If you read the title of this post and expect to find an answer for the question I presented, I’m sorry because I will disappoint you, I’m getting good at disappointing people. I haven’t excelled in writing my thesis, no matter what the high expectations everybody had on me, but once my dissertation was in the mix together with severe depression, that’s when I really lost sight of how to do what needed to be done to get where I wanted to go. Some days I don’t even know why I keep trying. On the bright side, this is not happening every freaking day like it used to, now the really gloomy days appear to come less often than the grey ones. The bright, happy ones are still a gift I’ve yet to receive.
It’s funny I should be thinking of this issue today, writing about it, when I actually managed to get a lot of work done. Well, a lot compared to my other days, because it was nothing compared to what I used to produce when I was more functional. Maybe that’s just the point, I feel intellectually tired and ready to pop a movie and just relax, like I had an incredible amount of work finished, but the fact is when I looked at what I did, I felt completely miserable because of how little it seems, and it’s not difficult to go from there to self harm for me.
Today I had pretty strong thoughts of doing exactly that instead of going to therapy, fortunately it wasn’t like other occasions when I can’t think of anything else and I end up falling for what in that moment seems like the easy way out… in the end I dragged my ass to shrinky’s office. Maybe I’m not being completely straightforward, I was feeling miserable in the first place because I didn’t go to work. I have a deadline due on Friday and I knew there was no possible way to get my chapter finished and my pending stuff from work if I didn’t force my schedule a little bit (working as a teacher means you’ll always take a lot of work home). This makes me feel like a complete failure, like I’m failing all around my responsibilities, and well, that’s sort of the train of thoughts I was riding when I wanted to cut myself.
Shrinky told me some stuff that I didn’t want to hear and didn’t help much at that time, but now is making me feel a little better. He said I’m too hard on myself, verging on cruel, and that for me it’s always about being the best or being nothing at all. There’s no in-betweens, and when I dare to not be the best, my self-hatred is so strong that all I can think about is hurting me. He reminded me of everything I’ve dealt with in this past month and how it’s perfectly natural if I can’t meet my deadline…still feels like I’m an utter failure, but it’s helping me get a hold of myself.
Back to what I was talking about before I started rambling, I guess I’m just wondering out loud how I can deal with these two things that are eating me up. One is my Frankenthesis (a term coined during T, because my own creation is turning against me), and the other is my depression. Somehow, they’ve become bff’s, allies in putting me down and keeping me from moving on. And don’t get me wrong, I know I am doing just that, except that it’s not at the pace I’d like to, not at the pace everyone expected from me. Generally speaking, I am better than I was months ago, it’s just I’d like to be free from these plummets and get on with my life!
So if you have any thoughts as to how I can deal with writing a thesis while being depressed, do let me know! Pretty please?
- How to finish your dissertation when you really hate that shit
- PGSD and other things they didn’t tell you
- Smile like you mean it
- The Frankenthisis strikes again
If you found this post by googling key words such as “dissertation depression” or “I am afraid of my dissertation”, these readings might help (thanks to @carmenmccain for bringing them to my attention):
- DISSERTATION WRITING: A PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE OR AN INTELLECTUAL EXERCISE? A DISCUSSION PAPER ON CHRIS FLEMING’S “DISEASE OF THE THESIS”
- THESIS-INDUCED DEPRESSION