What people living with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) need to know

Black-and-white ketch of an eye with long lashes; tiny blue pills on the iris and a drug molecule on the pupil are the only source of color.
Black-and-white ketch of an eye with long lashes; tiny blue pills on the iris and a drug molecule on the pupil are the only source of color.
Illustration by Christi Williams for Elemental

“I couldn’t open or close my eyes without pain. It was like salt or shards of glass… all I could do was go to bed,” said 71-year-old Beth, who was diagnosed with age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in both eyes last year.

Beth is one of 11 million Americans — a number expected to double by 2050 — suffering from this leading cause of vision loss in the developed world. …

A sleep researcher’s opinion

Photo by Artur Łuczka on Unsplash

It seems counterintuitive at first glance, but unlike other aspects of our health that we wish to improve, we often get our best sleep when we stop thinking about it so much.

It’s not that self-discipline is a bad thing. In fact, not at all. Most of us don’t spend our days held accountable by others for the things we eat, the ways we move our bodies, and the time we invest in self-care. For that reason, it’s up to us to keep on track and moving in the direction of our goals.

The trend that we’ve seen over the…

Cancer, depression, and blood clots are just the tip of the iceberg in this pharmaceutical horror story

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

I came off the birth control pill in early 2017 after an almost decade-long struggle with my health. During that time I’d navigated three different brands (Microgynon, Marvelon, and Loestrin 30), two unhealthy relationships, and more days spent feeling either numb, depressed, or suicidal than not.

It wasn’t until I’d reached rock bottom and felt I had nothing left to lose that I even began questioning whether those little pills were to blame. It felt sinister that the primary form of contraception used by women my age could be the source of such misery. But when finally the risk of…

It's such a headache. I want non-endocrine-disrupting, reef-safe, a pleasant feel on the skin, not tested on animals, cost-effective for an Arizona-dweller.... this offers some more insight, but I'm still at a loss with which is the best!

The introvert’s conundrum of bouncing back to reality

Photo by Jonathan Riley on Unsplash

Let me start by saying that I am all for getting vaccinated. Any and all vaccines — gimme. But something weird happened — emotionally, I mean — when I got injected with my first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 shot last week. I realized that I’m terrified of the next “new normal” that’s coming for me. I’m used to this one and that took long enough.

The invitation to attend my local clinic left me nothing short of excited. What an honor, I thought, to be receiving this so soon into the new year — well before anyone I knew…

Better support is needed for those in support roles

Photo by KWON JUNHO on Unsplash

It feels like it has taken a lifetime to write this. In many ways, I suppose a small lifetime has passed in the two and a half years since the relationship ended. I’ve moved to the other side of the planet, changed careers, and worked hard to put back together with the shattered pieces of myself.

I suffered alone while caring for a partner with mental illness and no one should have to do that. There’s no guidebook or manual for the role, but rather lots of learning as you go. Without adequate support, this can take a devastating toll…

The biggest lesson that 2020 has taught us

(Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash)

Maybe I should just sack it all off and sell my body on the internet. It can’t be that bloody hard, can it?

The numbers on the bottom right-hand corner of my laptop screen flashed forward to 11:00. I was at a record 56 tabs, frantically flicking between the poorly-written assignments I was grading, The Guardian’s Live Updates on the U.S. election status, and Twitter, where wars were being waged between those on either side of the bipartisan divide. It was an hour until midnight during the dreaded limbo week(ish) between presidential election day on November 3rd, and the 7th…

Because the goal is to be informed, not overwhelmed

(Photo by Nijwam Swargiary on Unsplash)

I’ve been obsessed with the news for the last 15 years. It started when I was 15, spurred by a savvy English teacher who convinced my mother at a parent-teacher conference that I should acquaint myself with independent journalism. It’d be a sure-fire way to broaden her vocabulary, she said. Only good could come of it, she said.

I think I felt indifferent at the time, preoccupied with a plethora of teenage dramas that consumed much of my mental capacity. But I started watching the BBC breakfast show while I scoffed my porridge in the mornings before school. It was…

Writing for discourse, not dictatorship

Photo by Victoria Heath

It was a political piece. Some would say that I was asking for it. But nothing I had written was new. The only difference was that I was telling it through my eyes, embellished with anecdotes from my life. So you can imagine that I was quite surprised when my thoughts on the “Invisible America” keeping Trump in power were read and shared thousands of times.

The engagement was excellent. I received plenty of thoughtful comments that were beautifully articulated. The kinds of comments that make me fall in love with Medium time and time again. I was pointed in…

Move abroad, change careers, and start living your dream

Sometimes dreams come true. There’s an element of luck involved in the hand we’re dealt, but the majority of it comes down to the decisions we make along the way. Particularly the difficult ones.

That’s a hard truth to stomach because if we look around and don’t like what we see, it’s only logical that we blame ourselves. We curse the times we under-performed, either in comparison to others or against our expectations. In the worst of times, we lament what could have been. That regret can be paralyzing in and of itself.

Society tells us that fairytales don’t exist…

Kat Kennedy

Arizona-based PhD student from Britain | Popularising science and writing about important things as well as silly things

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