Suffering is not my Standard by Ioana Weber

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.

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Depression and Anxiety: My Abusive Love Affair with Alcohol by Daniel Lester

I guess I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember but without knowing it. From my teenage years onwards I would have episodes where I’d become irrational and reserved. I’d quit eating or sleeping for days and hide from those closest to me. I’d become frustrated by others unreasonably and would regularly self-harm. I didn’t really understand what was happening until many years later when I finished my PhD; I found a job that didn’t turn out well, and hit a wall. Since then I have been more mindful of my episodes of depression and the crippling anxiety that I regularly get when things outside of my control happen in the world.

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