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Studying would be nice

Discussion in 'Cognition' started by GracieJ, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    I have asked this question in chat a time or two, and honestly I am still searching for an answer.

    How on earth do you pursue formal studies with this disorder? And if formal studies (classes, online, etc.) are not possible, how does one go about pursuing an area of study?

    The ongoing problem is that I choose an area of focus, provide myself some materials, pep talk it up, get excited, start... and within a few days, it slides into the background. It is completely forgotten in the daily maze. Three weeks can easily pass before that "Oh, yeah!" moment hits.

    How are others handling this issue? I know many in here have managed to do Coursera, or have managed a low level of college courses with support.

    This has been going on, really, since my last two years of high school a looooong time ago.

    I am able to cruise and surf through material if it's a leisurely activity. If I want to follow a course of learning consistently, all the goal-setting tips I have come across are quickly useless.

    Dory brain here...

    So... An example:

    I would like to resume my study and love of music, playing the piano in particular.

    How do I remember three seconds later, and really make things happen?

    Is this unrealistic?
     
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  2. L'engle

    L'engle moogle

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    Not sure if it will help but I keep two browser tabs open, one with the subject I'm studying, the other with something relaxing that does not take much energy like a picture site or something else entertaining. Even if you just read the study site for a minute and flip back to the easy site it will give your mind that sense of being engaged with something. I would make it as low pressure as possible. I stay away from courses that are on a set schedule as I just end up with a sense of failure when I can't keep up. On line tutorials about your subject might be easier than courses.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Hi GracieJ. I managed to finish both my BA and my MA with this illness, but it was not easy, and it took me longer (especially for the BA) than it would a healthy person. I also taught myself to play the guitar, which was easier than earning a degree, but also required some commitment to the work of learning.

    The three most important things I needed to accomplish my goals were: passion for the subject matter, willingness to actually do the work and self-discipline to keep it up. I had all three, and even then it was tough at times. (Doodling around in a leisurely way is very different than disciplined study with a goal!) I don't think there are any special tricks or tips to make that happen. Ultimately, it all boils down to just deciding and doing it.
     
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  4. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    Doodling around has gotten me a long way. Things stick when I am not looking.

    What does self-discipline look like to you? Describe it, if you would.

    The majority of my discipline goes to a job 30 hours a week. I must add that my energy reserves are pretty much used up.

    I feel discouraged pretty quickly if the only thing I do is my job, as much as I love it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
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  5. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    Continuing on, hit the wrong key and posted.

    "Disciplined study with a goal."

    Yes, that is the desire! How?? Seriously. I can decide, start, work on it - and forget. Do you tie string around your finger, place Post-Its everywhere, trip over your study materials inside the front door?? LOL

    Genuine question. No lack of discipline here. Just a spacy brain.
     
  6. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Then maybe you don't need to pursue formal studies.

    I don't think I can describe self-discipline any better than I did before. (see post above ;))
    Maybe (for now) you just don't have energy for anything else. Maybe you're doing enough already.
     
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  7. Valentijn

    Valentijn The Diabolic Logic

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    @GracieJ - Coursera sends me an email every time a new week starts, when new materials get posted. I'd stick to courses requiring 5 or less hours per week, if you have much in the way of cognitive difficulties. You could probably also set something up on your computer to remind you about a class on a daily basis, using a scheduling program.

    I completely forget things too, sometimes for weeks. It's ridiculous to suggest that it has anything to do with self-discipline. It's cognitive dysfunction.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
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  8. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    I completely forget things too, sometimes for weeks. It's ridiculous to suggest that it has anything to do with self-discipline. It's cognitive dysfunction.


    (Lost part of this.)

    Yes, thank you! It is cognitive dysfunction.

    I think it was one of the earliest signs of this disorder, back in high school.

    I was a straight A student but had poor study habits, mainly because I could read or hear something once and it stuck. That changed my sophomore year. I chalked it up to high school burnout. However, I got to college and found my ability to focus pretty much gone. I dropped out after one year.

    Of course, I blamed myself. Had to be lack of discipline. It wasn't until about five years ago I finally realized that was not true.

    One clue here is that I read lying down, and can do so for hours. I gravitate to brain function, New Age medicine and energy work, and needlework. I have no problem deciphering a new crochet or knitting technique. It seems like a different part of the brain is in use.

    But if I sit down to focus and study, I last five minutes. Very frustrating. I would like to learn more about methylation here on PR, as well as become more familiar with the lab tests available to show what is really going on.

