How I did a PhD with a broken brain

In 2015 I had a severe reaction to an antidepressant. Overnight I went from someone who had never experienced any physical anxiety symptoms to major panic attacks, agoraphobia, and constant general anxiety. I no longer had the capacity to do my PhD and took temporary withdrawal for a year where I had to learn how to function as a human being again. Upon returning to my PhD, a major achievement in itself, I realised the stress of even half an hour’s worth of work rendered me not only incapable of functioning for the rest of the day, but potentially the day after too. How was I supposed to do a PhD if I couldn’t even manage half an hour? If I was to complete my PhD, I needed to figure out how to work a stress-free day. Over the course of a couple of years I learnt and refined a routine that helped me to achieve this. It wasn’t much fun and I still struggle a lot of the time. I fall out of the routine and take shortcuts. I am human after all. But I sit here with a finished thesis and time to spare. This is how I did my PhD with a broken brain.

A Section Called Life

A healthy work-life balance. Many talk about achieving this phenomenon but what does it actually mean and can anyone ever truly have the perfect work-life balance? In the world of postgraduate study, being able to master this is one of many key aspects in successfully completing your journey without losing out on the world around…

A State of Transition

Shifting from the end of your PhD to the beginning of an early career researcher path can be disconcerting and make you feel lost. Jenny Mak proposes a two-part process to navigate this transitional period.

Starting a Startup after your PhD

Self-awareness, determination, expertise, project management… the skills required to launch a startup are very similar to those you gain throughout the duration of a PhD. So why do so few PhD students seriously consider launching a startup as a serious career pursuit post-PhD? In this week’s PhD Life post, Chengcheng Kang considers the value of…