Normalizing stress is not OK

I’ve spent a lot of my PhD making excuses for treating myself like shit.

If I was depressed, I’d punish myself by not leaving my office for the entire working day, knowing deep down I wouldn’t be able to get anything done. There would be weeks where I’d go on campus and spend the entire day staring at my empty screen with an empty mind. Then I’d drink 4 cups of coffee to try to jolt myself out of the depression. Finally, I’d have an anxiety attack (I wonder why…?) and start crying. Then, after a couple of weeks of this, I’d hurt myself with a sharp object on my forearm.

It’s comics like this that made me feel like I was doing my PhD the “right” way:

phd021317s

Just because “most” (or at least that’s what this comic wants you to believe) doctoral candidates work this way, that doesn’t mean I or you have to.

I’m two months away from submitting my 60,000 word thesis and none of the words that are staying in my thesis were written whilst agitated. They were written after my first cup of coffee in my bath rob. They were written after a yoga video or after some hard-core singing in the shower. They were written after a good cry or a good meal or a good hug or a good chat.

I know of agitated doctoral colleagues that appear to be mad/upset with me when I’m doing well.

I can’t say I know why, but I can predict it’s because they want to be relaxed AND productive. Not just one or the other.

Well, we all can.

Molly, out!

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