Dealing with Supervisor Feedback and anxiety


I have got a very good supervisor. Recently I worked on a draft and analysis and gt a feedback as the hypothesis is not that great .
I was so disappointed I went into anxiety and could not work for days.
Is this common?
How to deal with episodes like these?


Hello. I found this a really difficult barrier to overcome. Negative feedback is in fact positive feedback, it gives us the ability to change directions and build on our ultimate goals. If you search this forum you'll find examples of students who didn't receive this feedback getting to submission point and having real difficulties having wasted time on work that doesn't fulfill the criteria they have to meet. With any job, and any work, you are never going to get everything right, and particularly in research. Research is an iterative process, no-one has the perfect hypothesis, methodology and study design form the word go, it takes time, mistakes and rethinking until the study is ready. Perhaps this helps you to re-frame how you see this feedback; rather than a criticism, it is simply a redirection towards getting it right.
For anxiety, I used to ask my supervisors to delay feedback until i felt ready to receive it. This was due to other stressful events ongoing in my life meaning that I did not ave the capacity to read feedback as intended, and instead it destroyed my self-esteem. Taking back control of when I read the feedback actually helped more than delaying it. I felt like my PhD was a collaboration again and that me and my supervisors were colleagues working towards the same goal - getting me my PhD.
Of course all I've said you probably already know, and logic doesn't always feature in our emotions. it is OK to take a few days to re-group and recover your ego (which I do not mean harshly, we all have one and they bruise easily!). Then start working again and now that each re-direction is a massive step forwards towards your goal, not a step back.

Best of luck

Avatar for rewt

I had a similar issue but not with my supervisor. My supervisor is useless with drafts and feedback - she always gives the generic "that looks great" or "looks good" while correcting typos and never commenting on structure or content. So at least you are getting feedback.

However, for my first paper one reviewer was absolutely brutal and recommended rejection (it was major corrections). That completely threw me and I couldn't think about the corrections without panicking for several days. After a few days I sat down properly and went there the corrections and realised that most of the work was good enough. Entire sections were left untouched and the harsh feedback let me focus on what needed improved. I think you are past the initial shock you can look for the positives and gain perspective on your work.