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Thesis Pending #7: Student Mental Health (

welcome back to thesis pending this is week 7 yeah so this week has not been the best having had two weeks of being very productive it’s yeah I wasn’t very well of star this week has some personal stuff happen as well it’s all just been a bit yeah I have not had any time this week to do any work which is less than ideal probably also noticed there hasn’t been another video since the previously suspending I normally do something in between I’ve just I just not I’ve not had the energy all the time so one of those weeks but since it is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and mental health awareness month I believe in the u.s. because you go do it bigger and better how many so as I’m sure most of you know I had a pretty bad mental health time last year I ended up taking three months off from my PhD to get my brain back on track basically I needed a break it was a case of severe stress burnout resulting in anxiety which got to the point where I couldn’t leave the house on my own without the thought of that giving me a bit of a panic attack so yeah it wasn’t great so the exact things that led to me developing that I covered that in my slightly tongue-in-cheek video how to ruin your mental health as a PhD in which you also probably seen because I plugged the hell out that videos I’m very proud of it so there’ll be a card up here to click on for that those are all the things that I did there was some minor other things as well but that’s all of stuff to do with my PhD the major things that resulted in be developing rebab stress leading to MIT so I say go watch that and don’t do those things there we go drop down great the problem with discussing mental health is that I don’t want to come across as someone who’s telling you what to do I don’t want to give advice on how to deal with mental health because I’m not a professional I can tell you what I’ve done that work for me but that doesn’t mean it works for you and I can give general vague advice which you can find anywhere so rather than telling you what to do which obviously should start with seeking help from a professional or talking to your friends and family about it because talking is good and but I was not not gonna say anything so I’m just going to talk about my experience of like yeah how that happened so really everything kind of just went wrong for me in my second year of uni when I wasn’t really engaging with what I was doing anymore I started to lose interest I’m still not enamored with my subject anymore I think the problem will appear she is how long it is four years of working on one project and if it’s not something you definitely want to dedicate your entire life to you’re probably going to start losing interest midway through and that is what happened to me and I didn’t just talk to anybody about how stressed I was and how I didn’t feel like I was doing enough even though looking back I clearly was at the time it felt like everyone was working harder than me so I had to push myself even harder which resulted in me getting very stressed burning out and then getting frustrated that I wasn’t able to keep up that pace I happens to a lot of post-grad students we’ve put so much pressure on ourselves and the majority of post-grad students develop symptoms or actually develop a condition of mental health at some point during their study the majority it’s not a handful of people it’s over half like I will link some studies and articles they’ve talked about this but it is it’s really bad I’ve always been in very male-dominated environments I studied physics and then I studied a technical geography course and now I’m doing a technical geography PhD and although there are other female PhD students the staff who I interact with that all men and it because of that although I know the whole thing of men not having feelings and not showing what there’s you know all that I know it’s not true but it seeks in it seeped in and I felt like I couldn’t show weakness I didn’t want to be the emotional woman who isn’t able to handle the pressure so I didn’t talk about it I didn’t tell my supervisor though I was struggling and I just kept everything bottled up and that resulted in me having and pretty much a mental breakdown whilst on the Skype chat with my supervisors with me in floods of tears and they were really great about it you know because they’re people and they care and I think we forget that we see our supervisors as this authority figure who you know yes and instructs for some what to do but they’re also there to look after us in the weird way you know within a few weeks I had suspended my studies for a few months and everything was good I took the time off that I needed and although it wasn’t a cure like obviously I’m still struggling but I’m no waning on the scale that I was and things are a lot better and it’s manageable because for me it is so linked to my research as long as I don’t overwhelm myself with work and I don’t put too much pressure on myself I do okay so I can kind of self manage everything now when I feel myself getting worse I can take a day off and then go back the next day and be alright rather than let it build to the point where I needed three months so things are under control but you know until I finish my PhD the cause of it is going to be there which is the frustrating thing so I don’t want anyone worried about me honestly I’m doing all right I’m I am managing I have great friends and family who are very supportive it’s all good and yeah I’m doing fine but if you were struggling and you’re not talking to anyone about it I would really really recommend doing it because it is scary to open up but people are generally nice and they’re not going to judge you for it if you would be interested in some tips about the things that I do to handle my anxiety like I can’t make a video about that but I am a little bit hesitant because yeah I don’t want to go giving out advice and making people feel like this is going to make the feel better and if it doesn’t work for them and they’ll feel worse about that and I just you know I don’t want to make anyone feel worse thanks so much for watching I’ll see you next week