Anxiety about going back to my PhD

So, I thought I would do a quick update from my last post on my mental health. Generally, I am feeling well, better than I have done all year actually. I’m feeling more like myself than I think I ever have. I’m still on my medication but I’m not sure how much it is really helping, I want to come off it but at the same time I don’t feel ready yet. I am still having counselling and it is going really well, I’ve learnt a lot about myself and I am so grateful to my counsellor at the Light House. I feel really happy with my life and excited for the future.

However, the thing is… as we get closer to the new year and my return to my studies in January, I’m feeling more and more anxious each day. Sometimes my anxiety presents itself as excitement and other times pure panic. I’ve been working things out in counselling and came up with a few reasons for my anxiety.

Anxiety about failing my PhD

It’s probably not going to happen, but I am so anxious about how hard the rest of the PhD is going to be, I’m not sure I’m capable any more. Over the last year my confidence has really taken a knock. I feel like I’ve lost some of the the skills I used to have and I feel like it’s going to be so much harder than it was before. Not having been using my research skills over the past year, I feel like I need to re-learn them and get back into the swing of PhD again. I have been trying to do a day or two a week on my PhD, just reading and making amendments to some of my chapters but I’ve not done much really.

Anxiety Picture

Anxiety about what people think

Ok, I know it sounds silly – well to me it does – I shouldn’t really care what other people think, right? Well, there is still a lot of stigma around mental health as people don’t understand it. I worry that people won’t understand what I’ve been through this year and think that I’ve just taken a year off, just because I fancied it. That’s really not the case. I worry that people will think I just couldn’t handle PhD life, it wasn’t that either – I had a lot going on.

Anxiety about managing a PhD with anxiety and depression

Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. Where do I start with this one, how can I do it? I can just about manage life now, without the added stress, pressure and workload. How am I going to manage a PhD and everything that comes with it? I’ve got no idea how to do it or if it’s even possible, but thing is I am going to try – which is not what I was thinking a few months ago. I’m going to give it a go, a good go but taking things one step at a time.

One thing I’m doing to help me is going back to PhD part-time (EDIT: Read more about my switch to part-time on Thriving Part Time). Rather than spending all day every day on my PhD, going part time will help me to be able to do other things, such as working at Arty-Folks, and will give me a bit more time to get my PhD finished without the time pressure.

So, there goes… suppose it doesn’t seem so bad writing it all down… I’m sure I will be fine 🙂

Please do get in touch or comment below if you have any questions or can relate to this post. I would really love to hear from you and it will help me to see I am not alone in this.

1 thought on “Anxiety about going back to my PhD”

  1. You’re doing so much better than you realise laura! You’re amazing and an inspiration to everyone! Those suffering from health issues and even those that don’t think they are too.

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