I’m sure I can’t be the only one who doesn’t really eat healthily while revising for exams, and this exam season was no exception. I set up my little revision station in my dining room, complete with laptop, notebooks and coloured pens that I always forget to use. Being at home this exam season was great though – I actually had healthier meals and set times for them, unlike when I lived away from my parents and my daily routine became a shambles at exam times.
But saying that, this year, I did still skip lunches, I never ate breakfast, and I snacked. A lot. Mostly on chocolate and biscuits and, my goodness, can I snack! The empty wrappers quickly built up in the bin, and I got tuts from my mum if she spotted them, but still I kept on devouring.
“It’s only while I’m revising,” I said to myself, “I deserve a treat after all this mental work I’ve been doing.” I never once thought that eating such crap would actually affect me physically, apart from in the obvious gaining weight way. What I guess I mean is that I never imagined that it would make me *ill*. Which in hindsight, was pretty stupid.
Of course, it wasn’t just my diet that had gone to pot whilst I was revising. I wasn’t sleeping – with stress and joint pain keeping me up all night… I wasn’t always remembering to drink enough, despite being only meters from a tap… And I wasn’t exercising, because I was just sat working at a table all day…This, all in all, probably led to my scary incident the weekend before my exam.
Since I hadn’t been sleeping during the night, I’d take naps when I finally reached exhaustion (don’t tell me, I know this already sounds pretty bad). After waking up after one such nap, I felt this awful crampy pain in my stomach, and made my way to the toilet. Don’t worry, I’ll try not to get too graphic here, but I basically went to the toilet, and I just felt so hot, my head so heavy, that I *had* to take off all of my clothes. I know, I know. This is already getting weird, and I’m sorry. But that is what happened. I stood up, and suddenly, even though my eyes were wide open, I couldn’t see anything. My vision was black and starry and I couldn’t see a damn thing.
I’d seen stars a few times before when standing up, like after having a bath, so I didn’t panic at first. But when my vision just wasn’t coming back, I realised something wasn’t right. I was desperately stretching my eyes as open as they could go, but I still couldn’t see. I grabbed a towel (because, hello, nakedness), and groped along the hallway, calling for help. I was like this for about ten minutes all in all. Okay, ten minutes isn’t a particularly long time, but when you can’t see a thing, it feels like a lifetime. My poor dad found me, and I must have looked pretty comical – stumbling around in a towel with my eyes open, trying to explain how I couldn’t see anything. He made me sit down and eventually, my vision came back.
Now cue the panicking from my parents, and emergency dash to my doctors’ surgery. I literally cannot thank my doctor, Dr McDonnel, enough. The poor woman had to listen to me describe my pain, bowel movements, crap diet, and take various measurements. Turned out I had very low blood pressure when I stood up, and my doctor kindly told me that I needed to look after myself better. I felt really bad to be honest, and like a bit of a failure.
So now I’m taking extra steps to actually make sure that I’m fulfilling my body’s basic needs (look at me being an adult!). I eat breakfast now – with lots of fibre (wooo). I am trying to eat more fruit and vegetables (yay). I am remembering to drink (go me). If anything similar happens to you, sit down until your vision comes back (my doctor said it’s because you are close to fainting), and then go talk to a doctor to get your blood pressure measured. My doc said it was the right thing to go see her about it.
But surely, I can’t be the only person who neglects things while they’re revising? So I’m sharing this slightly embarrassing story of the time I had a painful poo that made me go blind, so that maybe you’ll start to look after yourself better. Now go have a drink or some fruit, you revision monster!