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Coping with depression whilst doing a PhD

Hi Rebel

If you do a search on this forum you will find a number of posts on this topic.

In my opinion, PhD study is what I call "Depression-ogenic" (i.e. causes feelings of depression) because it is frustrating, lonely and difficult. Also, PhD study attracts bright, intense sorts of people, and I think these are often the sorts of people prone to depression.

You are doing well to find the sorts of things that work for you, such as exercise and counselling and so on. One of the nuggets of advice that I took from this forum, I would post the link if I could find it, was that if you do suffer from depression and you are going to study for a PhD, to grab whatever support you can find that works for you, be that talking therapy, medication, exercise, reading self-help books, yoga...whatever...I try to see depression as an obstacle but not a barrier and to take active steps not to let it get on top of me.

During my MSc I was struggling quite a lot so I went to the Director of Postgraduate Studies for my department and explained everything. He was not directly involved in my course so was able to give some more practical advice. Regarding the prospect of losing your place and the depression affecting your studies, what he said to me was, that account cannot be taken for difficulties retrospectively. So if I did not achieve the required grade in my MSc assessments, and subsequently told the course director that I had been having difficulties, the grade could not have been altered to account for this, but if I told the course director early, then this could be taken into account in the assessment process. It might be worth finding out whether a similar procedure operates where you are? I didn't have to tell the MSc course director the specific details but I had the support of the GP and was able to say that the GP could submit evidence of extenuating circumstances, if these were needed.

If you don't want to ask your Director of Postgraduate Studies, the councilor might know the procedure where you are?

Good luck with it all, you are definitely not alone!

Ejc x

What did you want to be when you were little?

I have wanted to be, variously, an Olympic swimmer, a Radio DJ, a high-powered businesswoman with seven children, a biochemist, a medic, and a researcher.

I have a few still to go, including Yoga instructor. (That's my current back-up plan, if this scientist thing doesn't work out...)


What aspect?/What software?

the post christmas chocolate mountain dilema..

I went for re-gifting. Alternatively sharing with fellow PhDers is a good one...perhaps send to the PGF team as a thank-you?

Goals for next year?

Pass my upgrade. (MPhil student status-> PhD student status)

Ever wonder if we know each other?

I had a go with those two search engines, and found less than I find via Google. *shrugs*

Ever wonder if we know each other?

Not quite the same, but I once spotted someone who posted on here, posting on a different forum. I messaged them to ask if they were the same person...and they were...I don't know them at all, but the posts on the two forums (under different names) were similar in style and content.

I found this quite spooky - I wasn't actively stalking but made the connection. It made me wary of my own non-anonymity.

i got drunk and am now mortified


Hi Maria

Just wanted to say, things aren't that bad. Many people have gotten drunk at parties and regretted it the next day. What happened is almost uncertainly a bigger deal in your mind than in anyone else's.

I really know the "so mortified I want to die" feeling, as no doubt do many others. I hope that in a few days you will feel a less terrible! Also the "so mortified I want to die" feeling is so much worse when you are still hungover (I'm making an assumption here!) - when you feel a bit better you mind be less harsh on yourself.

Hang in there!

ejc x

Logistic Regression

Quote From Buttercup1984:

Hi both,

Thanks so much for your replies. Im interested in finding out if cognitive function (continuous IV) predicts work status (working / not working)

Thank youuuuu!!!!

AFAIK, yes you can model this relationship in this way, but the validity of your model depends on a lot of things (sample size and so on). Probably the book that walminskipeas mentioned will cover checking the fit of your model - such things are covered in the book I have, which I would equally offer to send you, only it does not belong to me but to the library. Most of the contents of the book is on Google Books though:


Logistic Regression

I'm not an expert, but...what do you mean by "OK" ? Are you able to give any more details about what it is you are modelling the relationship between?

phd and dating

Quote From jinkim65:

