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Re: grad school and depression

Posted by Elizabeth on April 6, 1999, at 1:28:03

In reply to Re: grad school and depression, posted by Matt on April 2, 1999, at 23:46:33

>I've refused to let issues concerning my mental health dictate whether or not I pursue a particular career. I know that there will be times (like now) when I'm not as functional as I'd like to be, and other times when I'm feeling well and I'm able to get lots of work done.
>I've just worked hard not to let it become an excuse for not doing what I want to do. This isn't easy always, for sure.


I know you meant well by this, but it's troubling to me. For me it's never been a matter of "letting" my disorder make decisions for me or whatever - when I am depressed, I simply am unable to function well enough to do things like teaching, research, and studying that a graduate student needs to be able to do all the time. It's not an "excuse."

I made a rash decision to go to graduate school a couple years ago when I was at what was probably my lowest point ever, and it's something I regret - just to give another side, for what it's worth. Part of it, no doubt, was that I really wasn't as excited about math as I needed to be, but I think that even so, I could have gotten through a year (you know, "take the Master's and run") or so if I hadn't been depressed. It was a terribly demoralizing experience.

It sounds like your depression/anxiety/whatever is better controlled than mine - or Mila's - is. Not doing as well as you'd like all the time is very different from being pretty much incapacitated, from not being able to do the minimum that you need to do.

Mila, I do like the idea of getting your hormones checked (or whatever it is they do) if the "two weeks out of every month" thing really is what happens (rather than, say, "on average"). It sounds mighty suspicious when you put it like that! And I think that if you can get this thing under control (as *many* people are able to do), then there's no reason you shouldn't be able to do well in grad school.





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