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  1. I was fairly crafty about it. There aren't too many in one place and most are in places that aren't the focus of people's attention. When I did cut my wrists or arms, I did it shallow enough that it wouldn't scar too badly. The ones that did I've never been asked about. I have some wicked ones around both my ankles to mid calf. People rarely look in that area too closely. When they do I say I had a nasty run in with a thorn bush. Or, for the one that is bigger and more pronounced, I say I got a burn getting off or on a motorcycle. The worst one that has never quite healed is on my thigh. Frankly I have no good explanation for it. I haven't had anyone ask about it but if they did I'd just kind of shrug and maybe mumble something about falling out of a tree. The ones on my stomach are less obvious and I haven't been asked about them. I don't wear bikinis much so it doesn't come up. Ultimately, you don't owe anyone explanations. You can try some mederma or something else to try and get them to fade but just do what you are comfortable with. If people get too nosy just say you'd rather not talk about it and leave it at that.
  2. His flaws were all completely negated by how devoted he was to me. How he would do anything for me, to make me feel supported and loved. Which is what makes this loss so ****ing hard. No one will ever care for me like that ever again, because it is simply impossible to top him in terms of devotion. And I ****ed that up somehow. So how am I supposed to ever trust anyone ever again? What the hell is the point of going on with my life without a partner to share it with? I don't want a new chapter of my life. I don't think I can do it. I was barely holding it together before this happened so how am I supposed to strike out and bravely forage into this new chapter?
  3. It is always really difficult to look back at a happy time and have to wonder whether you can ever be like that again. And to hate the person you've become. I feel that way a lot. Like there's this version of me that used to exist, and people really loved her. Those people have stuck around to see if she comes back but they can't deal with who I am now. One thing that is always important to remember is that pictures don't show the whole story. And this part of your life doesn't show everything either. Maybe your body is worse, but maybe you're a more empathetic person. Maybe you can relate to other people better, and help other people more, because of the things you've went through. I wish I could tell you there is a way to make the negative thoughts go away but if I knew that I would solve a lot of my own problems also. I kind of separate those thoughts into 'depression voice' and 'reasonable voice' and just try to remember that depression voice is a lying piece of . The thing about parents in general is a lot of the time they want so badly to help you. They think they know what's right for you, because of course they do, they're your parent. But sometimes being told what to do isn't what you need at all. As for your therapist-can she help set you up with a new one she thinks is a good fit? Maybe she could even be there for the first session with the new one to ease the transition?
  4. Definitely don't be so hard about yourself that you used to self-harm. It has a stigma of being some terrible attention-seeking action but that's not true. For some people it provides a really intense feeling of relief. I used to cut too, and frankly while I am VERY glad I stopped, I would be lying if I said I sometimes miss the ability to do something concrete that gave me relief from overwhelming pain, even if it was always super terrible in the long run. But self-harm would not be such a prevalent problem if there weren't reasons people do it. Instead of being angry at yourself for having done it, why don't you celebrate the fact that you've had the strength not to go back? Because that is not an easy habit to break and staying away from it is an accomplishment you should be proud of. I'm only a few years out of college myself so I remember all too well the uncertainty and confusion about what to do next. The one thing I had to keep telling myself was: You have been in hard situations before. You have had to make difficult decisions before. You have faced obstacles. And after every single one of them you were still there, and you found a way to make it work. This is not going to be the day you stop having the ability to figure things out. Which kind of became my mantra.
  5. I feel like he has to snap out of it but I also feel like that's delusional wishful thinking on my part. He almost acted like he wanted me to fight him on it but I told him that I was not going to beg for him to stay with me. He's so stubborn I don't know if he'll come back even when he realizes he's made a mistake. But either way I have to find a way to get my life going right now, without him. Which is hard when he's in everything. We were sharing a life together and now without any kind of warning it's like WHELP BEST PICK UP YOUR HALF. I'm so angry but I can't see him as the enemy when he's always been my solution. I can't stand the thought that he actually thinks we're better off apart. It's like trying to tell myself gravity doesn't exist. I can tell myself and tell myself but it doesn't compute. No distraction is enough to make me forget that he should be sitting beside me. He should be messaging me about what we wanna do after work. He should be waking up next to me in bed and smiling at me every morning. This isn't fair and it isn't right and I don't know how to keep putting one foot in front of the other when everything is so wrong.