======= Date Modified 26 Nov 2009 14:00:17 =======
I'm in my third year of my PhD and an currently writing up. I've been with my partner for 8 years and really don't think I would have got to where I am without him. I think, as with everything, it all comes down to how you manage your priorities. To me, while I am extremely ambitious (I think all PhDers must be), my ambition means nothing unless I have someone to share it with. My OH isn't in academia at all... in fact the thought of going back to uni for him is a huge no no. I love that I can talk to him about stuff completely unrelated to what I do. I love listening to his stories and getting impartial advice from him if I'm ever stressed. I don't feel at all like having him there hinders my productivity. I made the decision at the start that my PhD work would not interfere with my personal life, and that has worked well for us. In fact, at times when I'm stressed he'll be the one encouraging me to work in the evening or do a few hours over the weekend. He wants me to succeed just as much as I want to and I find that a huge motivator. If I fail, I've failed him as well. He's also more than happy to move where ever I go to once I finish.

I realise I sound like a huge sap here, but the point I'm trying to get across is that it doesn't have to be hard work being in a relationship and doing a PhD. Obviously it's different for everyone, and maybe I've just been really lucky, but I think they key to having a successful relationship and getting a PhD comes down to how you manage your priorities and your partner realising that you have more than just them to prioritise. It's about compromise I guess. It may be different when dating, but I can't really comment on that.


Thanks for posting that. I was about to post something along the same lines.

I feel that being in a relationship is a huge source of support for me. The pressures of postgraduate study are such that I feel I would have struggled more without him there.

I frequently read doom-and-gloom opinions regarding mixing academia with a relationship, but I suspect you could find such stories in any demanding career.


Quote From heifer:

Sugar free polos - only 80 calories in the whole packet.

I hope you don't eat them all at once, surely that would give you the trots?

Don't get me started on chewing gum though, I can get through a pack a day :-o

Drink coffee or tea instead? The making it is a nice break. Or herbal tea? (Does that fall into the same catagory as hummus?)

Eat lots of fruit (but can make a sticky mess over the keyboard)

PhD and feelings of inadequacy

Quote From starshine:

I'm only 7 months in, but I feel like this constantly! Despite getting a 2.1 in my undergrad and a distinction at MSc I feel like I am waiting constantly for my supervisor to realise that he's made a huge mistake in offering me a place in his lab and ask me to leave straight away!

In fact sometimes I feel like just telling him he's made a mistake, and to save the time I'll just leave!!!!

No matter how much people say "oh well, I've always felt like this too etc etc" I still feel that it's just me and that I really am not good enough to be here! Some days are worse then others though, and on the very odd moment I do think; "yeah, I can do this" but that usually rapidly changes back to "no I can't"!!!!!

In addition, every criticism from my supervisor or post docs in my lab I take as a personal rejection almost, and it takes me days to get over it and move on. My poor boyfriend must hate me getting feedback at work with all the moaning I do to him!!!!!!!!

I have no words of advice I'm afraid! In fact, I could do with some myself so if anyone does have any...........

I could have written this, especially the part about telling the supervisor he has made a mistake - so the two of you, Pineapple and starshine, are definitely not alone! I think that I have to try to accept that this feeling/sense of inadequacy is part of the process and not likely to go away, and try not to get too distressed about it. It's how I feel, but not how things are, if that makes sense.

Feeling like you haven't got 'the basics'

Quote From magictime:

You know how everything's supposed to 'click' when you reach a certain stage in your learning and begin to see how topics that used to seem unrelated all fit together?

Is it?

I'm still waiting

Seriously, if I were you, and I had some time, I would spend some time reading the topics that you are concerned about? If you feel that the BA in your prospective department covers ground you wish you had covered, why not get in touch with your prospective sup and ask for a reading list or some of the materials. Material from an undergraduate course may well be accessible to you as you have managed to get a distinction in your Masters (congratulations (up) ) whilst suffering from the uncertainties you describe.

I'm not suggesting that you need to do this to make the grade, more that it might put your mind at rest and also if I have understood your post correctly such material should be of interest to you in a more general sense (i.e. it is the topic of your PhD).

Good luck and enjoy the summer!


Mortgages and studentships

Bummer - we will probably find the same problem as you then.

I do agree that it is frustrating when people in a poorer financial position that you are now have been given large loans in the past.

(And I agree that putting in an offer if you don't have an Agreement in Principle is not on - we weren't planning to do that!)