Two months before resubmission and I am experiencing poor health. Yesterday I collapsed. I fainted in a coffee shop and I was in such a mess that the ambulance came to pick me up. Most likely the reason of fainting was fatigue (to the point I raise temperature), lack of sleep and plenty of stress (due to stress I suffer from insomnia). The A&E doctor asked me to see my doctor for an evaluation of the problem and to get proper treatment and possibly stress management counselling. I have booked an appointment but I am afraid that the doctor will ask me to switch off or work fewer hours (which means that I have to apply for an extension) - and I really want to get done with the PhD as soon as possible. I am so close, yet so far.
If an ambulance picked you up then that's a big red warning sign. You're overdoing things, and if you keep going like this - even for a short time - you might do yourself serious damage.
See your doctor, see what he/she advises, and apply for an extension if need be. You will have no trouble getting one on medical grounds given everything.
And don't work yourself into the ground. Nothing is worth that, and you can get an extension.
Also if you carry on past the PhD into academia then you're going to have to find a way of working that isn't so hard on yourself. It isn't necessary to overwork to ill health. And you can get help with stress and insomnia.
Yes, an ambulance picked me up. It was a very scary experience. I was drinking coffee with friends and all suddenly I went completely unconscious. My friends say that I was unconscious for at least 2 minutes. Paramedics came round, gave me first aid (needless to say I got sick and embarrassed myself even more) and took me to the hospital, but I did not stay overnight. They wanted to keep me there but I signed a paper to go home. The paramedics of the ambulance also gave me a sick note stating what happened, and I am also seeing the doctor soon, so that I get some treatment and they send me for counselling. I am currently doing nothing, trying to get as much sleep as possible, as the hospital doctor recommended. I feel guilty for not working. How stubborn am I! I will have to discuss my options with my doctor and then with my supervisor.
All I am saying is that long working hours and in fact, the commitment of a PhD, aren't for everyone. PhDs should come with a health warning.
Sorry to hear you are having a tough time. Best to follow whatever the health professionals advice. Note that taking a couple of weeks out might actually keep to your PhD deadline, because a rest might help recharge the batteries and help you work more effectively.
Get well soon :)
I am really sorry to hear about your troubles...
I also had a similar experience a few years back. I overworked myself: didn't sleep or eat properly; many days I was feeling exhausted but I would just force myself to go to work. I was admitted in the hospital for a week because of persistent fever, abnormal blood tests and very very low blood pressure. They didn't manage to find out what is wrong with me, and finally I was discharged. It took me a long time to recover, as I was feeling weak for months after that. During my recovery, I was also very depressed and isolated myself from friends and my partner at the time.
Having this experience, I realised that the way I was working was not sustainable. As BilboBaggins says, you need to find a way of working that doesn't endanger your health if you plan to stay to academia. There are simple things you can do to improve your quality of life, such as not working one day per week, working 9 to 5, and giving yourself plenty of time to wind down before going to bed. (and of course exercising and eating properly).
Please, go back to the hospital and have a complete health check up, as it might be something more serious.
Definitely go to your GP and do what they say! You're right to say the long hours culture in academia filters down to PhD students and it's not healthy for anyone. But if your body is sending out this type of warning then you need to listen. A doctor's note will get you an extension, I'm sure. And you might find being forbidden to work by a doctor liberates you from the guilt as it's not your decision.
Thank you for the kind wishes. Yes, I don't think academia is for me after all. But since I am getting there, I am determined to do my best to finish the course. I have decided not to work in academia after I complete my PhD (crossing fingers). Hopefully I will be working in the law industry after that (again crossing fingers). Simply put, working in academia would kill me. We need to prioritize in life and health should be our number one priority. Dr Jeck, your experience sounds very terrifying... I am pretty sure that my doctor will send me for further tests. I knew that there was something wrong with me but I ignored the signs. Wrong!
An update: doctor gave me blood tests, prescribed me sleeping and anti-stress pills, and he is writing a sick note for the university. With my application for an extension I will provide the sick note from the ambulance / hospital and the doctor's sick note. The doctor is also sending me for counselling, so I manage my stress levels.
Thank you Nick. Thank you for your kind comments and I understand the points you are raising. I am determined to finish the course because even though I have ruined my health I can see the finishing line - I was brushing up my conclusions when my health deteriorated. If that incident had happened on year 2-3 maybe I would think twice. It's a pity to stop now.
The PhD is a mental and emotional roller coaster that may consume several years of our life. Day and night! We even dream of our thesis! Academia is the same. The constant need to maintain a strong academic presence, the terrible academic bulling, the publish or perish... the, the, the... I see other people in my age, they come back from their 9-5 work, they do their hobbies, they have a personal life, they go out, they meet their friends, they have families. I don't say they are happy, but they certainly look happier than some of us. To put it straight, they look happier and have achieved more in life than myself.
good to hear that your phd is going fine
sometimes we get into a state of "high" when our phd is in the swing---and our minds go into hyper-mode as well--the thing is that we all need to have a very calm, clear and well-rested head and body to complete our phd---
--and even calmer, clearer, MORE well-rested head and body for our defence later....
so applying for an extension may be good after all :-)
get well soon
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest