Last year, I experienced mental illness for the first time due to a series of life events. At first, I didn’t know what was going on or how to label it. Individual psychotherapy helped me identify that I was likely experiencing depression and anxiety. I spoke with a psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis and obtained the right medication. The diagnosis itself was at first terrifying to hear. But after living with untreated mental illness for several months, I was comforted by finally knowing what was wrong, because I could now properly address it. My subsequent Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) sessions focused specifically on tackling depression and anxiety, which have been extraordinarily helpful. In my case, identifying the problem at hand, followed by undergoing targeted therapy and taking medication to address it, has proven to be a successful overall approach to tackling it.Read More »
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 »