal with this and university at the same time! We can work on it together

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Hi Chloe, and welcome to the community. I’m not a student any more but studied in my twenties and know how big the workload can be. I didn’t have MAV then, I can imagine it’s challenging to study while so unwell.
Are you on any migraine preventative medication? How is that going?
In terms of advice, you could look up the technique called “pacing,” I posted a pdf about this (related to chronic fatigue, but the challenges of living with MAV are quite similar) on the website, you can search for it. The idea with pacing is to build in lots of breaks and rest into your day, so that you can still do things and achieve what you want to achieve, without making yourself more ill.
Also, have you spoken to a tutor or disability services at your university? They might be able to help you advocate for your needs, like arranged timetable etc.
Wish you all the best with your studies. :slightly_smiling_face:

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@coco210, @annae00 my heart goes out to you guys dealing with this at uni.

A warm welcome to you both. Follow the protocol and the advice on here and hopefully things will be night and day a few months from now!

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Hi Chloe

Welcome to the club! I hope your course is going well. I work at a Creative University in Kent and I would say don’t be afraid to let your tutors know when you are struggling with MAV as you may be able to get an extension to assignment deadlines. The Student Services and Disability Support Staff are there to help you too so make sure you tap into their services. The SU are also very good at supporting students.
If you know your triggers try to avoid them if you have an important deadline coming up! Also as @annae00 has said yoga, swimming and meditation are all good for combating stress and anxiety.
Have a great autumn term! :slightly_smiling_face: Jan

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Hey Lucy,
sadly I’m not on any migraine preventive medication as non on it has worked for me in the past, and they literally have none left to give me.
I have tried ‘pacing’ a few times, it helps when doing my writing work as it is less likely to drain me but being on a very active course that requires a great deal of out of class hours doing physical movement work and devising, it puts a lot of strain on me. As I can’t risk missing rehearsals since my exams are coming up in a couple of weeks time. but physical movement can also trigger my vertigo, I spent the majority of my rehearsals last year having to sit out and watch which wasn’t the best.
with my tutor and student wellbeing services they can’t offer much help apart from allowing me to sit out in class or if I need extra time on assessments or help to record lectures they offer that support, but they haven’t dealt with this before so they struggle to find things that wont be triggering which is hard as it is.

Sorry Coco. I don’t believe it. There must be something out there that will at least reduce your symptoms if not contain them. Familiarise yourself with the list of 100 medications on a currently adjacent thread. Go back to the medics and try again. With MAV you need to be your own advocate and keep going. One thing you need to learn right now that you won’t learn at Uni is to never, never give up looking for a resolution. We each have just one life. It’s no dress rehearsal. It needs to be lived to the full and you cannot do that suffering as you are currently. You need to change something and move forwards. Helen

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Coco that must be so hard for you. Is there an abortive med you could take just to help you get through your exams? Have you tried Stemetil for vertigo before? A lot of students get a short course of diazepam to help them feel calm during presentations.

I bet there are other meds out there you haven’t tried and there are combinations to try e.g. pizotifen and amitriptyline together. I think you should have another bash at getting treatment. You need to get up to a therapeutic dose (a dose that works for you) on meds before you get any relief and it may be higher than a GP prescribes and stick with meds for several weeks (unless the side effects are severe). Research neuro otologists in your area and get a referral to one, they usually have a much better idea of how to treat MAV than some ENT’s and most GP’s. There are also treatments such as botox and occipital nerve blocks to try.

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Here’s a list and description of most (but not all) the meds often used for migraine:

Most of the medication I have to be careful with taking due to other illnesses because it can affect me and make me worse, I have been given tablets in the past that have prevented me from breathing properly, and the majority of the medication given aren’t necessarily migraine specific they come in the form of epilepsy preventers, beta blockers or anti depressants. which the side effects can cause headaches and migraines which defeats the point of them. I have been to multiple doctors and the tablets have made me throw up, suicidal and very depressed or I am unable to breathe, and there have been some that just haven’t helped what so ever for me.

yes I know that I can’t give up, ive spent the last three years trying to keep a positive state of mind and I do slip back into a negative state sometimes when things get bad for me. I have took initiative at uni and have got appointments booked for a neurologist, I have student support to an extent, its not easy at all. and everyone is affected differently by this and needs different support and different medication, yes there may be a lot out there, but it doesn’t mean that it will work.

Hey Sputnik2.
I can’t really get much treatment done until I have an appointment with my neurologist, as my GP can’t give me anything else because they don’t really understand it. but im hoping when the appointment is done they’ll be able to treat me correctly that will benefit me during my uni life

I do hope you haven’t got long to wait for the neuro appointment. It’s awful waiting with no treatment options between appointments or for an initial consultation. Your GP sounds like mine.

only 10 days until the appointment now but its been almost 8 months since being referred the second time round. and yeah my GP’s haven’t been the best

What a wait and it seems like for ever whilst you re waiting. I know. Glad you haven’t given up, not really. It pays to plod on. I fully appreciate all the pitfalls and problems with finding a medical solution. All the ones I haven’t experienced personally I’ve met somebody on here who has. I didn’t even get a diagnosis for 12 years. MAV is certainly beyond the kenn of the majority of GPs and they seem to lack any enthusiasm to refer on too. Yes, the only migraine specific was Pizotifen for years but now there are a few injectables coming into play although if you are UK based only available privately at great expense. I so hope your neuro appointment has a positive outcome. Helen
PS; consensus is that much of the medication sensitivity is part of the complex. MAVers are hypersensitive to foods, motion, lights, noise, and medication.

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