The Ugly Truth

How many times have you heard the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” or “you gotta nourish to flourish?” 🍶Well let me put my social work hat on 🎩 and let you know that it’s true. We are no good to anyone or anything else if we do not take care of ourselves first.

As a student who transitioned from bachelors to masters to PhD with no breaks in between, when I began my program I partially thought I was at an advantage because I had not become accustomed to life outside of being a student. Therefore, I thought no readjustment would be necessary since I was still in “school mode.” However, I was soon to realize that the PhD is a monster of its own and it does not matter if you’ve gone straight through or taken breaks in between, it is still a highly stressful and anxiety producing process that requires adjustment. While this may not be the case for all, I would like to share with you the Ugly Truths of my journey and what I’ve found to be the most effective for me.

Ugly Truth #1

One of the constants in life is change. Over the course of three years my vision has changed twice. Now we all know glasses are not cheap, so I haven’t been the happiest camper when it comes to this. However, I realize that I do a lot of reading and my nearsightedness combined with reading articles from my computer screen is like oil and vinegar, the two just don’t mix. As time has progressed I have found comfort in wearing my glasses opposed to contacts so that I may take off my glasses to read 👓. Additionally, I’ve found that printing articles and/or readings is most comfortable to me opposed to reading from my computer or iPad 📰📚. While I also realize that this method is not the most eco-friendly approach, I have to do what works best for me.

eye chart with glasses on it. slight cyan tintmore images like this:

Ugly Truth #2

Research shows that migraines and headaches are somewhat normal, however, it is not normal to have them as frequently as I have. While I’ve seen a specialist for this matter I still have yet to discover the source of my onsets, even with keeping a journal, changing my diet, and exercising. My two theories are that they are the result of my vision (due to the above stated issue and sensitivity to light), and probably mostly due to stress. Upon keeping track of my experiences and working with my Doctor, I was prescribed preventive and pain-relieving medication and I can honestly say that the prevalence of these instances has decreased tremendously.

While there is no cure for stress, since stressors are also constants in life, self care is essential 🔑. As we all carry stress differently, I have found that I carry mine in my neck, shoulders, and back. For the past two years I’ve had membership at Massage Envy, and from the consistent work of my massage therapist I feel as though I receive a reset on each visit, and I know that a heating pad and thermal blanket will work wonders to relieve my tension.

Lessons Learned

  1. Do what works for you and is comfortable to you…do not allow discomfort to impede your productivity.
  2. Take care of your body…if something does not feel right get it checked out. Also, make sure to see your Doctors annually.
  3. Identify how you carry your stress…create a contingency plan and stick with it.
  4. Take time for yourself…Mind, Body, and Soul. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup ☕️, nourishment is essential for growth.

Personal Update

My summer class has come to an end and now I finally have time to focus on my other summer and personal obligations. I know some may be wondering why I’m still taking classes at this point in my program, and I’ll let you all in on that story a little later, but it’s unrelated to my Public Affairs PhD program. For the past few weeks I’ve been working on my IRB protocol and I must admit that it’s not the simplest process (especially for a first timer), but the end is near 🙌🏽. Once this is done I’ll move on to completing the other tasks that were on my Summer To-Do list and enjoy a little vacation as a form of self care to close out the summer 💛.

Motivational Scripture 🙏🏽

1 Corinthians 10:13- “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can bear. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”



  1. Rosa McCarthy
    July 21, 2019 / 6:01 pm

    I finally was able to sit and read one of your blogs…and I come to find myself in Awwww.. I’m overly proud of you …There were many great points in here that I can really relate to…Thanks for all the concluding decisions you’ve made…Points well taken….You keep focusing and I’ll keep praying for you 😘😘😘…I really NEEDED THIS ONE..Hats off

    • rachaeldmack
      August 7, 2019 / 1:14 pm

      Thank you Cousin Rosa, I appreciate your support and I’m glad that you were able to relate. Much love

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