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My silly tribulations with a scatter-brain

My name is Suyash. I am studying biophysical mechanisms underlying development. I am interested in understanding how cytoskeletal proteins help the skin of the zebrafish epithelium to stretch and spread during development. I struggle with ADHD and depression.

I was diagnosed with attention deficiency and hyperactivity as a kid ‘but was told that I would grow out of it as I grew older’. This is obviously not the case but growing older did help make some mechanisms to be mindful and deal with. I started seeing a therapist at a difficult time in my life that coincided with us plunging into the pandemic. I lost a grandparent but was unable to see my family during this turbulent time. The pandemic resulted in throwing an already chaotic PhD life even more out of balance. To cope and get the support that I needed to endure and appreciate this time, I relied on my most closet friends and partners. Being more open and communicative about my mental health helped me get help from these various sources when I couldn’t handle these things on my own.

Some of the things that help me are mindfulness practices to be more in tune with myself, regularly working out (also helps to get a bit of sun and hanging out with friends) and working in smaller chunks using the Pomodoro method (quite often recently with amazing people I have met through the PhD balance network! Thank you guys!). Working in an intentioned and time-limited manner helps conserve my concentration and also provide structure to what can quite often be very unstructured work. I usually am around in the lab with my trusty headphones as I find it especially hard to block out distracting impulses without music. It is never easy to feel like you can barely sit in a chair to type out 100 words some days while feeling completely normal the next day.

Compassion for myself and maintaining a regular routine are some of the best tools to address ‘bad mental health’ days. Patience and time are never friends to an ADHD brain, but new experiences and growth in knowledge (Provided in abundance when researching something novel) are the best motivators it gets. A very delicate balance, of discovering new things while taking care of myself and the things I already have is what helps me take my PhD journey one step at a time!


We thank Suyash for submitting his story for #PhDStrongerTogether! Find him on Twitter (SuyashNaik6) and Instagram (suyash_suedt).

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