PhD motivation

So to any fellow PhD students current or former…I’ve been struggling. I just completed my first semester and I hit a wall with my mental health. Something I tried to explain to my advisor after he sent me an email saying he was unsatisfied and disappointed with my performance. So I’m taking steps to rectify this and am asking and begging for suggestions from people who have or are going through it.

I already scheduled a meeting with the university’s psychologist for counseling…but beyond that I’m not sure what to do. I’ve never run into this problem. Not only am I unmotivated unmotivated, but doing any of my research, even the simplest things, feels just like slogging through muck and takes me forever. I even fell a bit behind in classes, which is highly unusual for me. I’m not sure if it’s just a funk or start of more long term depression. But it’s frustrating fo know there is a problem and know you have to do something but nothing you try, if you even can force yourself outta bed that day, works…so yeah.

Figured why not cry to the internet about it and see what they say. XD

Cause just don’t want to feel alone right now.

You sound depressed my friend. I am happy youre looking for help. Vent it out tell all you want throw it into the world and get it out your body

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You’re not alone, I can relate. I unfortunately don’t know the answer, as I’ve been struggling with this for the last half a decade xD

Not a PhD though, I’m not even going for a bachelors. My goal is an associates degree, but I feel this so much.

I stuck that wall in middle school xD

I don’t have much to offer, but I’m here for you : )

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Yeah that’s what I think it may be. Hard to admit though…and it’s not like I’m not fully aware and support of mental health issues and getting help and no shame…but when it’s suddenly happening to me I just couldn’t acknowledge it.

Thanks, but yeah what I’m trying to do instead of keeping it in and just lying everything was fine for the past couple months. Finally like called my friend and broke down crying about it for two hours last night then emailed multiple paragraphs to my advisor about it…which he has not replied to so not sure how he feels about that or if he even thinks it’s like a real problem.

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Thank you. Here for you too. Keep at it. As well. Good luck with the associates degree!

Haha yeah I was lucky not to hit it til now. School has always been easy and something I enjoyed but yeah now it’s just like dragging myself along.

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Be like that sometimes but the saying goes even therapist have therapist.

Everyone needs a good cry. Dont worry about his feelings lets be real theyre paid to care and there are so many students he may have not read it yet, either way, I feel in my humble opinion youre on the track to betterment I reccomend seeing someone if you cant do that downloading talk space joining a community its okay to not be okay not everyone is all the time. tell me everything youre feeling love its so good to vent

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Coming from the perspective of someone with a very long history of clinical depression/anxiety, although no PhD experience… I think you’re going the right direction. You know something is wrong, you aren’t trying to tough-guy through it and pretend everything is okay, you’re asking for help, and you’ve made an appointment with a psychologist. You might also consider talking to a doctor - antidepressants are a lot more effective if they’re started relatively early, but that depends on whether this has been going on long enough to count as clinical depression. I’m not sure where in the world you are, but if it’s the northern hemisphere, it’s pretty common for stress to be a lot harder to deal with through the middle of winter, and something as simple as Vitamin D (which everyone is generally short on through the winter) might help. Talking to friends, in person or online, is also a good thing. Try to look after yourself as much as you can. And remember that you aren’t alone. This kind of thing often is only temporary and either it goes away on its own or it responds to treatment.

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Thank you

Yeah, for sure, I hear you.

I’ve learned a couple things that sound kind of generic and not helpful, but I’ll say 'em xD

I found things don’t always stay the same, even when it feels like there’s no end in sight. That doesn’t mean ignoring the issue or not looking for solutions is the answer. That also doesn’t mean that the situation isn’t any less crappy, and sometimes hearing that when you feel like there’s no hope just makes things worse, but sometimes it’s something to remember. because yay hope :smile:

Also sometimes I feel like it takes being torn apart by life to be built back up stronger, which is again, not something I always want to hear but it’s something I (somewhat begrudgingly) believe.

You’ve made it this far and there’s major respect for that.

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Very true thanks. Need to remember that. Everyone needs help at some point and some more than others.

True. I just hate doing it. Crying makes me feel weak and like I’m not doing anything about it, but Im getting better at accepting it as a natural release and way of doing things.

That’s a good point. In the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter as long as he continues working with me and doesn’t hold it against me. I’m assuming he’s read it given he responded to another email I sent that was solely work focused hours later. The long one probably took him by surprise though and not sure if it’s something he’ll like get.

Thank you, that’s nice to hear. Yeah have my assessment or whatever week from today and then basically they say if they think they can help or then recommend me to a more specialized psychologist or psychiatrist. But the nice thing is if they think they can help it’s free through the school, so that was my hope it works out otherwise I would’ve probably done the online way cause it can be more affordable.

Yeah that’s fair and I say that to people. Just got to get it through my head that applies to me too.

