Feeling suicidal


(sprout) I am not feeling well at all. I cannot start reading or writing anything. I feel like being trapped somewhere and being suffocated. Time is running out and so is opportunity. How can I even start from a scratch?

I have to write up a comparative piece on how other studies answered my research question . I gave it a lot of time few months back. Now I seem to remember nothing. I feel suicidal!!!!:-(


Hi agniparbon, I am really sorry you are feeling so bad at the moment, can I suggest that you seek medical help? I don't know anything about you other than what you have written above but as you are feeling under so much pressure maybe it is worth speaking to your supervisor also and telling him about your situation. Maybe he can give you extra time or just provide you with support. It's good that you felt able to post a message on the wall but I think it would be really great if you could speak to someone in person, if not a doctor or supervisor then a friend perhaps? In my university there is a counselling center, maybe there is one in your institution too. I am sorry I can't be more help than that but I will be praying for you today.


Hi Agniparbon,

You mustn't be feeling good at the moment - like Estie said, you should really seek out support from your uni health centre, GP, counsellors, a friend, a family member... There are lots of people who would like to help lessen the load on you if you make that step. It will all feel less overwhelming. I think that definitely should be your priority and if you are in a period of bad mental health then perhaps you can take some official leave from studies and get yourself well again.

As for your work, it's never ever to late to start. I have the same problem where I seem to forget my work if I get distracted from it for a while. But if you sit down for fifteen minutes and say you will read some of the notes you took a few months ago, and keep going in small chunks, you'll be surprised how much it will come back to you, and how much you can get done.

This idea of sitting down for just 15 minutes at first is from Joan Bolker's 'How to Write a Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day' which is a great book to have a look at. If you set yourself a goal of 5 minutes reading and then do that, you will feel much better. And even if you think it sounds like too short a time, it's much better than nothing, so try it!


Hey Agniparbon! Sorry to hear you are feeling so crappy, I know what it's like to feel so down. I think the others are right- at the moment your priority should be to get help and get yourself feeling better before you do anything else. Your GP should be able to help, and I would definitely contact your university counselling service if there is one- I think most unis do. They will have experience with seeing people who feel how you are feeling and they will be able to help. I have been going to my uni counselling service for over 6 years now for support with my bipolar disorder, and they have been fantastic- I cannot praise them highly enough. We also have a mental health advisor who has helped me out with the practical side of things such as deadlines, exam provisions etc if I haven't been well, so it might be worth seeing if your uni has one too. When you are feeling better your work will happen much more easily, so concentrate on feeling better first! And definitely let your sup know that you are having some difficulties at the moment- hopefully he/she will be able to take some of the pressure off you whilst you are sorting yourself out. It can be difficult to talk to your sup about personal matters like this but it does help if they know you are struggling a bit (you don't have to tell them everything- just let them know you are having difficulties right now). My sup has been brilliant when I've not been too well and has also been really grateful that I am able to be honest with her about how things are- hopefully your sup will be the same. Really hope things start to pick up for you soon, KB


I cannot thank you enough everyone. It really means a lot. I sure will share the situation with my supervisor. The problem with seeking uni counseling help is that I am presently working off-campus in a different country. I have been using the counseling services for a couple of months now. They were very helpful.

And about the 15 minutes reading suggestion is brilliant. I do have the book, but have felt so down lately that I haven't opened it recently.

Thanks again everyone. Please keep me in your prayers!


Hey Agni,
Don't give up ... from reading this forum, you must now know that a lot of us have been there, but the good side is that we have all come back. Some of us take a bit longer, but we do come back. Go home now and do yourself a favour ... make a cup of tea and honey, lie down and take today off. Get up later today and write down exactly what is standing in your way. Even writing the post on this forum is a good start ... acknowledging your in sh!t is a start.

First of all, as suggested elsewhere, take a few days off at least and seek medical assistance. Do not see this as time being wasted. You need to do this. We all have been in that awful situation where we think that there is no hope for our work and we take it far too personally. I am assuming that this is already having effects elsewhere. As part of your list, write down the things in life that make it worthwhile (friends, family, etc.,).

As for your work, you are surely being too down on yourself. Get yourself an A3 sheet of paper from the printer and do a mindmap of the first thing that comes to mind ... so what if details are missing. Why do this now? Well, it might be the slight chink of light to show you that all is not lost. Just even get the abstracts of 4-5 main papers (and even if you have only one paper, use cite reports from google scholar to start getting a list).

We are all in the same boat here as regards dealing with sh!t mostly on our own, so why not ask straight out as to others opinions and this might give you a kickstart. Even if you want to remain somebit confidential, I am sure if you put out the general area, people can and will send private messages. I have done a similar report for my thesis and even if you want headings, can be sent.


The one thing I do know is that panic is counter-productive. Ha, I wish I could take my own advice!

I am in the same boat as you - time is running out, I need to write something, and the thought of writing it literally gives me a panic attack. It seems like too big of a task, the time available is too short, and I'm so panicky that I'm literally blacking myself out with sleeping pills so I can forget about it and just slip into oblivion. My brain refuses to work, and I feel like a failure.

I guess what you need to do is the same as what I need to do: Focus only on today, and not on the future. The fear comes from worrying about how you'll get all of the work done in the time you have, and it paralyses you and prevents you from dong anything. So pick one little bit, which is achievable in a day, and forget about the rest. It's difficult to blank your mind, but forget about completing the entire piece of work and focus only on the small task you chose for today. After a few days, you'll have completed a few small tasks; your motivation will increase and your fear will decrease because you'll see some progress.

I think the problem is that our minds aren't wired to cope with huge lengthy tasks spanning months; the human brain requires small daily tasks and achievable goals, so we panic when faced with huge tasks. I think the trick is going to be breaking it down into small pieces, writing each small piece, then re-evaluating the whole and pulling it all together. Think of it like a journey; you need to take a small step every day while trying not to worry about the destination. I wish you luck (and myself!).


Hey Agni, sorry to hear you're feeling so awful. If you really are feeling suicidal, get help NOW. Look up crisis services in your phone book, find a telephone counselling service, and call them. Just pick up the phone and call them. Or call a friend, anyone, talk to someone if you're in crisis at the moment.

Excellent you're seeing a counsellor - have you spoken to your sup about your difficulties? Talk to them too. And the others are right about the Bolker book, it's brilliant on technique. Unfortunately tho, she doesn't acknowledge PhD depression enough or how to deal with this. Anyway, use the book, think about what you can do today, and take baby steps.

Take care!!


If you really do sometimes feel suicidal then ring the Samaritans.

Don't let your PhD get you down that much. I went through a difficult period in the winter of the second year of my PhD when I couldn't be bothered to get out of bed. I did for about four hours to cook and eat something before going back to bed!

Things do get better, just keep going. Do you have a Student Counselling service you could go to for a chat?


It happened to me many many times. Before an exam I felt totally empty but as soon as the paper was there I could not stop writing:-) In fact got marks as high as 90% after such a horrible feeling.
You are writing a document may be 10 pages long, which is not a Novel piece of work but is a comparison. I believe if you only work on it 1-2 hrs a day writing everything on a blank paper then It will be finished very soon. You should not take it as if it is being written for a Nobel prize, it is just for a PhD.


How are you feeling today Agniparbon?


Just do it!!! Think of how much you already invested into your studies, you can't just stop and give up. It is those kind of challenges that eventually make you grow personaly and academically. You've got the power!


Agni - been there. Sometimes go back there. The best thing I can say is to talk to anyone who isn't directly involved in your project, whom you feel won't judge you or give you any "well, you should have...", but can help with suggestions on how to sort things out. I mean practical suggestions and support.