Whilst I was at the Annual EULAR Congress of Rheumatology in June 2016, Flexiseq® got in touch with me to commission a new article on their website all about studying whilst living with arthritis.

Let me tell you – it hasn’t been easy. It’s very easy to judge others, particularly those with invisible illnesses, or those who simply choose to keep their problems and concerns to themselves. We should respect each other, and acknowledge that we all have our own challenges to fight.

Whilst studying, people don’t see the struggle I have getting into university in a morning – waking up with pain and stiffness. People don’t see the medication that I inject into myself, or the painkillers rattling inside my bag. The fatigue which my conditions impose on me is hidden, and the brain fog that fibromyalgia inflicts upon my memory and concentration is whirling around in my head. Yet, I get up, I smile, and I get on with what I’ve got to do – even if it hurts. This daily struggle doesn’t just apply to me either. There are thousands of people out there, going through similar experiences day in, day out.

Here, I share some of my top tips for studying with arthritis, although these tips are appropriate for many other long-term conditions.

Written by simonrstones

Simon R. Stones BSc (Hons) is an award-winning patient advocate, consultant and researcher from Manchester in the UK, who was the winner of the international WEGO Health Award for Patient Healthcare Collaborator in 2017. He is a passionate advocate and ambassador for people living with invisible illnesses, inspired and empowered by his own journey with juvenile arthritis, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory bowel disease since childhood. He is currently an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, a trustee of Fibromyalgia Action UK and RAiISE, and board member of the European Network for Children with Arthritis (ENCA) and the European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA).

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