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Author Topic: PhD Done, Ridiculously Depressed  (Read 24976 times)
usedsock
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« on: May 04, 2012, 4:45:35 PM »

I've just finished and filed the dissertation.  I have some s***ty one-year adjunct employment lined up for next year. It's enough to get by for a year. But I am more depressed than I have ever been. It's difficult to make myself do anything, ever.  I wish I could sleep 24 hours a day.  I don't enjoy anything, have no life prospects, and am too much of a coward to die.

I don't really have a question.
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marigolds
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i had fun once and it was awful


« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 4:57:29 PM »

I'm sorry. I hope things get better for you.
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baleful_regards
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2012, 4:59:22 PM »

I don't know what to say except

Get thee to a therapist ASAP.



Also, dissertation let down is very very common. This past week has been a real rollercoaster for me. I slept Tuesday and Wednesday until nearly noon. (I filed Monday)

I didn't realize I was so tired/distraught/relieved. I also had one heck of a sob/cry in my therapists office on Wednesday. Yet I am on medication and followed by my primary therapist and my psychiatrist. I don't fool around with mental health issues because I know the "not even enough energy to die" feeling too well.

Please. Get to a mental health professional. Please.
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octoprof
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2012, 5:14:26 PM »

I've just finished and filed the dissertation.  I have some s***ty one-year adjunct employment lined up for next year. It's enough to get by for a year. But I am more depressed than I have ever been. It's difficult to make myself do anything, ever.  I wish I could sleep 24 hours a day.  I don't enjoy anything, have no life prospects, and am too much of a coward to die.

I don't really have a question.

Notwithstanding your employment situation, many folks have a period of depression after finishing the dissertation. It's the "I've been focused on this for X years of my life and now what? Or that's all there is?" sort of thing.

*HUG*

I also think a therapist is a good idea at this point.  You need to work through the depression (over the ending of the doctoral studies) and then get some help dealing with the employment let down, which we all hope is temporary!
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usukprof
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2012, 5:35:00 PM »

I don't know what to say except

Get thee to a therapist ASAP.
+1

Also, dissertation let down is very very common. This past week has been a real rollercoaster for me. I slept Tuesday and Wednesday until nearly noon. (I filed Monday)

Congratulations! (to both of you).

I created a shiny new "I did it!" thread that is just waiting for a post.
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yeastie
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2012, 5:54:23 PM »

I remember submitting my thesis and crying for hours and hours. I felt it was terrible and I was a fraud. It probably to me about a year to feel totally better, but I run to depression and my pat doc sucked.

Feeling down is normal, but if you can't function and it persists, please ask for help. 
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spectacle
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2012, 6:12:58 PM »

I'm sorry, usedsock.  I cried and cried and cried after I defended.  I drank a pitcher of margarita and picked a fight with a total stranger outside the bar.  I kicked over his bike and bellowed, "What are you gonna do? I'M A DOCTOR."

I had several weeks of post-disseration letdown.

Be kind to yourself.  And do speak to a therapist if you haven't already (personally, I seek out therapists with PhDs because they get our Special Brand of Crazy).
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betty_p
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2012, 6:44:21 PM »

I went through it too, usedsock.
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marigolds
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2012, 6:51:54 PM »

I'm sorry, usedsock.  I cried and cried and cried after I defended.  I drank a pitcher of margarita and picked a fight with a total stranger outside the bar.  I kicked over his bike and bellowed, "What are you gonna do? I'M A DOCTOR."

I kind of love this image, though. 
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bcohlan1
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2012, 6:52:24 PM »

I'm sorry, usedsock.  I cried and cried and cried after I defended.  I drank a pitcher of margarita and picked a fight with a total stranger outside the bar.  I kicked over his bike and bellowed, "What are you gonna do? I'M A DOCTOR."

I kind of love this image, though. 

Ditto.
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oldfullprof
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2012, 6:52:31 PM »

I, too.  And was off to (only) a VAP job at the time.  I played Joan Baez's "Signs" over and over.
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anisogamy
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2012, 8:00:14 PM »

I concur solidly with the suggestion that you seek therapy.  It can be a really unsettling transition. 

And congratulations on finishing.  It's a really awesome accomplishment.
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merinoblue
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2012, 8:13:34 PM »

As soon as I submitted, I came down with the worst cold in years and went to bed for 4 weeks.  When I had recovered, my body was so exhausted, it hurt to lift my arms or legs. I spent nearly another month in bed recovering from the fatigue.  I also gained 20 pounds, and none of my clothes fit any more. 

In addition to the advice about seeking support, get out of your own life, head, and heart by seeing a film once a week. It demands little energy, and it's a great way to immerse yourself in a different world for 2 hours.  If that's not your thing, go do something that gets you completely out of yourself--go for a hike or go take in a show at a gallery/museum, even if you think you're not interested.  Distraction is both a balm, and enriching.
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westcoastgirl
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2012, 11:01:06 PM »

Chin up. Seriously, wait a few days.

I've mentioned this before, but I had a severe adrenaline dump after submitting (I didn't know what that was until someone termed it for me). It was crazy. I've never felt anything like it. The next day, it was all a blur. I had a blackout--like the kind you have when you are drunk; I do remember that I was crying pretty hard and hating my life, but that's it. A friend was kind enough to get me through it. I've read about it--it's interesting--apparently the adrenaline in your body keeps you going and focused, it even creates tunnel vision and a higher than average heart rate. That was definitely me in the days leading up to submission. The minute you actually complete what the adrenaline helped you do, the chemicals have nowhere to go and it results in a mess. I'm not trying to be dramatic--I've never, ever felt suicidal, but that day was the first day I seriously thought that suicide might be a good thing.

On Friday, it resolved, but I ended up throwing up the entire day and feeling super panicky. By Saturday, I was feeling ok.

I'm wondering if the same thing will happen on the day of the defense. I'm really scared. I would like to actually be cognizant and not "blacked out."

Don't be sad about adjuncting. Get through it, next year's a better year since you are PhD, not ABD.
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usukprof
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« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2012, 11:13:01 PM »

I'm wondering if the same thing will happen on the day of the defense. I'm really scared. I would like to actually be cognizant and not "blacked out."

I wouldn't let one of my advisees defend unless they were ready, and my committees aren't hostile. 

You're the expert on your dissertation.  Hang in there, you'll be fine.
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Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.  --Dean Vernon Wormer
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