My experience with depression in academia

Graduate school is grueling, and it represents the nadir of many people’s emotional lives. A great many of my friends have struggled during these painful years. I needed counseling to remain on target while completing my Ph.D., and I know I am in good company on that score.

In this brave and insightful post, Rachel Strohm explains the process that led her to realize that depression was weighing her down and the therapy that helped her to rediscover herself. If you find that several of these warning signs sound familiar, remember that there are many people nearby who want to help!

Rachel Strohm

A painting that is almost entirely a deep turquoise blue, divided by a horizontal line of lighter blue in the middle

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Blue Divided by Blue)

And now for a post on a more personal matter.  I haven’t said much about this publicly, but for the last several years of my PhD studies, I’ve been dealing with a severe case of depression.  I missed major deadlines, failed in my teaching obligations, and thought seriously about dropping out at various points.  For most of that time, I didn’t really understand that I was ill, or that treatment was an option.  Once I did understand that and opened up about how I was feeling, I made enormous progress towards feeling happy and productive again.  I’d like to talk about this experience, and how some common narratives about academic success can make it particularly difficult for graduate students to identify when they’re depressed and get help.  Depression is a very common experience for graduate students, with nearly 40% of students in a…

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1 thought on “My experience with depression in academia

  1. Pingback: Depression and recovery, one year on — Rachel Strohm | Picking Up The Tabb

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