Getting over my romance novel prejudices, and embracing what those love stories could teach me about writing and radical self-acceptance.

When I was young — probably around 12 years old — my father caught me in the romance aisle at the bookstore. I had grabbed a novel full of warriors…


Seeking the opinion of another medical expert can cut deeper than your initial diagnosis.

At my last appointment with my neurologist, I sat and listened as she said what I imagine to be one of the most vulnerable, frustrating, and honest things a physician can say to a patient.

I’m…


Finally coming to terms with what it means to be defined by illness and the dangers of false equivalence.

Last week, I read this quote on This Thing They Call Recovery’s Instagram page:

“I am defined and limited by my chronic illness, but it is not the total sum of…


Chronic illness seriously complicates the role money plays in our lives.

In my July post, “Reimagine Work,” I wrote the following:

“A 2019 study noted that approximately 530,000 bankruptcies are filed annually in the U.S. because of “debt accrued due to a medical illness.” That is almost 4% of the…


In honor of Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day on October 7th, it’s my responsibility to use my voice to raise awareness, understanding, and empathy for this condition that changed my life overnight.

This coming Wednesday is Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) Awareness Day. Before 2017, I had never heard of TN, forget considering…


There are things I wish you could understand about living with chronic illness.

When I’m asked about my chronic illness, I become matter-of-fact. I defer to facts and data over my own experience and feelings.

When I’m asked about my chronic illness, I say that trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a…


Chronic illness sharpened my understanding of ableism. But until recently, I didn’t know the degree to which I had internalized ableist narratives.

Last month, while watching to an IGTV interview between chronic illness advocates Karolina Chorvath and Nikita Chopra, I heard the term “internalized ableism” for probably only the second…


A letter of apology — and appreciation — on the third anniversary of my onset of trigeminal neuralgia.

To my chronically ill Body,

For too long, my love for you was only skin deep. I saw you purely as an aesthetic object — a poor one at that — and…


What does it mean to feel betrayed by your body when you live with chronic illness?

The person I was before my diagnosis with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) feels like a version of myself from a parallel universe. That version of myself is fearless and tireless; she is disciplined and hyper-productive…


Who would we be without books — and where we experience them?

Last month, my local Barnes & Noble shut its doors for good. My brother photographed and sent me the notice taped to its front door. Grudgingly, I had known this would happen; it was only a matter of…

Nisha Kumar Kulkarni

freelance writer & editor | writing coach | chronic illness advocate

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