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TheatrePlode
Sunday, 23 September 2018 at 7:43pm
Sunday, 23 September 2018 at 10:42pm
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Thread: Leave of Absence advice

posted
23-Oct-18, 19:28
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posted about 4 months ago
You do have a point about the "appropriate" thing, I need to stop with the line of thinking.

As I understand it, I won't get paid during the leave of absence (though I could be wrong), I was asking if I should apply for jobs before getting the leave or wait till I get the leave.

Sorry if it's confusing! I feel in my head that I will probably end up quitting eventually, but I don't want to entirely close myself off, though I think that's more from a sense of duty than actually wanting the PhD.

Thread: Leave of Absence advice

posted
23-Oct-18, 10:50
edited about 13 seconds later
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posted about 4 months ago
Hi, I've posted before abut my severe depression and anxiety (which is getting worse) and that I was thinking of quitting. I've been thinking of taking a leave of absence instead, to give me time to get better and really think if I want the PhD, and I have a few questions:

1. Is it appropriate when only been doing the PhD for 5 weeks and had a 2 week holiday? The holiday I booked for myself because I was ill and was too ashamed to go off-sick, I actually briefly calmed down over the two weeks, but it spiked back up when I returned. I feel awful because I've only put 3 weeks into the PhD, but I'm also constantly battling with my mental health.
2. Should I apply for jobs before or after applying for a leave of absence? (Only asking because they can refuse your request).

Thank you for any advice!

Thread: How to talk to your supervisor about depression

posted
30-Sep-18, 17:13
edited about 2 seconds later
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posted about 5 months ago
Quote From pm133:
TheatrePlode, you have two issues here as far as I can tell from your posts. Firstly whether you should do the PhD at all and secondly what to do to support yourself if you quit.
I think you need to separate them because fear of the second issue is forcing a decision on the first issue.

I think you probably don't want to do the PhD. I think you have burnt out. Look in a mirror and ask yourself out loud whether you even want to do a PhD? Forget about alternatives for a moment and resolve this issue first. You can always do a PhD a few years from now.

Having made that decision(assuming you want to quit) the second issue simply becomes a matter of choosing a job. Consider something as stressfree as possible for 12 months to give your brain a chance to calm down a bit. You need much less money to survive than most people think.

Your mental health may not improve until you free yourself from the rat race you are in.


I think you've managed to sum up the feelings I'm having pretty well, I think I need a year of low-pressure work to calm down. Thanks for the advice!

Thread: How to talk to your supervisor about depression

posted
27-Sep-18, 10:10
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posted about 5 months ago
Quote From melodie:
I'm sorry to hear your struggling with your anxiety at the moment, and I think it is very sensible for you to be considering the most beneficial way of moving forward. I think honesty is indeed best, as the effort of covering up your anxiety may leave you even more anxious, and make you feel like it is something that needs to be hidden when you should never feel ashamed of having an illness, like any other illness. Of course there are levels of honesty, so it's not to say you have to divulge all the details, and you can still keep it in formal work language if you want to lower the feelings of baring you soul.

Obviously it's true that not all supervisors are understanding, but there should be university support services in place so that if you ever do face unfair treatment you can seek support or even have such behaviour challenged. Of course its easier to say any of this than do it, and I actually quit my first PhD in the first few weeks as I was deep into mental health struggles and just not ready. However I started another a year later and have always been honest about my mental health issues, and though it's not always easy I think a PhD is still perfectly possible with mental health problems, and in fact sadly quite a large % of PhDs suffer from them!


I have been thinking of quitting, I don't feel ready at all and I can't even motivate myself to read at the moment. But then I don't know what to do in the meantime, can I ask, if it isn't too personal, how you supported yourself in your time out?

Thread: How to talk to your supervisor about depression

posted
25-Sep-18, 21:40
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posted about 5 months ago
Hi,

I just started my PhD (last week in fact), and today I went on antidepressants. For a bit of background: My masters was fun, but I used it to cover my mental health issues, a family member committed suicide, and I felt a PhD was the best thing to do after my masters (whether it actually is or not I'm really beginning to question) as I had previously had unemployment issues and I thought a PhD was a good way to continue learning. I got diagnosed with anxiety in the summer, and I have a long history of mental health issues.

I've rationalized with my supervisor that I need time off because I had no break between MSc and PhD, and that it's stressing me out, but I don't know him well enough to approach the subject of depression. I'm having two weeks off starting end of next week, but I really needed more time off as I'm quite mentally ill. I'm scared he will have a bad opinion of me: that I'm workshy or lazy, or crazy. I can't even bear the thought of going into university right now, I had to leave early today because I couldn't stop crying.

It's made me question ever starting this PhD, I don't think I'm mentally equipped to do one, and I think my motivations weren't good enough and my passions are else-where. There's a big part of me that wants to take a year interrupt and just work to see. But I also feel my depression is making me consider silly decisions. I feel awful, this is meant to be a really special opportunity, I'm really well funded and a friend of mine is desperate to be in my position, but I'm flagging already. I've even been looking into low-pressure jobs in case I decide to quit.

I know this is a complex situation, but any advice?

Thread: Help with starting out on PhD

posted
25-Sep-18, 17:55
edited a moment later
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posted about 5 months ago
Quote From rewt:
TAKE A HOLIDAY!!!

You have just finished your Masters and the stress of submitting the Master's thesis is hard. I had a friend in the same position, who didn't take a holiday and got massive burnout. Your supervisor should understand this and taking 1-2 weeks out now won't matter. But it gives you a chance to recharge and "have a life". Taking it now also allows you to relax without knowing what you are missing. That ability to forget your PhD is lovely (I miss it)

You might come back felling better or felling worse but I can assure you that you won't feel better by slogging through. Don't waste this opportunity because you were too stubborn to take a holiday.


Yeah I'm submitting a holiday request for two weeks, I definitely need a break! Luckily my supervisor agreed and fit his own schedule around it. But I do feel quite ashamed.

Thread: Help with starting out on PhD

posted
23-Sep-18, 19:51
edited about 28 seconds later
Avatar for TheatrePlode
posted about 5 months ago
Hi,

I started my PhD last Tuesday, after finishing my Masters last Monday (yeah, zero gap!) and I have been STRUGGLING to cope, to the point I'm already seeking counselling and considering my option if I quit.

Does anyone had any advice? I'm struggling to cope with the lack of structure, of knowing (or not knowing) whats expected of me and with the prospect that this might take over my life, when I really don't want it to.

I also have that world-famous, constant feeling that I have no idea what the hell I'm doing, but does anyone also have advice for dealing with this? I'm terrified to start lab work, terrified of having no experimental design, or even things as simple as working the machines or thinking of an appropriate experiment, and my supervisor wants lab work to start within the month.

I've spoken with admin/pastoral care and we all agreed I need a holiday (yet to talk to supervisor), especially with taking no break between MSc and PhD, but I'm scared that I'll just feel as terrible when I come back off leave.

I'm debating whether I've come onto a PhD for the right reasons, I can't even think of the reasons I wanted a PhD in the first place anymore.
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