  6. I have been that girl. And it is really, REALLY hard to convince someone that it's ok to get help when they see it as losing. There isn't an easy way to do this and I wish there were. Maybe if you agreed to go to therapy with her, say it's something you want? Which I realize might be hard long distance... The things I tell myself when I feel like I'm giving in to weakness, are that depression and anxiety are real things. This isn't just a collective of lunatics who made them up as a conspiracy to con weak people. They are real, they are beasts, and they have a very tangible neurological basis. No one expects you to get over cancer without chemo. No one excepts you to will your way out of diabetes. So she shouldn't expect herself to will herself out of these problems. Instead of seeing it as a loss, I now see it as the bravest thing I can do. No one likes to admit they're having problems. Reaching out for help may be the hardest thing to do right now. I was very similar to her for a long, long time. Since she seens to be resistant to advice during her down times, maybe you could talk to her when she's calm. That is going to be hard for you. But you need to assure her that you will be there for her, you are looking out for the best for her no matter what, and all you want is for her to start feeling better.
  7. In my experience you might be surprised how people react by you reaching out for help when you know you need it. It tends to be less "you're crazy" and more "I'm so glad you're having the strength to do what is best for you." That being said, if you do decide to go to a therapist or psychiatrist, then it is 100% up to you who you want to tell. What you are experiencing is not uncommon for people in that transition period between university and 'the real world.' That doesn't make it any less horrible and terrifying. The anxiety of being uncertain of your future when it might seem like everyone else you know has it completely together is horrifying. But there are ways of making it a little less terrible. First of all, do not think that just because you don't have a rock solid plan right now that means you're a hopeless failures because that could not be any less true. I know how good certainty would feel but at this point it is just unreasonable for most people. I watched so many people who were so convinced they were going to flounder and drown (including myself) end up finding their place doing whatever they wanted to do. You have time. Second of all, I would definitely recommend seeing a therapist at least if not a psychiatrist. Your university probably has resources, or at the VERY least they can refer you to someone else. It is surprising how helpful it can be to talk to someone that you don't feel like you have to lie to or water anything down. Like they are literally trained professionals in dealing with situations exactly like this one. Talking is very powerful and it can take away from some of the outbursts you have at your loved ones. Third, if you do see a psychiatrist and he or she thinks you should try anti-depressants, follow his advice. A lot of people I know see this as 'losing.' I see it as doing a favor to yourself and everyone around you by taking care of yourself in the way you need to be taken care of. Depression and anxiety are BEASTS, and no one would ask you to slay a dragon without a sword. I hope that helps at least a little bit.
  8. Feel the same way. Like people are so proud of you for being able to 'function.' Like yeah I got to work today....at 1, after 2 xanax and bupropion, cried the whole walk in and might cry again at any moment. Don't feel like I can do any work but since I'm physically sitting here that must mean I can analyze data, plan experiments, and run lab stuff right? There's so much focus on getting us to this place where we can sort of function like a person. But is it even worth it if it hurts that much to barely qualify as maybe ok? I just have to hope that at some point it starts being worth it again but right now the prospects aren't looking good.
  9. I feel you there...I don't know if there's a specific thing that is triggering you or just anything you perceive as better than what you have. For me it's a person who weaseled their way into everything I love. Everything. The only way I get around it is by kind of getting angry and being like "no! He doesn't own Harry Potter! I loved Harry Potter before he was ever in my life and he will not take that from me even if we used to read it together." So just remember that those people don't OWN happiness. You can still have YOUR happiness and it doesn't have to be the way other people want it. As for couples and rich people, their private lives are often as wrought with problems as everyone else's. I had a perfect life on paper. Then I didn't. And I am struggling to deal with it. Struggling a lot. I don't know if any of that was helpful at all. But I guess what I'm saying is, it's very natural to feel like everyone else has got some magic pulling-it-together resources, but you can't let that define what you need to be happy. Now is not forever.
