Recently, a group of academics from around the world, none of whom I had ever met in person, sang happy birthday to me by video chat. The rendition was terrible. Video lag meant that they were out of time with each other and, as is the way with these things, more than one person was out of tune. But you know what? It absolutely made my day!Read More »
In graduate school, I honestly always thought that once I defended my thesis and was awarded my PhD, that some light bulb of knowledge would switch on in my brain and I would feel as smart as everyone else around me. In hindsight, I suspect I was able to use that justification as a means to shield myself from facing the fact that I ultimately lacked confidence in myself. As a result of this lack of self-confidence I also lacked assertiveness personally and professionally. A lack of assertiveness is not often associated with men, but we do experience it. I still struggle with a lack of self-confidence but having finally acknowledged it I am now actively working to fix it.Read More »
Please be aware that this blog mentions suicide ideation.
I am writing this blog to highlight my Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) journey – how I discovered it and got help, as it takes up a lot of my life, and it has certainly affected my employment and PhD.
The build-up to a diagnosis
I don’t know when it all started exactly, but I realised it when I was 26, living alone, working full-time in industry. Taking the leap to speak to my boyfriend at the time about how I was feeling is the reason I am writing this from a happy place. What sticks with me the most are the words he said to me: “It’s kinda monthly.“Read More »
“I’m dying.” “Why can’t I breathe?” “What is happening to me?”
These are the thoughts that were running through my head as I gasped for oxygen. It happened so fast, it was a blur. One moment I had been actively listening to my client telling me about their issues and then when I had asked what brought them here, their answer, “Oh, I don’t want to be here.” sent my body into overdrive. It hit like a ton of bricks. My hands were shaking and clammy, my heart rate was racing, tears flowed uncontrollably, and my vision blurred. It was so, so hard to breathe, as if I had an elephant sitting on my chest. And it was almost twice as humiliating as we were in the middle of our role-playing clinical interviews class, where I was the therapist and one of my cohort was the patient, with our professor watching from the next room. I was playing the role of the therapist, that means I’m supposed to be in control, right? But I wasn’t. Not even close.Read More »
This blog has been adapted from an essay appearing in the March 2020 issue, with permission from the author, from the student magazine CNS Newsletter. Check it out here.
When I started my PhD, I treated my project as my ‘baby’ and enthusiastically embarked onto working long days and equally long nights. I distinctly remember cycling home from the lab at 3am on Unter den Linden, intoxicated by the sweet perfume of the linden trees and a rush I could not explain at that time. I had a feeling that I was finally doing the right thing in order to succeed—the thing which was presented to me as a necessity and hence expected of me. Now, results were bound to follow. This meant that nobody, not even my self-distrusting mind, could say I wasn’t putting enough effort in, should the results not roll in. I continued doing this for about half a year, across pilot experiments and until I fully delineated my research plan for my PhD project, and, after few months off for a break, where I felt inexplicably lacking in energy, I continued to do this for three more years.Read More »