I have started my PhD on Clinical Psychology, with the greatest of the enthusiasms… I loved my project (and still do) and was extremely happy and motivated about the beginning of that next chapter of my life. However, somewhere along the journey, the pressure increased, a permanent feeling of being beyond schedule arrived (and stuck on the back of my neck like a tattoo), and the guilt whenever I was NOT working on the thesis took over – I never managed to have a a proper vacation or totally relaxed weekend in 4 years… there is always a sense that I am under performing, which is a very difficult feeling for me to deal with, mainly because I had never dealt with anything like that before.
What happened?? When did it stop being exciting and turned into severe, chronic back and neck pain? Why did it become such a heavy burden carried over my shoulders, night and day?? (and how’s THAT for an appropriate metaphor?)
How do we get through something this overpowering? How do we stop procrastinating, focus and get the job done?
I believe that if we find ourselves in this kind of situation we cannot ignore it: we have to do something! The purpose of life, in my opinion, is FEELING HAPPY, it’s not ACHIEVEMENT… So if you are feeling like I was, for so many years, if you can’t take it anymore, if you just want to quit, or crawl in bed and sleep for a whole month… I say: ASK FOR HELP!
We cannot do this kind of journey on our own! Which is, actually, quite curious, considering most of the PhD work is done by ourselves and no one else – things like writing a thesis or a book are very lonely jobs, and they tend to isolate us. And then a vicious circle takes over and the less we do, the more we isolate ourselves (because we have to work) and the more deprived we are from LOVE and CARE the more miserable we feel and are, therefore, more likely of not being able to perform any work at all!
So I’ll say it again, just to make sure you hear me: ASK FOR HELP! Share your feelings, your fears (the gigantic panic/certainty we’re NOT going to make it) and then CHANGE…!
Like I said on my previous post: We have the power to be authors of our own lives, so start writing something else, because, trust me, I’ve been there, and THAT path does NOT lead to anywhere fun!
And now I just feel like finishing my reflexion using the words of Jim Hightower:
“Do something. If it doesn’t work, do something else. No idea is too crazy”
What ideas would you be kind enough to share with me? :)
Thank you for you company, Raquel :)