Self-Care in Grad School Is HARD

The title says it all. Being a full time graduate student–especially a PhD student–with a part time job (an assistanceship) is stress full enough. Throwing in chronic illness(es) which have been demanding extra self-care . . . well, sometimes I’m not sure how I manage; but I do.

Today was a particularly bad day. I went to bed in a lot of pain, and woke up in a lot of pain. The sharp, tugging right side pain that runs from my along my belly-button down to my pubic bone never disappeared after surgery, although it did ease up some and become more intermittent. But now it is returning to near daily pain, though thankfully not constant. This morning it was bad enough to make me nauseous. I went to class, with a professor I find frustrating, and while the pain dissipated over the three-hours, my fatigue and poor mood only grew. When I returned home that afternoon, I received a new bill from my surgery, identical to the previous one I had received a few months ago. The problem was, my surgeon’s office filed it incorrectly with my insurance company the first time (he was out-of-network), so I expected this new bill to be different- and far less money. But it wasn’t. And when I called his office, the person who handles billing was out for the day. (I have a lot of anxiety about making phone calls, so finding out the call I made today was for not, and I have to call again tomorrow (ON MY BIRTHDAY! THE DAY I AGE OFF MY LOVELY-WONDERFUL-AMAZING INSURANCE AND HAVE TO SWITCH TO THE BASICALLY MINIMAL INSURANCE MY UNIVERSITY OFFERS TO GRADUATE STUDENTS BECAUSE THAT’S ALL I CAN AFFORD)) was hard blow.That only sent me into a worse depressive episode.

Of course then, getting motivated to do the mountain of classwork, plus personal scholarship I have waiting for me… well was pretty impossible. My husband thankfully pulled me out of a tailspin, but I knew it was on me after that to take some time for self-care- focusing on things that elevate my mood and keep me from tail-spinning again. Self-care that has led to guilt over not doing coursework or scholarship related activities.

It’s a vicious cycle. A cycle that on one hand makes me feel guilty for publishing here and feel as if I’m being a poor student; and on the other hand lets me get these feelings off my chest, share my experiences, and offers a degree of emotional self-care.

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