Let’s get on to part 2, shall we? Topics include: the culture of destroying yourself for work in academia, how to DO life, and managing anxiety in school. Again, please feel free to reblog or reply with advice of your own.
How do you handle trying not to give into the academic culture of encouraging sacrificing your mental health for your work?
The academic culture of self-sacrifice for your work is so stupid and unsustainable. Mental health is more important than school. Mental health is more important than career. Nothing is worth breaking yourself over. I didn’t take this to heart until I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that flares up most when I am stressed or depressed/anxious, and now for the first time ever I am attentive to and firm about my limits.
My first attempt at grad school fell apart because I had an advisor who was a self-proclaimed workaholic (when I needed a leave of absence, she told me she will always be a workaholic and expects her students to match that). And now? I have an advisor who is a literal dream. When he noticed I was going into the lab on the weekends to extract DNA, he made sure I was also taking time for myself to relax.
Anyway, tl;dr, have boundaries and stick to them. Take care of yourself. We gotta work together to change this unhealthy expectation of sacrificing your life for your academic research/career.
Any tips on how one can get out there in life and actually *do* things, like getting started in life? Most days my mind makes it feels like I can’t or I’m not allowed to actually live my life and it’s a lil frustrating. (thank u for opening up and i hope u find many funky fungi in ur future 🍄)
Start small – you don’t have to take it all on at once. Give yourself little bite-sized goals, and go easy on yourself if you don’t meet them. I don’t know what is keeping you from getting started, but when I was in HS/early college, my anxiety kept me from doing…most things. It’s been a very long process to get where I am now, but back then I had some words that I would return to often to help me leave my cave every once in a while (which I had apparently edited from here to be less spiritual haha):
Whatever I already am, I want to devote to life. I deliberately want life to make use of the best of what I have and who I am. I may not be sure at this moment in what way this could happen, and even if I have ideas, I will allow for the wisdom deep within me to guide me. I will let life itself decide how a fruitful interchange can take place between it and me. For whatever I give to life, I have received from it and I wish to return it to benefit to others. This, in turn, must inevitably enrich my own life to the exact measure that I willingly give to life: for life and I are one. When I withhold from life, I withhold from myself. When I withhold from others, I withhold from myself. Whatever I already am, I want to let flow into life. And whatever more in me can be utilized, still waiting to be brought to fruition, I request, I decide, and I desire that it be put to constructive use, so as to enrich the atmosphere around me.
@pyridine asked How do you manage your anxiety when it comes to assignments/deadlines? What is grad school/academia like for someone dealing with mental health issues?
I don’t have a ton of anxiety over deadlines, but I DO have heaps of anxiety when I have a lot of stuff I’m juggling at once. And I have like…anxiety about being around people…and existing…and breathing… I have to open up this question to my lovely followers because I am the actual worst at dealing with anxiety. I usually resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms (naps especially).
Grad school has been interesting. Like I mentioned before, my first attempt was a literal nightmare and the worst year of my life. But I learned so much from it. Most importantly, how to be my own advocate. How to fight for myself. To get into and stay in therapy. Also that you can register with the disability office if you have mental health issues (why didn’t anyone tell me that during my undergrad!?). Grad school with mental illness can be a huge struggle, but people with mental illnesses have so much to offer. I will utilize all of the resources that are offered to me, and I will take things one step at a time. This is what I want to do, and I am going to do what I can to make it work.
Anonymous kindly commented:
Hey. You rock. I mean, I liked your blog before. But now? Now, I love it because it’s run by a real human who’s not trying to be something they are not, just to get more likes and reblogs. You are awesomely brilliant!
And other Anonymous kindly commented:
I have no questions, but as someone who has lived with clinical depression and anxiety for my entire adult life, I appreciate you voicing your support for those who might be going through the same.
Thank you! ❤ Silently suffering and hiding my mental health illness in shame is not something I want to do anymore. We’re all suffering so much, and we can help one another if we are honest and true and open.
I have so much love for all of you, and I hope you’re all doing what you can to take care of yourselves. Please feel free to send me more questions or even message me privately.