My name is Thomas (@thomas_clements_actual) and I handed in my #PhD three weeks ago. 📙
I messed up at school, failing all my exams. At the time I just thought I was lazy. I’d always been told that I needed to apply myself more.
But that’s the weird thing, when I realised what it was I wanted to do, I worked hard and enjoyed it. I got a job and studied in my spare time to pass my exams and... success!
I went to university and worked hard - I’d spend days in the library but the underlying voice in my head kept saying I was lazy - that I didn’t deserve to be there. I slogging my guts out to get a good mark during my masters, but no matter my accomplishments I couldn’t silence that negative inner voice. Then I got a #PhD and I was stoked; I was close to my dream of becoming a #palaeontologist!
But pretty soon, those feelings started to come back; the despair, the fatigue, the imposter syndrome, the chronic procrastination. I managed to get a paper published in a very prestigious journal during my PhD. Everyone congratulated me – but all it did was reinforce my #impostersyndrome and the fear that I’m not good enough.
I didn’t know what to do. My best friend told me to go to a councillor. Begrudgingly, I booked an appointment. I consider myself to be an outgoing and strong person. I love company and laughing. I love what I do.
It’s hard to explain to people that inner sadness that you can’t explain it to yourself. I found it really difficult to open up, but when I did I realised that those feelings I have had since I was at school, is depression.
It’s strange, because depression manifests itself in lots of forms; some days are fine, some days you don’t want to even want to get out of bed, and some days it gnaws at you when you are trying to work. But talking about it, turning off emails, exercising and trying to take the time to do the things you love helps. It still crops up, every day can be a battle (especially with my #viva coming up).
But I’m going to win.
Follow Thomas the cephalopod obsessive on Twitter @Thomas_clements