Hey! I’m Susanna, a 4th-year PhD candidate in Microbiology at UNC-Chapel Hill & thriving depressive.
This is about visibility and vulnerability Please be kind. ❤
Shy as a child, I suffered panic attacks in middle school. Counseling taught me to control my anxiety, function in crowds, and attend a science summer camp! Done!
Enter high school; I felt sad in happy situations, I separated from friends, I rebelled and quit activities. At UIowa, it became clear I wasn’t an angsty teen, but showing signs of depression. Still, I wanted to be a scientist.
I started grad school at @uncchapelhill in 2014. Two years into my program, I failed a qualifying exam (shame!).
My relationship ended (embarrassment!), and I was disillusioned with academia but had no career goals (hopeless!).
I felt like I SHOULD just get over it - I had so much to be thankful for!
Depressive episodes and self-loathing sidelined me for days on end, increasing my guilt. My therapist, found in 2015, “just in case”, became an essential support.
There was no magic moment. I started medication, ramped up therapy, and looked for fulfillment in scicomm, reading, cooking, & exercise. I volunteered at ocrcc and @moreheadplanetarium @ncsciencefestival. When I couldn’t be happy, atleast I was useful.
“Another sunrise, another new beginning”, is my mantra and is partially tattooed on my wrist. Every hour with friends, family and my dogs is inspiration worth fighting for.
“But you seem fine. Are you sure it’s really depression?”. These ideas - that you can see depression, there is a typical depressed person, are misleading!
Mental health issues are either crippling or non-existent!! Being adept at managing pain doesn’t make it hurt less.
I see you, you are valid, you are tough, you are amazing. Ask for help. Keep fighting <3
Know anyone who’d want to see this or contribute? Tag them! DM to be featured! Thanks to @phd_to_success for support from the start, @musclebeach191 for validation, @science.sam for inspiration via vulnerability and to everyone who reached out w/love & support!