Progress has Diminished

I’ve been working on my PhD for 9 months now and I have completely ran out of ink. (I haven’t really had any ink for the past 8 months but let’s keep that between us.) From the above picture, it looks as though I have at least used some ink. However the ink has only created endless doodles. You would think I would have perfected my drawing of a cloud/tree/house/hill/flower by now, but I haven’t. My art is still crap and so is my PhD progress.

At the start of my PhD I attended a good workshop by Hugh Kearns called ‘How to plan your doctorate’. I am going to dig out my notes from this in the hope that I can start working. Hugh is part of ‘ThinkWell’ which uses research to help students/academics to achieve their maximum productivity. There are lots of good, and free, resources which may help which you can access here

Perhaps it is unsurprising that I am not working…I can barely get up sometimes. The toxic mix of mental and physical health problems cements me in my own body. I need something to change. If only I could go out and buy a pack of ink and then productivity would ensue. Alas the ink is merely an analogy.

So my plan is to break it all down and make very small goals. Hopefully these will be more achievable and I will begin to see some progress. Goals for today:

  • Make tea
  • Drink tea
  • Make another cup of tea
  • Drink another cup of tea
  • Check emails
  • Reply to 1 email
  • Read 1 paragraph of the ‘journal club’ article
  • More tea?

It’s a start.

Perfect hardware Discovery

It’s my second week of a part-time PhD and I am exhausted. Words are insufficient to describe how tired my body and mind feel. However I am amazed at the services available to make doctoral study available to people who have a range of difficulties. I had an hour meeting with the assistive technology support in the library. I walked away from the appointment with a range of software to help my vision, a bendy keyboard and the strangest ‘mouse’ I have ever seen:

tech

The device below the keyboard is the ‘mouse’! It uses a slider bar to move the cursor which you can press to click, a trackball to scroll and buttons that you press once for: copy, paste and double click. I never knew these types of hardware existed! Perfect!

Since developing MS life feels and looks different. I would not be able to engage with my studies if I did not adjust things to cater for these changes. It sounds like it has been easy getting to this stage but it hasn’t. I’ve been through a whole range of different emotions: anger, denial, depression, and at times acceptance. Sometimes I flitter through these stages all on one day but the important thing that I remind myself is that acceptance is there somewhere – even if it is small some days. With the help of the assistive software and hardware I feel more confident in my abilities and can see myself coping with the doctoral study.