  10. My relationship of 9-10 years has ended. He spent so many years, so much time convincing me to trust him and to rely on him. I didn't make it easy. In fact, I dated other people and he was there if I needed him throughout, non-romantically. And when those relationships were over he was there immediately. I never asked for this kind of devotion. He gave it, always, and readily, anything I needed whenever I needed it. He moved to a different state to be with me. I didn't ask for that either. But he moved here and he wormed into every crevice of my life. He was pushing for us to move in together and get married, and that was the plan. This was a sure thing. He convinced me that it was. Ending it was never on the table. He finally got me to believe him. And then after one drunken fight (well he yelled i just stood there), he decides that he decides that our relationship is over. I gave him a week to calm down and then I finally got the nerve to contact him just to see if this is real and he basically told me that he "still loves me" but his love for me "wasn't the best for his life moving forward." Like he was quitting a job. There was NO lead up to this. He never communicated ANY problems or unhappiness. I am not delusional. We were happy, totally happy, and whatever minor things he was upset with he wouldn't talk to me about them or they could have been fixed.He called me a 'ball and chain' in the drunken fight so I guess he wants to be free of that moving forward towards his aspirations of being drunk as much of the time as possible I've been struggling with depression lately. It's been hard, and it's been hard on him. But who would leave something that's gone on for this long, over a small period of imperfection? What kind of a psychopath spends that much luring me into such a warm, beautiful, trusting relationship, that goes both ways, and then tears it away. No one has ever loved me like he did or been there for me like he has. He's seen me depressed before, but I guess it's been a little more sustained this time. But I've been taking steps to deal with that. Part of me feels like this is just some kind of weird quarter life crisis and he is making a huge mistake. I know it is a huge mistake. He doesn't form close relationships outside of me (trust me I've encouraged him to, and I guess he's gotten a little better, but he certainly isn't snuggling up telling his problems to his work buddies). What is his plan now? Bartend, and get ****ed up drunk on his nights off. Play FIFA. Maybe go to the bars he works at even when he isn't working to get ****ed up some more on a discount. Like he's told me before that when I go out of town that is basically what he does. We had a life together. If he wanted it to be more focused on him and his aspirations, I was always very clear that I would be very on board with that. So I don't know how being without me could possibly be better than being with me. I mean I was gunna use the money I have to buy him a bar he could run himself, since that is his dream. We were going to have such a beautiful future. And I am not delusional, you cannot mistake how affectionate and loving and caring he was for me all the time. I was more sure of him than anything else in the world. I know I'm doing everything I should be doing. I'm in the counseling center several times a week. I'm trying to work as much as I can, although my boss knows the situation and is being very understanding. I saw the psychiatrist and he gave me some xanax that's helping me calm down enough to even think. I have extremely supportive friends that have been amazing. But I still can't even feed myself. Every song, every piece of clothing and furniture in my room, every bar or restaurant or store in the whole damn city feels like it's been poisoned. I physically feel like somethings liquifying my organs and turning them to lead and they're about to fall out of my butt. It was my city first. Why did he have to take it. Why did he have to lure me into this. Why is he making what is such a huge terrible mistake when we still love each other. I can't stop these thoughts. I know there's a life on the other side but I'm not sure I can get there or if I even want to. I don't want to **** myself, I just don't want to be here anymore either. How long is it going to be before I can live and not just struggle to get through the next second, minute, hour, or day? I keep thinking this has to stop and it won't and I'm going to stop getting sympathy soon. I feel like people are going to be like 'get over it it's a break up' but it isn't just a break up, it's a complete tear down of the one thing I thought I could trust and rely on. The ONE THING I was sure of. I have to question every instinct I have. So how long? How long before I don't have to force myself through every moment?
