I have decided to seek help for my PhD “depression”

This post is long overdue. I have been unable to write anything that is unrelated to work/PhD for a while. I have lost motivations in many things that I used to love for about two months. I am not sad-sad as there really isn’t much for me to actually get upset about, but in general I haven’t been happy with my PhD and (lack of) career. I have always prided myself as a dreamer, a planner, a go getter. I haven’t been feeling like myself. Since I’m no longer teaching part time for various reason, my self-worth has taken a toll. I feel aimless and empty. I don’t know whether what I do matters anymore. I’m no longer inspiring people like I used to. In essence, I no longer feel relevant.

I was trying to deal with this by myself. I didn’t want my family to get worried. I didn’t know which friend to turn to as I feel very distant from some of my good friends now. I also lost my best friend last year over something petty. I tried to confide in my loving boyfriend, but he got really worried and started blaming himself for being unable to make me happy. I’m not the kind of woman who gets all her happiness from a relationship. Relationship is a dessert to me, not the entree in life. Even though I’m in a wonderful relationship, I still can’t be 100% happy if I’m not getting the fulfillment in other aspects of life.

I was relunctant to seek professional help because I was afraid to be labeled a “troubled person” or be officially diagnosed with depression. I was waiting for the feeling to go away. I have experienced many ups and downs in my life, as I have documented some in this blog. I remember how I felt when I was very depressed and struggling with eating disorder in my early 20s. I didn’t see a doctor about it back then and I handled it poorly by blaming all my negative feelings on my ex-boyfriend. It took a year of being miserable in a dead-end relationship, episodes of bullemia and switching jobs for me to finally realise I needed to stop all the non sense. I’m proud that I made it through, but it was very hard to do it yourself.

For years I’ve been aware of my state of emotion and tendency to overthink. I’m very self-conscious and try not to let myself go down “that” path again every time I hit a set back. Usually when I face a rejection of any sort, like scholarship rejection, romantic breakup or career problem, I get super sad for a week or two. Then I’m good again. What I’m experiencing now is different. It is a general lack of motivation in things.  The good thing is I don’t like being like this, which is why I’ve decided to see a counsellor to find out what exactly is the problem and what I can do to cope with it.

I hate having to admit that I’m not as happy as I think I should be, but then I remember the promise I made to myself that I wouldn’t be afraid to be show my vulnerability.

About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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