Just been hard and stressful and frustrating and just gah and bleh. XD I moved across the country for this opportunity and while I’m still positive about my decision I’m having trouble dealing. And I can’t figure out if it’s directly the move or just compounding it.

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Same. I don’t like doing it in front of people. Grew up toxic so its hard

You’re over thinking it I doubt he has seen it yet dont worry he will get to you

Just make sure youre fully honest about everything hold nothing back

Anything that helps

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Thank you that is helpful. I finally feel like I’m doing something about it, so that does feel good. And even acknowledging it like out loud took a huve weight off my shoulders. I’ve been lying about it for months and I didn’t realize how hard it was til I said something. That is a good idea. I talked with a friend about it who’s been on depression meds and she also suggested bringing it up if things get worse to whoever I see. I’m not sure if it is clinical, again something still new to me to experience. I’ve had trouble with anxiety before but not like serious depression. I’m on the eastern US close to NYC so not crazy far north. But yeah that’s true and actually something I’ve dealt with. But that was cause I loved in Alaska for a few years, that was lack of sunlight and definitely got to me in a different way. But took some vitamin d pills and did sunlamps and it was fine. Thank you for the advice and kind words. It’s something I know like deep down, but it’s helpful to see and hear it as well when my brain just overwhelms me.

I appreciate anything. Like I said, even if I know them seeing them again helps. =) So anyone taking time this all means a lot.

Very true thank you. Life is change so even if it sucks no temporary cause at some point something will change, maybe it’s something I can instigate or not, but either way it’ll come.

Haha yeah, not always the most pleasant experience but everything makes you grow into who you are. So suppose just gotta keep picking up the pieces.

Thank you. =)

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In my first year of grad school, second semester, I went through something similar. It was the first time in years that I had absolutely no motivation for going to class. I went, because I thought I had to, but as soon as I went home I would go straight to sleep. When it was time to turn in an assignment, something that would usually take an hour would take several hours. And it’s grad school you know, so none of my assignments were small.
I let assignments pile up until about three or four days before the semester ended, then I took about ten monsters and managed to type 75 pages of assignments (for two classes). Afterwards, I slept for 24 hours straight (I didn’t even know that was possible then).
It wasn’t the workload that got to me that semester, and I I haven’t had that problem since. I honestly think what helped me was actually scheduling me time for me to relax. Me time away from academia, family obligations, work and even friends.
I don’t know if that helps, but reading your story brings it back to me. That feeling like nothing is interesting and what am I doing?

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Yeah. Reason why I emailed him cause I knew I’d cry if I had to do it in person and just couldn’t handle that. Glad someone gets it.

Okay yeah thanks. Just need to stop my brain from running away on this.

Yep…which I am a tad nervous about. Not much of one for sharing, I’m getting better at it though. And I’m hoping it being a stranger will help plus having talked and written about it prior. I may make myself notes or something.

Thank you for sharing. It really helps but yeah something like that. Like I’d force myself to classes. I waited to like the day of hours before to do the homework and like you said that isn’t just easy when it’s graduate work. Barely studied for a final which was a large portion of my grade. Had to get extensions on two class final big grade papers cause I missed the deadline at which point wrote them both in one day…just like its not even that hard but could not bring myself to do it. Graduate school on a level is much easier like the stuff tends to be more critical thinking and writing based over fact memorization. And i love that stuff, but just could not bring myself to care or do it. I did terrible on my final…still don’t care. I’m lucky the rest of my grade was good to buff it. I sleep all the time. Sometimes only reason I get up when I don’t have class is to walk my dog otherwise I’m in bed, telling myself I should be working and just not being able to force myself to do it though.

I’m glad you are doing better and things have improved. That gives me hope. That’s a good point. I’m trying to go to the gym more again and even talking to a friend who knows I write on here she was asking the last time I wrote and I couldn’t remember. So I want to get back into that. It really helps to see so thank you again for sharing

Yeah pretty much and though I still like my research I just don’t have the motivation to do it and feel like when I do it I’m not making any progress.

Hey, I know the same feeling. I’ve been there too- oh wait, i’m still stuck with it. I’m not a PhD student though. Let’s see. Try looking into things as a beautiful thing. Make a journal, this journal will include questions, like ‘what happened to your day?’ ‘what did you feel earlier after a certain event?’ ‘what are the three things you were grateful for today?’ ‘what do you wish you’ve done earlier?’ You know, just like Camilla Mendes. To see the brighter side of life and be grateful of the things that happened. I don’t know that’ll help though. And try to cheer yourself up, perhaps talking weird things with your friends, going out (by this, I didn’t mean to party everyday), and much much more. You should try playing sometimes too – I don’t know what you’ll like playing but i’ve been playing MOBA games.

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