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PhD and Depression


I am also in a similar position, in the end I had to give in to my depression which was making me physically ill and write tell my supervisor about my situation. I went home and to cut a long story short the uni have suspended my studies for 6 months which means effectively a fresh start if/when i go back (was 6mnths in at the time).

At the end of the day dont feel overburdened to the uni or sup. there is more to life and feeling like crap all the time aint great, although taking time off wont necessarily stop those feelings.

All the best

Advice for a unhappy candidate

OK, so I just sent my sup a detailed, honest email about things. I thought this was to be the best approach so I could be clear about things without them being cloaked in emotions. Essentially I told them about my situation warts and all, about my illness (and i now definitely believe that depression is an illness).

It was hard to press send, but now its done and out there. In terms of being gentle with myself I am going to try, probably starting with going home and sitting in front of the fire with the dog. Suddenly i think I know that a ohd really isnt the most important thing in life, its a good thing but not for me at the moment.

Thanks Satchi your great.

Advice for a unhappy candidate

Hi Athena and Satchi,

Thank you both for your thoughts,I really appreciate them.

Since that post things have moved on slightly, I got in the lab and tinkered around with a few things and have a vague plan but I'm not convincing myself completely with it yet. Trying to take things day by day but whilst having an eye on the bigger picture, I know these things are supposed to evolve. It's just so frustrating not being able to make clear decisions or do simple tasks with the confidence and single-mindedness I used to be able to work with. I have received help for my depression (after years of ignoring it) and have now started on the Prozac, its a somewhat weird time for me, acknowledging my issues and knowing that I cant just push on through them anymore.

I agree I must speak to my supervisor about this but as you can understand the fear of judgement and tainting myself is quite great. My doctor has offered to sign me off for a while, I declined as I have so much to do, I think that might of been a mistake!

I hate wasting great opportunities like I have at the moment, that's where my difficulty lies, I have a world of interest at my feet, although I suppose it shouldn't be difficult. Taking time to get healthy is most likely more important for me at the moment. Tbh I am scared about how to broach this with my supervisor!

thanks x

Advice for a unhappy candidate


Sorry this might be a long one but thanks for taking the time to read this..

As far as my situation goes I am nearing 5 months into my phd which I went into after completing my research masters. This may sound like a rushed decision but I really love research and knew that I was doing good work and wanted to keep the ball rolling. Trouble is I was given a studentship without being given a topic or predetermined project, this includes not even the vaguest plan from my supervisory team.

I admit I was well aware of this but thought that there would be some support in deriving a topic and plan, i.e something in the mind of my supervisor that he had wanted to do but not found the right person for. However I now find myself still without a defined topic or plan, not for want of trying.

To be quite honest I feel like I have made a massive mistake and it is becoming clear that really I am there because they had extra funding they did not want to loose. As a result I sit straddled between research groups that my interests really don’t cross into enough. I am a homeless, unsupported student and this is really affecting me.

I have made little tangible progress and actually envy the situation of my peers who started at the same time who at least have project which their supervisors have put some time into. I am clear about the realities of research and of conducting a phd but i really do feel like iv made the position much harder for myself in a field that is tbh rather overdone.

I'm very down, which is sometimes my natural state but this isn’t helping. I think leaving may be best so I can take a break and work out the right area for me in a department that is supportive and where my research will have a relevance.

How do I approach this with my supervisor?