My PhD destroyed my life

P

*TRIGGER WARNING*




My PhD destroyed my life.
In the end I did not complete it. But I end up having depression, severe anxiety, lost my husband, the opportunity to have kids and to enjoy the life.
I had a beautiful home, a loving husband, stable house hold, no financial worries. Now I just wanted to kill myself over the horrible situation I am in. I lost everything that really matters. Please don't do the same mistake.

F

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B

Quote From Polly33:
*TRIGGER WARNING*




My PhD destroyed my life.
In the end I did not complete it. But I end up having depression, severe anxiety, lost my husband, the opportunity to have kids and to enjoy the life.
I had a beautiful home, a loving husband, stable house hold, no financial worries. Now I just wanted to kill myself over the horrible situation I am in. I lost everything that really matters. Please don't do the same mistake.


@Polly33,

I too experienced a very difficult PhD journey that took its toll on relationships and my mental health so I understand how you're feeling right now. I'd reach out to your university counselling service if you haven’t already done so – I know it can be difficult at times to discuss these issues with friends/family. Your suicidal thoughts are quite worrying and you need to seek help as your mental health and well-being takes precedence over anything else right now. Please feel free to PM me if you like. Best of luck.

F

Dear Polly,
I myself have experienced several mental health problems over the course of my life and I know it is not possible to overcome that by yourself, it requires professional help and a supportive environment.
Please, look for help and do it now!
My best wishes to you.

U

Polly,
I understand all too well how you feel. The stress and anxiety that comes with graduate school is too often unconscionable to others. The feelings and thoughts of suicide is the ultimate state of burnout. It's NOT selfish - in fact, the thoughts of how it would make the ones you love feel, the devastation your parents would feel, weighs most heavily on your heart. For me, it's like I no longer wish to burden others with my failures, that I want to take away the stress I lay on others by talking about my reality. Sure, you can seek help - but in my experience there is no way for others to help. For others to so easily dismiss you by saying "get help" really drives home how little others understand your situation. I do not want drugs that will dull my sense of very real feelings. The fact that prescriptions are the go to for mental health "professionals" is also dismissive of what is really going on. Like you, I experienced suicidal thoughts, and an attempt, in graduate school. Like you I feel like a failure - that I wasted my life and let other opportunities to pursue happiness pass me by because I had these noble fantasies of saving the world and curing cancer with my PhD. Now, after 12 years of schooling, a piece of flimsy paper that says I have the Dr. prefix ahead of my name, no one will hire me or take me seriously. I am unmarried after a troublesome 10 year relationship, no children, no friends, no family, no job - the list goes on. What I find that helps me is reading books for pleasure instead of study, taking a few days off of the job hunt, exercise every day with my dog (this one is so, so important), avoiding substances like alcohol and mj, and writing a journal about my feelings. Since no one except you understands how you really feel, then I think talking to yourself in writing can be very productive. It sounds tacky, but meditation can also help. I am an atheist, so it might sound weird, but going to church just to be around nice people and fun music can also be an avenue of momentary joy. I'm not sure if my words will help, since I can only speak to my own experiences. I did register an account on this forum just to reply to this post - so your words and thoughts matter, ok?

H

I am so sorry for what has happened to you.
I have experienced several health problems during my own PhD. I was recently hospitalised with hypertension, amongst other things.
Does your institution provide counselling and support services? I encourage you to seek out support from people who have experience with your particular needs.

A

I hope your doing OK now, I know this post is a year old, but in my experience, 1 year isn't enough time to recover from all the negative things a PhD brings into your life. I've seen your story play out in at least 4 cases around me, all involve divorces, therapy and extreme burnout....you're not alone if that makes you feel somewhat better, although it doesn't fix anything of course. I found myself in a situation for the first time in my life where I am deeply unhappy through undertaking a PhD. I still try and remind myself of the good I have around me, but the PhD is a dark cloud that has involved doctors visits, arguments at home, terrible finances and multiple extensions, I yearn for my old self and am so angry at the fact something so stupid as a thesis document could derail my happiness in such an extreme way. I've seen figures that state over 50% of PhD students have clinical depression and based on those around me as a sample size, it seems very apparent in my everyday life. I am still writing up, but I work full time now, it is the only thing actually that made me feel better (if not more pressured for time). Leaving the toxic world of academia in my opinion was a great decision that you made, it's the only way to rebuild your life. Journalling and joining walking groups I've found are great ways to start healing.

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