I just read this blog post about PhD depression and found it super relatable. I tried to comment but couldn’t find the words. I figured that I needed to ramble a bit and eventually something would come out. So here we are. (there goes the alarm..)
I wouldn’t say that I am depressed, at least not clinically. Surely I have my bad days and damn do I feel the blues, but I wouldn’t describe it as worrying (not at the moment at least). Maybe I’m just miserable, can that be it? It sure doesn’t sound a lot better, but still. It kind of romanticises the whole thing, don’t you think? Let’s go with miserable.
So… I procrastinate heavily yes, who doesn’t? And just recently I decided to start recording videos and posting them on YouTube as a hobby, a distraction, a way to compensate for the lack of social interactions, a creative escape, call it whatever you want. It takes time and effort and I’m still not very good at it, but I enjoy doing it. And if it helps to keep me sane throughout the process of getting my degree, awesome! (So stop telling me to quit the videos and just work!)
If you have to make use of critical thinking for a living, I think you’ll understand how good it feels to have something or some kind of platform where you can just be. Don’t I worry about the repercussions? Oh my, will future employers find these videos and think less of me? Yes, I do think about that. But I don’t see the content I’m creating as nasty or shameful. Maybe a bit stupid at times, but still funny. You disagree? Anyways.
The PhD blues are a thing. I can’t remember if I have ever told you, Internet, but I have decided not to live where my University is located. I don’t regret it. This way I could stay in the country where my boyfriend lives and works, and I steer clear of the academia pressure and overall madness (sort of). There is always pressure and madness, sometimes due to other people (e.g. supervisors, colleagues), but also self-inflicted. It sure gets lonely, you feel that no one understands you nor what you do, you absolutely do not see the value in it or in yourself (it happens), you can’t stop thinking about the future and how these years are crucial (am I wasting them?), you overthink everything, you compare your life to other people who are the same age as you and immediately freak out, your productivity levels mostly fluctuate between 0 and -10, you start to wonder if the pill is also affecting your moods or if it is just the thesis, you fear that your English is getting worse by the minute (not because you live in Spain but because your brain is starting to lag), your impostor syndrome is through the roof, you start thinking that maybe you’re not smart enough (of course you’re not, gotta fake it ’til you make it, right?), you snap at people just because, you get annoyed with your boyfriend and can’t figure out why, etc. etc. etc. – This is an endless list, as we all know.
Currently my mindset is to make my life easier throughout the rest of this academic journey. Why should it be any other way? – you ask. Well, it’s pretty easy to want to do everything; submit submit submit, publish, go to conferences, present something whenever you have the chance, interview a bunch of people, take modules, go to (pseudo)relevant events to network, meet and discuss with researchers that work on similar fields, add one more topic for comparison purposes, blabla, again, I could write endless stuff that I have convinced myself in the past I absolutely needed to do. But I really don’t. Well, not to the level of insanity at least.
You know that saying about the terrible twos of babies? That it’s the age when they are the most impossible and frustrating? I’m a 2nd year grad student, maybe that’s why.
But then again, what the hell do I know about babies?