Monday, September 24, 2012

Being a doctoral student with chronic pain

Starbucks disposable cup stained with pink lipstick and chocolate from my morning mocha
Starbucks cup stained with lipstick & mocha
Since I've been busy with school, work, coping, and being under the weather, I'll leave you all with this image that seems to sum up my current experience as a doctoral student with chronic pain.  A significant portion of my budget is dedicated to emergency caffeine (usually in the form of Starbucks because it's near my office), hence the cup.  A mocha is my usual preferred caffeine intake mechanism as it provides enough substance in my stomach to be able to handle pain medication when I'm hurting too much to eat properly.  The lipstick is significant because I generally only wear makeup when I'm really struggling with pain.  The messiness of both the chocolate stains (some from carrying it from the student union to my office, some from sipping it between phone calls) and the lipstick stains remind me of how messy my life is on the days I hurt, how my brain is sometimes just a mash of colors that might be pretty where they "ought" to be, and the lid representing how I would normally try to keep everything hidden if I could.

Coffee mess as art....


  1. Hi there I am also a graduate student with chronic pain and I am writing a dissertation on this subject matter. I was wondering if you have more work on this subject....

    1. Hi Hilary. There is some more on the new blog portal through Wordpress that you might want to look at (I've been pretty low on spoons, so I haven't been posting as much as I used to). I'm pretty sure that all the other guest blogs that I've written about chronic pain has been put on either this page or the Wordpress site. I've also started a Facebook support group for sick & disabled scholars (professors, grad students, independent scholars, people that might be too ill/disabled to pursue formal scholarship, et al). Check that out too if you're interested :-)