  11. I just had a meeting with my bosses. It did not go well. As usual they assumed everything wrong with my project is my fault and basically acted surprised that I wasn't super stoked to do a bunch of crap projects that won't work anyway. I mean I said I'd do it but apparently that's not enough. I also broke my rib a few weeks ago. From COUGHING. That is how sick I was for and for how long. Can't help but think that maybe if I took better care of myself instead of putting work first maybe like this wouldn't happen. But you know all of my frustrations are totally my fault so **** me. So I am in considerable physical pain. I haven't gotten a good night of sleep for weeks because apparently I can only sleep on my right side or my stomach and both hurt too much. I've been sitting here crying silently for about 10 minutes, and people are coming up, and they have to see that I have tears and snot running down my face even if I'm not making any noises. And nobody gives a , seriously, they're just getting what they need from me and moving on. So basically I guess I'm in pain, I'm exhausted, I'm frustrated, and I feel like nobody could give any fewer craps about any of it. I kind of want to go lock myself in the bathroom and seriously self-harm for the first time in 6 years but that would probably just make everything worse and get me committed if someone found out.
  12. Thank you so much Lauryn and ellemint for responding and for your kind words and support. I honestly did not expect how nice it would be to just put everything out there and hear validation back. Even though I can of course talk to people I have here, I always feel really guilty, like I'm burdening them or something. We all vent about our bosses/labs, but it's really a relief to kind of put the more depression-driven aspects of how I'm feeling out there which I keep to myself most of the time out of pride and because I don't want people to worry about me. I have a boyfriend who is the most supportive person in the world in terms of a lot of things, but I feel like I can't talk to him about these things some of the time. He wants so badly for me to happy and he tries so hard to do everything in his power to relieve stress for me and help me out, and I feel like he kind of takes it as a personal failure when I'm feeling down and can't fix it. I know how lucky I am to have him, but it's hard to articulate that this is a problem that neither he nor I can fix in day. So it's just so refreshing to be able to say what I'm feeling, honestly, and not worry about upsetting people or altering opinions of me. And of course it's nice to kind of say the worst and be like, "look. no one is swooping in to tell you you're ungrateful or whiney or just wrong." as silly as that may sound. In answer to your question, ellemint, I am also neurophys/e-phys. I thought action_potential was kind of appropriate as a username because it refers to something in my field but also if you think about it as 'having potential for action' it describes how I feel a lot of the time. Like yeah there's potential for lots of good stuff but the follow-through can be the problem. This seemed wittier at the time. The good thing I have going for me in terms of mentorship is that I am co-mentored. Mentor #2 is a lot more hands-on, does weekly meetings, and is much more present. He is really supportive, and does his best to help me through issues he knows I am having with Mentor #1. His lab is smaller and he is more involved in everyone's day to day schedule. It's hard because at the current moment Mentor #1's major research focus is more involved with the things that I'm doing on a day to day basis right now, and I spend most of my time in his lab, both because of logistic things and because of responsibilities in the lab. I feel guilty a lot of the time for kind of dragging Mentor #2 into my and my problems. It's not like he wants to be dealing with this crap either, and even though he would never say so I wonder if he regrets entering into the situation in the first place when he doesn't get much out of it and puts so much time/effort into me. I don't want to make it out as though Mentor #1 is a bad or uncaring person because I actually like him as a person a lot. I know he cares about my future and I know he wants to do right by me, and to an extent appreciates what I do for the lab and for my own work. A major part of the problem I think is, he has always been in very established, big labs with multiple techs and lab managers that have things running like clockwork. He doesn't know how to set things up like that and trusts it to whomever gets it done. I'm not sure if he really realizes how much goes into keeping a lab running from day to day, like making sure we have appropriate supplies and things are working, and he thinks I'm exaggerating the problems. He also doesn't realize that when he tells an undergrad "do x y and z" without specific further instruction, they just don't have the skillset, nor should they be expected to, to take that instruction and figure out every step necessary to get it done. So