Hi I'm Alex @astrocyte_alex a 4th year PhD student studying neuroscience.
I am also someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life.
Growing up, I distanced myself from people, sabotaged relationships, slept more hours than I was awake.
In college, I felt lost, alone, inadequate, stupid, crazy. I allowed these feelings to consume me, and I failed out of college my sophomore year.
Science was the only thing in this world that got me out of bed most days. My curiosity was stronger than a cat's and this fueled me through a bachelor's degree and into a PhD program. At the start of grad school, the feelings of uselessness, unworthiness, and hopelessness came back but I didn't let the thoughts consume me this time.
I found a therapist, and I saw her every Monday at 8am for almost two years. I cried, I breathed, I relived my fears, and somewhere along the way I gained control over my illness with the help of medication. I became open about my struggles. I educated myself and others about impostor syndrome. I had the confidence to confront my boss. I started taking care of myself and it translated into every aspect of my life.
Fast forward to now; a place I never thought I'd be. In my final year of my PhD, defending in 4 weeks, and soon to be starting a post doc studying my dream project.
I've accepted that mental illness will forever be a part of me, but I refuse to let it hold me back.
The lion tattoo on my shoulder is a daily reminder and symbol of the story I just told you. I'm grateful for my cat-like curiosity, for it allowed me to grow into a fearless, secure, and confident lion/scientist. The world is full of unanswered questions and it's my job to help answer them! You too can be successful in the science world despite your mental illness; be open, find control, and keep being curious! 🦁️
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