Recovering from mental illness

Well,it happened again. The stress of school ate at me so much that I finally broke down and couldn’t cope. I was clinically “in crisis” and quite frankly could have been taken to the hospital. Instead, my psychiatrist opted for increased meds and a week off of school. The week off helped a lot, but I keep finding myself back in that mindset: “Well, now you had a week to recover. You should be done now. So go to school. What’s wrong with you? You still feel bad? Why? You must not be working hard enough, or maybe you’re just weak and can’t recover the way you should.” These are the things that run through my mind. And really, they should show me that I am NOT ready to go back to work (which is why I’m compromising and taking the morning off. Teaching in the afternoon will be easy.)

It’s really awful to be constantly thinking these things about myself. I constantly feel inadequate when it comes to school/work- I got a poster rejected at a conference. A fifth year grad student, with maybe one paper that I worked on just enough to get my name on (and is totally unrelated to my current project,) and I haven’t gotten any breakthrough in my research. It sucks. I want to graduate so much, but you can’t get a PhD without relevant data.

Sometimes I think about quitting it all and working for an animal rescue company instead. I think that would hard, but fun at the same time. Terrible to see animals abused, but great to have them find homes and recover.

The problem is that I’m in too deep to pull out now. I passed my OP, and the final hurdle is the dissertation defense itself. The school has put too much money and resources into me for me to NOT receive my degree. I have to keep telling myself: a little bit at a time. Just do a little bit everyday, and eventually you’ll get something to publish.

All I want to do is teach college level chemistry. But now I’m even rethinking that and considering going the animal route… but I can’t seriously be considering that. I’ve wanted a PhD since I was 5. What kind of kid wants that? I guess I wanted one so that I could prove I was smarter than everyone else. Let’s face it, all of us PhD candidates want that in some fashion.

These new meds are making me crazy sleepy, and I have a headache too. Time for a break, I guess.

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