since I'm the most senior person in the lab of course they come to me and it becomes my problem. Both mentors tell me to just ignore things that don't directly pertain to me and be like 'that's not my problem,' and I am getting better at that but it is hard for me to just be like NOPE FIGURE IT OUT when they don't have anywhere else to go, because Mentor #1 is not in the lab a good deal of the time due to travel, meetings, etc. So I feel left in the dust and like I'm just being used as a backbone for the lab, without getting what I need to out of it. He also just kind of throws out big ideas and experiments but I'm expected to make things happen on my own, which often involves a lot of stuff I just don't feel capable of planning by myself. So I feel incompetent and lazy. And again, none of this is in any way intentional on this part and I really think he just can't see it happening. On a more optimistic note, I'm actually feeling pretty good today. I just gave a presentation for an audience of fairly critical people, and it went really well. It wasn't directly on my work but it's stuff I know a lot about and I felt good about being able to talk confidently about something and see that acknowledged by the people listening. One professor in particular is not always gentle to people presenting, but he seemed impressed by my presentation and my ability to answer questions, and told me I did a very nice job at the end. So it's a small victory but I'm taking it as a big one because why not. I'm just happy to be reminded that there are things I can do right. I also stood up to my boss a little bit yesterday and basically put my needs before the lab's which was difficult but good I think. I think that maybe I would benefit from counseling or therapy. I'm kind of hesitant because I've had some bad experiences in the past and also because scheduling is hard. Especially when I'd eventually have to explain to people why I mysteriously have to be gone once a week at a certain time. Because I assume most office hours are also the hours I am at work. But given that I've now twice ended up rambling on for far longer than I intended to apparently I have a lot to get out... Thanks again for listening, and thank you again Lauryn and ellemint for responding.
  13. As a background, I'm a mid-20s student doing a PhD in a scientific field. I was diagnosed with depression when I was around 11-12 (and honestly probably should have been earlier), and have been on medicine since then. I struggled periodically through middle and high school; things got better for me (for the most part) in college. Depressive episodes would come but I would know that I would get through it and soon enough I'd feel better again. My first few years of graduate school were great for me. Stressful, of course, but not all that much more so than a demanding undergraduate schedule, and I loved what I was doing. I made some close friends and got along with my bosses. People were pleased with my work, and I felt good about it. My scientific progress wasn't spectacular, but I attributed it to being on a very difficult project and dealing with the troubleshooting that goes with being in a new, unestablished lab. I was flattered with the trust that my boss had in me, and excited about how much independence I had. Things started changing in my third year. This is a time when a lot of people start feeling discouraged, because in many cases you feel like you should have gotten more done than you have. My friends, people in the same year as me, started getting publications. I kept telling myself that this was because they started projects that were already half-completed, and that I was getting more experience with the tougher parts of science. These rationalizations work less and less as time goes by. I used to relish in getting in on weekends, working 12 hour days and doing experiment after experiment. Now I just can't seem to harness that kind of excitement for anything. Getting out of bed and going to lab is incredibly difficult and there are days that I can't even do it. There are other days where I sit in my car, parked, for several minutes before I can even get the willpower to walk in. Every experiment seems incredibly pointless, and I am quite sure that each one will fail, and wonder why I'm bothering with it. My attitude towards everything is completely different, and I can't help but think it's just because I'm not as naive as I used to be. I used to like the fact that my somewhat absentee mentor would basically entrust the whole lab to me. That I had authority and seniority over our lab of mostly undergraduates, and I was willing to take on extra responsibilities and take it as a compliment. Now I find it incredibly annoying that he is so out of touch with the daily goings-on in the lab, that he can't manage the people he chooses to let into our lab, and that he just trusts that I'll clean up all the messes (and I mean this both literally and figuratively). I find it disrespectful that when I go to him with these concerns, he treats me like I'm a nagging mother and brushes