    I was the girl in school who would get a 98% on a test and my score was then used as the top of the bell curve. The other students hated me. Recently at work, we were asked to retake the training modules we did on hire, and are required to do them yearly now. I flunked one of them over and over because I could not put some things in sequence, then got confused. I had to go over it about eight times before passing. Thank goodness my employer knows there are issues with cognition. It showed its face big time.

    Of my three children, one is a lab scientist, one is graduating with a Masters in psychology this summer, and one has been pursuing her RN degree. I quiz all of them on how they have done it, trying to solve the double whammy of learning new study habits in the midst of cognitive dysfunction. So far, little progress. Of note here - the one pursuing the RN is experiencing the same cognitive blocks and may not be able to continue. She is in denial that it may be the start of ME. So many signs showing, it concerns me. I will be going over ICC materials with her soon. It isn't just the cognition part.

    It is fun to cruise and read and learn, and I do a lot of that to keep my brain active as well as pass the time.

    It would be really nice to pull it together somehow and follow one topic consistently for several weeks and complete some personal goals. It is the forgetfulness and sense of brain overload that is getting to me.

    I am signed up on Coursera, waiting for a course on brain addiction to start.

    Ironically, it is the high level of self-discipline many of us have that gets us around these issues. I just do not know good practical ways to get this one going. It's like a list of chores I have added back - cooking, check. Have a system. Cleaning, check. Five-minute intervals with vinegar and paper towels. Laundry, check. Grocery shopping, still a struggle.

    Personal study, still a struggle.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
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  9. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    I am thinking that the best way to knock this is to learn from people who have finished college in spite of ME. Thanks for the comments. There has to be a way.

    (How did I get blue in the above post?)
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  10. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    More thoughts. I am determined to solve this.

    My successes in other areas are all in snippets and short spurts. Big clue, right?

    I am also seeing conditioning at work. Would be good if I could harness that one for study. But how?

    So... looking for little hacks, practical things as simple as tripping over my books, but not so painful or silly!
     
  11. Valentijn

    Valentijn The Diabolic Logic

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    @GracieJ - If you "edit" the post with formatting problems, the first line will look like:
    (QUOTE="Valentijn, post: 523802, member: 3723")(USER=4619)

    But with square brackets where I've shown parantheses. Either a square bracket is missing or a quotation mark ". If you add back in the one which is missing (probably the square bracket after USER=3723), it will stop trying to hyperlink the entire text :p
     
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  12. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Hi Gracie, I have been studying at home for a degree for 3 and a half years with moderate/severe M.E and gaining distinctions every year - it is possible.

    BUT I don't work or do anything else apart from be with ,y family and potter about at home and occasionally cook or do some dusting (very occasionally) whereas you work 30 hours a week, which may be more than your body can handle, so needs to switch off - hence cognitive problems kick in if you try to do any more by studying as well.

    For me I approach my study like a job - I do it at set times every day - I do it paying in bed or at a desk, but laying in bed is better. I have two days off a week unless an assignment is due in. I start studying for the next year over the summer holidays when everyone else is having time off so that I can get ahead an still get all of my assignments in - most people do an assignment in about 2 - 5 days while working full time - it takes me about 3 weeks if I don't want to crash hard from it!

    I don't forget to study in the same way you wouldn't forget to go to work.

    My motivation is that I want to get something out of this hell of spending all my life stuck inside 4 walls feeling useless and pointless - it gives my day to day life meaning, I get the reward of good grades. It gives me something to talk to my husband about other than illness and research studies I've read about on PR, (I don't think he can take much more of that, so while we clamour for more research, my husband wishes there would be a bit less).

    Without it my brain would have stuttered to a halt and I might have given up on life all together. Another motivation is that if I ever get better or even fully well I will have a degree and maybe able to do something with it - if not a full time job, then maybe teaching a creative writing course or something like that to adults.

    In terms of problems with cognition - I have the same problem as you that I have to go over and over things before they go in. For example, one of the reasons it takes me so long to write an assignment is because it can take over a week of reading and re reading the question before I can even understand it. Also I cant recall wods I need quite often so have to spend a lot more time staring into space and trying to come up with the right word - I now use a thesaurus for this and it has helped a lot - to type in a similar word and find the one I am looking for (online).

    Well good luck with whatever you decide to do...
     
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  13. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    @justy I admire your work over the last few years. Wow. Just... wow! I know how ill you are from your posting over time. I do not think I could do that.

    My work does take a lot out of me, especially as it is physical. At the same time, I try to continue learning work-related things to stay on top of it. There is always more to know about the human body.

