At my wits' end

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At my wits' end

Post by annushka-the-plague on Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:52 pm

I just don't know what to do anymore.

I spoke with my PhD supervisor yesterday. Told him I wasn't feeling well lately (he already knows I'm depressed). Told him I was coming off my medication because it wasn't agreeing with me.

Next thing, he goes into question mode. Now, he may have been trying to help, but it felt scarily like an interrogation.

Him: Why are you coming off your meds?

Me: They disagree with me.

Him: How?

Me: Lots of ways. It's complicated. They make me sleepy all the time.

No way in hell was I going to tell him about the other stuff - vomiting and nausea, weight gain, panic attacks, and an unsettling sense of just not knowing who I am anymore.

Him: Right. What next?

Me: Well, I have no idea.

Silence.

Me: I don't want to go back on medication for another while.

More silence while he stares at me. I struggle desperately, trying to find a way to justify my decision to stay off medication.

Him: Weren't things getting better?

Me: I thought so. But now they're worse. So I can't predict how much I'm going to be able to get done over the next few weeks.

Him: Right. Well. It's been six months, and we're still waiting for your first result.

I start to feel smaller and smaller.

Him: It's too slow.

About the size of an ant now.

Him: Roughly how efficient do you think you've been, over the past six months? Like, what percentage of your usual efficiency?

I have no idea what to say to this. I try really really hard.

Me: I guess maybe 50%.

Him: Well that's fairly low, isn't it. What about your attendance? Have you been coming in every day?

Me: No. I try to. I like it here. But sometimes I can't.

Then he started talking to me about my work again. Telling me about a proposal deadline we were going to miss. I got myself away and tried not to break completely.



This morning, I looked through my bank statements. Now, a PhD salary is by no means fantastic. But my boyfriend in Ireland, he was on the same salary (actually slightly less) and he had a very happy life - he could afford to eat out, go out drinking, buy new books every week, loads of stuff like that. Whereas I'm struggling to make ends meet. The cost of living is huge here. Now, I'm grateful for the roof over my head and the food in my fridge. But after rent, bills and groceries, there's hardly anything left. It's getting to the point where I can't justify going out and socializing with my friends. I can't afford the little things I used to enjoy - a bottle of wine, a cup of coffee, the odd takeaway. I can't afford a new pair of shoes, which is worrying me because all my current shoes are wearing out. I can't afford to have them mended. I can't afford a sports bra, which means I can't go running anymore. I can't afford a haircut. I can't afford a trip home to visit my boyfriend. Soon, maybe I won't be able to afford therapy. Internet. Nourishing food. Savings? Forget it.

Worst of all - the mobile package I'm on means I now can't afford to call the Samaritans either. I'm so alone.

I don't know what I'm going to do. I need help so badly.
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annushka-the-plague

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Re: At my wits' end

Post by drfingerbutts on Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:06 pm

*hugs*

Do you keep any lists: goal setting, valid/invalid thoughts, pros/cons? I know writing things out helps me to sort things out and think more clearly.

Right now I'm on medical leave from work for this stuff. Do they have anything like that there? Is there a counselor on your campus you can talk to? It is typical in US that there is some sort of health or counseling office on site.

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Re: At my wits' end

Post by annushka-the-plague on Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:14 am

Thanks Doctor. The lists are a good idea. I used to do that. But I made so many lists and then never did anything on them, that I gave up. I'll try and give it another shot.

Currently trying to figure out what my rights are regarding medical leave. It's exhausting Sad
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Re: At my wits' end

Post by drfingerbutts on Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:25 am

Baby steps! When I'm at my lowest my last contains 3 things: eat a real meal, shower, make the bed. When I do those things 3 days in a row, then I add one or two small things.

If I need help figuring out what to do next, I make a supliment list of things I have to do - like finding the law on medical leave. I might not even read it, literally just find it. Reading it can be another goal.

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Re: At my wits' end

Post by annushka-the-plague on Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:53 am

Yeah I agree with you on the small steps. Sometimes, an item on my list is to just spend five minutes thinking about something I need to sort out - not doing it, just thinking about it constructively and without panic, so I can begin to feel comfortable about it.

So tomorrow I'll think about medical leave - I'll devote a few minutes to thinking and writing down things like "who do I need to talk to, what will I need, where is my doctor's note" etc. Then maybe there'll be some action on Thursday's list Smile
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