them off. And I find it frankly terrifying that he has very little idea of what I'm doing on a day to day basis, that he is so hands-off that he frankly couldn't even tell you for sure what projects I'm focusing on right now. There's independence, and then there's feeling like no one cares that you're drowning. It really doesn't help that science as a whole has this incredibly unhelpful attitude towards discouragement. Of course I am generalizing, but if you try to talk about how hopeless you're feeling, or angry, or how much you hate getting crap result after crap result, a very common response is something along the lines of "well, that's just how science is, and if you can't handle it then you aren't meant to be in this field." Well, maybe that's true but that really doesn't help me right now and now you've just reinforced my suspicion I'm the problem. It's like having human feelings of discouragement are an inadmissable weakness, and if your response to perpetual failure is anything less than a gleeful "let's try it again with 20 new parameters!" you're not cut out to be a scientist. I find it impossible to display disappointment without coming off as an overly-emotional little girl throwing a tantrum. But frankly I'm not that good at concealing things, and the people around me know that my morale is low, and it only takes a few off-hand comments to see that while many of them want to be supportive, many of them also just take it as me being a cynical jerk. I'm not the first person to have these feelings about grad school life or academia in general. If you google "graduate student mental health," you see dozens of articles and statistics about the huge rate of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems in doctoral students. But for some reason we still can't admit it's a problem we're having. We laugh and made jokes about 'grad school life' and justify being 'high-functioning alcoholics.' I hide how unhappy I am with humor and sarcasm. Most of the time I'm convinced that I'm just lazy and whiney. I don't work nearly as much as I should be working, I'm not as productive, and I sometimes can't even follow through with experiments because I can't bring myself to care enough when I know it won't succeed. I am fundamentally changed as a person. I'm anti-social and angry, which is a stark change from a few years ago. I am tired all the time, regardless of how much sleep I get. I have gone from being extremely confident and loving giving talks, to hating it because I'm certain that everyone will see what I already am quite certain of, that I no longer am worthy of a stipend or a place in the program. I'm not even stressed that much most of the time, I'm just so apathetic to the whole charade. And frankly I don't even believe in science anymore. I've seen how people bend results or selectively choose what data they show, and frankly you more or less have to if you want to get a 'high-impact' paper. I used to think that you could be an exception to this, that I would do good, reproducible, science the way I wanted to, but now I am certain that this is not even possible. My work just doesn't seem worthwhile anymore. People hear "PhD" and "research" and think I'm achieving some great feat for the world, when in reality I would contribute much more to society by bartending at the pub down the street. But worse than stress or apathy or feeling like I'm drowning in my office is the self-loathing. I feel like if I could just feel a little bit better then I could have the energy to better myself in some ways (exercise more, or cook instead of eating out, or socialize more), but I can't manage to do it, and I feel like that is entirely my fault. I'm a prideful person and I spend so much time just hoping that no one notices how much I'm falling apart. Last week I saw my psychiatrist and we decided I should go on a second anti-depressant. I'd been on the second medication for a time, but successfully stopped taking it during college. I was really proud of being able to stop taking it, and it was very difficult for me to admit that I am essentially taking a step backward. I am trying to see this as a little bit of a triumph over myself, that I'm actively trying to get better even though it's hard. And I guess posting this is another way of me trying to take a step forward, admit that I'm not some stoic all-mighty scientist, that I'm a mess and I'm crumbling and I need help to stop it. I can't decide if posting here is really a good idea, or if it's just another procrastination when I should be working on a presentation for journal club. I'm terrified that someone would link this account back to me and it would get back to the people I work with. There's gossip and reputation-ruining in academia just as bad as there is in a high school and admitting to emotional problems is certainly a way to garner bad press. I don't expect anyone will even read this far, but at least I'm putting things into words, even if it is anonymously. So if anyone does read this, thank you for your time.
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