Dropping a Class Due to Illness Is Not Admitting Defeat

As someone who has lived with chronic illness for about seven years, many people expect I have everything under control. That assumption could not be further from the truth. My EDS, CRPS and undiagnosed autonomic disorder leave me never knowing what kind of day I will have.

In August I started my first semester of college taking three classes adding up to exactly 12 units. My classes were enjoyable, but my body could not keep up. Between classes, doctor appointments and school work I didn’t have enough time to let my body adequately rest. I started missing classes because I would pass out getting out of bed and even got sent home after almost fainting in class.

Through talking with my doctors we came to the realization that I had to lighten my course load. Regardless of the accommodations I receive, I had to withdraw from two of my three classes. Yes, I was keeping up in my classes, but the number of ER visits I had to make due to pain or other complications was growing rapidly. My health was on a downward spiral and stress was wearing on me.

Once I realized dropping classes was my only option, I felt defeated. Going to college and being a full-time student gave me a semblance of normalcy that I now had to give up. I worry I have disappointed my parents, but I know they will come to realize as I have that this is the best decision for my body.

After more thought I am able to understand that I am not giving up and should not feel defeated. Life with chronic illness can be seen as a marathon and by withdrawing from a couple classes I am only pacing myself.

If you have to withdraw from classes to do what is best for you, do not feel defeated. Your education and course load does not define you.

This post originally appeared on Still I Survive.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

woman in a gray hoodie sitting near the beach looking into the distance

Despite the Frustrations of EDS, I Still Have Hope for 'One Day...'

The thing about having a condition like mine, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, is that you find yourself perpetually frustrated. There isn’t a moment when you are not exhausted, in pain and struggling to focus. But with that comes the perpetual desire to do the things that healthy individuals are able to do – especially when you’re in [...]
student standing outside looking upset

The Struggle of Facing an Unknown Future Due to Illness in My Senior Year

I’ve always loved learning. Like, really loved. I thirst for every drop of knowledge I can get. But the past few years as my brain fog has gotten worse, I’ve had a real problem retaining and recalling information. It’s like I’m standing in thick fog and can feel what I need, but can’t see it. [...]
couple holding hands and walking on the beach at sunset

The Challenges of Telling Someone You're Dating About Your Chronic Illness

Let’s face it, dating is hard no matter who you are, but add a chronic illness to the mix and it can be nearly impossible. My love life is nearly non-existent, and all my attempts at dating have been a mess, and I know Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (and all my accompanying conditions) is partly to blame for this. [...]
husband and wife holding hands in front of a field of flowers

What It's Like to Be Married to Someone With Chronic Illness

Before I excite you about how awesome it is for my husband to be married to someone with a chronic illness, let me paint a lovely (insert sarcastic voice) picture for you… Freshly engaged, with marriage on the horizon, I wanted to revisit my old diagnosis and check with a doctor about pregnancy. “Autoimmune diseases [...]