    There are plenty of evenings where all I do is zone.

    There are still dozens of empty hours alone at home that are best filled or I would go mad. I am a prolific knitter, cranking out lace pieces while I listen to movies. I also opened an Etsy shop for crocheted lace. That one is going slowly, ironically because I am too brain-dead to figure out the marketing, and will need help from others. Long-term project there.

    I am seeing that I need to chunk this down even more. Not ready at all to discard the possibilities. Learning is like breathing.
     
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  14. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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    @GracieJ

    Hi Gracie

    That's a tough nut to crack especially as you work 30 hours a week. I haven't worked in decades but I do know that when your time is taken up with something to a large degree of your available time it is hard (at least for some of us) to manage to shift our focus.

    I think this might be an issue. How to switch your brain to study mode. That's provided you've accurately assessed that you do have enough energy available to actually pursue study.

    I would suggest doing trial runs. Try studying something that is not connected to a goal you have going forward. Something small and self limiting and not on a time schedule. A suggestion would be to learn meditation. There are meditation styles that train one in focus I believe.

    Because you are still so busy while ill your mind is probably not calm but full of the things that fill your day. So a good time to try meditation might be right after coming home from work. What's the first thing you do when you come home? Put a sticky there.
    When starting meditation you only need a few minutes. Especially if you have a mind that feels like it's spinning.

    Alternatively you might want to wait until you feel your mind is settled. So just before bed or something.
    Just some thoughts, perhaps they suggest something else to you or you can adapt them to your needs.

    Don't beat yourself up. Start small. Don't go directly for the big goal right away. Resting is important to.
    Good luck.
     
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  15. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Hi Gracie - sounds like you already have a lot on... great to be doing crochet - that's something I would like to learn and started recently but had to give up as I didn't have the energy to add that to my day as well - if I could magically know without watching you tube tutorials or reading books it would be fine, but to add any more learning to my brain would make it explode!

    In terms of filling time when alone I would like to make a suggestion - please ignore if its not your thing, but I just started reading the book 'How to be sick' by Toni Bernard - it really is very good and is helping me a little to get my head in the right place for dealing with hours and hours of being alone and fed up and ill - even though I have a family I have to spend a lot of time alone otherwise I cant cope.
     
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  16. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I was speaking for myself, so why is that ridiculous?

    If you look at my original post, you will see my exact words: "The three most important things I needed to accomplish my goals were: passion for the subject matter, willingness to actually do the work and self-discipline to keep it up." The emphasis here is on: "I needed."

    That's not to say I didn't have cognitive dysfunction, because after being struck by lightning and being chemical poisoned by a neighbor's spraying (on top of having ME!) I sure had my share of that to contend with. In spite of that I finished my BA and later my MA. It was not easy, and it did require self-discipline.

    I can't say with any confidence what someone else needs. All I can do is contribute pieces of my own experience.
     
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  17. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    @Dreambirdie

    I admire what you did. Two degrees, that is incredible. I gave up on college a long time ago. Not practical. My year of training for massage was hell.

    Self-discipline is not in short supply for me. It took years to see I had a high level of it.

    So when I ask you what it looks like for you it is an honest question. Any life hacks and tips you have are welcome. I have struggled in this area for years, trying to apply myself and get somewhere.

    I took a class last winter. Made it to two nights out of twelve. That is my life.

    I hunger for this. With all I have lost and can no longer do, learning new ways of obtaining this are of great value.

    ***

    I'm thinking my consistency level might be once a week, as if a weekly class, rather than a daily thing.

    Just need to remember. Somehow, some way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
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  18. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    This is similar to how I went about my studies... way back when. It varied how long it took me to finish an assignment, depending on where my energy was at during a given time.

    Sometimes I would have to read aloud to myself to make sure I got it... especially if the material was more boring. And yes, the THESAURUS was one of my best friends during my student days. I still love looking up synonyms. Words are fascinating things.
     
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  19. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    @Snowdrop Thanks for the suggestions.

    I have meditated in the past regularly. Now, along with the energy work being done, daily meditation is not practical. Changes happen too fast and are overwhelming. I meditate maybe once a week now. Your thought about only needing a few minutes is a good idea, a new direction.

    You bring up a point I need very much to heed, the need to just slow down and be, and definitely the need to switch modes. I will try some things! Thanks.
     
  20. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    @justy
    I wish I could understand how it is you do not forget to study the way I would not forget to go to work. Getting to work is a must to survive. I forget what I set up for myself in the studying department.
     

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