The fact that you're posting at 4am is probably not a good sign.
I hope you don't mind me saying this, but have you thought about speaking to a counsellor? You sound pretty traumatised. I think it might be helpful to you to have somewhere to vent and get support away from your work environment. A good uni counselling service will be familiar with some of the particular experiences of students and should be able to lend a supportive ear.
Bad working experiences can really get under your skin and take over your life. I've been there. Things can heal but they take time and support is useful. Give it some thought.
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A PhD can be a pretty gruelling process, more for some than for others. In either case, if you are feeling you need to heal, I strongly second the idea of some counselling. Going for therapy doesn't mean you are broken, it means you could do with some assistance.
How long it takes to heal - thats like asking how long is a piece of string! Its different for different people. While my PhD caused me almost no distress, other life events did, and some were a trip to hell. Sometimes, suddenly one day things are ok. But for that one day to come, you do need some assistance.
Hey Ingenieur. My PhD was relatively straightforward until the last 6 months or so, where my supervisor made my life very stressful and difficult with her temper tantrums and inappropriate behaviour (which bascially amounted to verbal abuse at times) and it had a really big effect on me. I already have bipolar disorder anyway, but ended up seeking additional support from my uni counsellor and mental health advisor as a result of her behaviour. A couple of months ago I made the decision to move on from the team when I had finished my PhD, to escape the situation, although originally I had really wanted to stay on here. I had to bite my tongue an awful lot over the last couple of months, but I managed to hold my nerve, and passed my viva last week with minor corrections (which I did this morning). I have also managed to secure a post-doc position at a different uni, and am looking forward to making a new start. I don't think my situation was as difficult as yours, but it was really tough. If you can just keep going and work hard, with a bit of luck you will be able to escape the situation at the earliest opportunity and move on. Nine days post-viva and I am beginning to calm down and feel back to normal. So yes, there is life after the PhD. If you want to move on and get a post-doc somewhere new then I would advise trying to publish a few papers as you go along- that's what got me interviews at other unis for post-doc jobs. But in the meantime you need to look after yourself as best as possible. Best, KB
A year in, and I'm finding the emotional side of a PhD just as difficult as the intellectual side. For me, I'm a very open and emotional person whereas most academics in my department are very closed and quiet. I am starting to learn to deal with my personal circumstances quietly and without letting them affect my work. To start with this was hell -- I felt rejected and hurt and thought I was going mad. But I kept reminding myself that learning to separate my emotional self from my academic one was a skill that could only benefit me in the future. I don't want to become a heartless academic but it's very good training to learn to not let my emotional state affect my work. I keep reminding myself that my PhD is just a job I'm here to do; if I see it as anything more than that, then I will get really upset every time something goes wrong (and in my first year I've had some absolutely enormous setbacks and emotional crashes). I can't guarantee I won't get depressed further on in the process, but seeing this as emotional as well as intellectual training is helping me get through. By that I mean finding ways to not let the daily dramas of University politics, output pressure or frequent feelings of worthlessness / stupidity actually overtake me. It's all just a job, these are the things that happen in the job I've chosen. I never want to be in a position where I come to hate and resent my PhD, no matter how hard it gets. With two years left I've no idea how I'm going to feel in the future, but I reckon I'll have an equivalent doctorate in managing my emotions when I finally come to hand in that thesis!
Yes I agree. It is a worse situation for me because one of the supervisors is an emotional retards who aim to project their problems onto students. Couple that with a PhD which was initially 10 years worth of work for a postdoc and you have an idea of what I am going through.
Thanks hazyjane. Yes I have been to counselling at my university, it's been very helpful.
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