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I've noticed that there seem to be quite a few threads on here recently from people feeling really low - well here's another one. I've recently been diagnosed with moderate depression and an anxiety disorder. I've to date had four sessions with a psychologist and although my mood is no better, I'm beginning to feel that there might be some hope of recovering which is in itself a relief. It took me a very long time to seek help and I just wanted to encourage anyone who is suffering to get help as soon as they can. It's very important to look after ourselves!


Very good post, and glad things are looking up for you. I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder mid-way through my PhD. I blame it on the neurological disease + some of the cytotoxic drugs I have to take for that, which can cause anxiety as a side-effect. My GP and I agreed to try anti-anxiety medication in my case (a mild SSRI). I had to try a couple before I didn't have troublesome side-effects, but it helped hugely, and put me in a very good position when I returned to my part-time PhD after a medical break in 2007.

So, yes, definitely seek help. GPs and counsellors and psychologists can help a lot with this sort of thing, whether it be through drug therapy as in my case, or a more talking kind of therapy as in yours. And the sooner they are involved the better.


This may sound cynical, but I genuinely believe the NHS doesn't care about this. Go to the doctor, and all he'll do is ask if you're about to top yourself, and then throw some tablets at you. Perhaps he'll put you on a 12-24 month waiting list for a short course of therapy (no more even if you need it), but unless you have cancer (and are in the right postal area), need IVF, or have consciously damaged yourself through drinking too much (look at A&E on most evenings - full of feckless wasters who have no self-control), smoking, or taking drugs, you can go whistle in the wind. Still, I suppose it's better than being admitted to a filthy ward being cleaned by people who don't care. managed by cretins, and staffed by consultants who are paid far too much.

Nice work if you can get it.


Hi Ev. Depression, whether mild, moderate or severe, is a horrible experience. Whether caused by a intrinsic chemical imbalance and/or a combination of external factors, the one thing that is certain is that it can be just plain crippling. The incidence of depression seems to be higher amongst PhD students - there's actually papers on it - and I've had personal experiences with it during my PhD, so I know how you feel. I second your advice concerning dealing with the problems head on, accessing support available, and hope that things improve for you soon.

@Matt. That comment could have come straight from the Daily Mail. It's so right ring that it would make a bat fly in concentric anti-clockwise circles. I don't mean to cause offence, but the NHS is something I feel passionately about. Certainly, it's not perfect and there's always room for improvement but it's care that is free at the point of delivery and an important safety net. For your information, cancer outcomes are dramatically improving and an alcoholic is very unlikely to receive a liver transplant over someone who is 'more deserving' (ethics). As for 'cretin' managers and 'over-paid' consultants...well, we're about to find out how 'useless' they are. Let's see what happens when the free market, competition and privatisation become part of the NHS. Worked wonders for trains and water, didn't it? |'d like to see how your comments r.e. the NHS change over the coming months. If you think things are with the NHS are bad now, just wait and see how difficult things will become over the next year. Of course, there's always 'superior' private health care - just don't develop a chronic illness.

Avatar for sneaks

haha, I read 4matt's comments and immediately thought 'daily mail!' and then read Wal who has said everything I was thinking :-)

Sorry to divert the discussion Ev, hope things look up for you over the next few weeks.


Hey Ev, glad you've had the courage to get help and that you are beginning to feel more hopeful about recovery. Depression is a horrible thing, and not easily understood by those who have never experienced it. I've suffered terribly with it as part of my bipolar disorder and it's worse than any physical pain I have ever experienced (and I have had a few broken bones in my life!). It's hard to ask for help but as you say, it's so important to look after ourselves. Really hope your mood picks up soon, best, KB


Hi Ev,

You're absolutely right - it's very important to look after yourself. I've posted recently about my experiences with anxiety/depression during my PhD. It had got so bad that I couldn't bear the thought of opening a book, was throwing up all the time and crying. I was getting ver tempted just to pack in the PhD. But I went to my doctor, and she prescribed some tablets. I'm not advocating this as a miracle cure, but for me anyway I think it's worth a go, just to see if I can get my head screwed on straight again. I'm still waiting for them to kick in, but we'll see.

I'm glad to hear you're feeling hopeful about recovery - that's half the battle. Keep going along to the psychotherapist and do anything you can to be kind to yourself. Go easy, a PhD isn't the be all and end all, I find it better just to think of it as a job. My GP did say to me that anxiety/depression are common among PhD students, but she also said that folk like us are studious enough to do whatever it takes to get better, and to keep on that path conscientiously. Hope you are OK today. x


My comments are based purely on personal experience, both in trying to get help for my own problems, and also in having worked for the NHS for two years.

Daily Mail? Possibly, although I feel the Mail would give short shrift to "therapy"...


Great that it's helping, Ev, it's just going to take time and . Don't forget the superb work of the Samaritans if you ever just want to let things out and talk - you don't have to be suicidal to call. Or you can even email them now. Sometimes it can just take the edge off.


Yes, The Samaritans are very good, and offer phone call, face to face, email, and postal help. Also, Mind, SaneLine, and other similar organisations all offer help. There is help out there...


Actually 4Matt, I kind of agree with some of what you said below- again, in the context of personal experiences and professionally (I have an NHS research contract). I have had some absolutely awful experiences with the NHS and to be honest, my most recent experience with the NHS makes me embarrassed to be associated with them. I know that there is a lot of good work in the NHS but there is also a lot of discrimination and politics that have actually swayed me from my original ambition to become a clinical psychologist and work for them, to a decision to remain in research and have as little to do with them as possible. But back to the main subject, I once used the samaritans email service and found it very helpful- if you just need to hear a kind few words and a bit of unbiased advice then they are very useful and tend to be quick in replying. Hope you're starting to feel better Ev. Best, KB


Hi guys,

I know how you all feel. I have a very good solution to anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

Take Omega 3-6-9 capsules or oil every day for a few days and see the trick that it does. Take it every day and I guarantee that it will help!

Avatar for EV

Hi everyone. Thank you all for your comments and kind wishes. I am starting to feel a bit better I think. I have just split with my long-term partner too so that's making things a bit easier. I'm sorry to see that so many of us are struggling or have struggled with the same problems but they are definitely fixable.

I don't live in the UK and have no experience with the NHS so really couldn't comment on that topic!


Its nothing to be ashamed of to seek assistance from mental health providers, take meds to help you hope, and realize that you are experiencing depression and anxiety. I am in my fourth semester and suffer as well. The support at my university health center and our graduate school personnel are very helpful. This is an extremely mentally and emotionally charged environment. Utilize the help and resources that are available to you; that's their role.


I'd just like to ask anyone with problems in this area, what reaction did you get from your department/supervisors? I am on the verge of giving up my PhD having felt like the 'bad guy' for most of last year following first of all a serious injury then the stress of having to catch up led to bad anxiety and depression. Have just been told my funding is suspended. I cannot afford to do 3 months without money, of course, and feel like s***t, plus am still not over the injury. Am really, really at a loss..........confidence also suspended.........