This blog shares my experiences and milestones as I navigate the challenging yet rewarding path of earning my PhD. This journey isn’t just about documenting successes; it’s also about acknowledging setbacks. In early June 2023, I encountered a significant obstacle—a back injury. This unforeseen setback tested my resilience, impacting various aspects of my life, including my ability to attend university. In this blog post, I will share my journey of coping with immense pain, adapting my work routine, and finding solace in the healing power of nature.

The Diagnosis:

Following debilitating back pain, I sought medical assistance, which led to an MRI scan. The results confirmed the presence of two herniated discs, specifically in the L5 and L4 regions of my spine. The severity of the condition became evident as the pain permeated every aspect of my life. Simple tasks became agonizing, and attending university in person was no longer feasible. I was left with no choice but to work remotely for the past month, and unfortunately, I had to cancel my plans to attend conferences, missing out on valuable networking opportunities.

Working through Pain:

Writing my thesis draft amidst excruciating pain presented a unique challenge. Every sentence typed was accompanied by a surge of discomfort, yet I was determined to make progress. With a combination of grit, perseverance, and numerous pain management techniques, I soldiered on. Physical therapy, regular visits to an osteopath, and medication formed a crucial part of my healing journey. However, despite these efforts, the pain reached a plateau, leaving me uncertain about the road ahead.

Navigating Emotional Turmoil:

The emotional toll of this setback cannot be underestimated. Some days, I find solace and acceptance, understanding that healing takes time. On other days, however, I’m overcome by sadness and a sense of hopelessness. It is during these challenging moments that I turn to mindfulness practices to support my mental well-being. Guided meditations specifically tailored for healing have been instrumental in keeping me grounded. Furthermore, my daily nature walks have become a lifeline, rejuvenating my spirit and providing a temporary respite from the physical and emotional pain.

The Healing Power of Nature:

Recently, I relocated to an area near water, and the rhythmic sounds of flowing water have become a source of solace during this trying period. The symphony of nature’s melodies has brought me a deep sense of peace and tranquility. As I stand by the water’s edge, I find solace in the gentle whispers of the wind, the soothing chirping of birds, and the gentle lapping of waves. These harmonious sounds have not only provided respite from the pain but have also inspired me to pursue my PhD research in nature soundscapes as a catalyst for relaxation and well-being.

Moving Forward:

Although my back injury has challenged me both physically and emotionally, it has also allowed me to explore new dimensions of resilience and determination. I am committed to healing, both in body and mind, and I will continue to work tirelessly on my PhD writing. While the path ahead remains uncertain, I take solace in the healing power of nature, knowing that my personal journey serves as a living testament to the potential of nature soundscapes to promote relaxation and well-being.

My journey through a back injury during my PhD has taught me valuable lessons about resilience, adaptability, and the healing power of nature. It has reminded me that setbacks are an inevitable part of any journey, and while they may temporarily slow us down, they do not define our ultimate success. As I heal and continue my work, I draw strength from the sounds of nature, the symphony of tranquility that renews my spirit and reminds me of the beauty that surrounds us. By sharing my story, I hope to inspire others facing similar challenges to find solace in the healing embrace of nature and to persevere in their own unique journeys.