Post PhD blues

I have had a lovely Easter break. I’ve spent time with friends, caught up on sleep, cuddled the cats, pottered around the house. I have no idea, therefore, why I seem to be crying for no reason at the drop of a hat. I drove in to work for a few hours to catch up on some of the backlog today. Driving always seems to be good thinking time for me. And still I was teary…overly emotional. The only reason I can come up with is post PhD blues.

It is always difficult to finish a big project successfully if you don’t have something else to occupy your time. The emotional high of success and completion can all too easily turn into a slippery slope where you end up in a dark place, asking yourself “now what?”I remember my grandmother telling me when I was visiting her in North Wales at Christmas 1994 – “You need something else to look forward to when you go home.” She was right. Having achieved that goal of visiting her after so many years, I needed something else to look forward to.

I have worked on making sure that I have things to do, people to see…but I am honestly struggling at times. It’s a huge accomplishment and I am very proud of myself. On the other hand, absolutely nothing seems to have changed. I had a strong sense of that the day I submitted my thesis for examination too. Driving to work, knowing it was finished and on my desk to be submitted. The world keeps revolving. I am working out, bit by bit, what it means for me…how I want to shape my life now, all those things I let slide while I was finishing it (particularly around the house).

I do have something to look forward to – the trip planned for the Christmas break to the US to visit George and hopefully a few other friends too. However, the end of the year feels a long way off and work is crushingly busy. At times, I feel like I can’t breathe…but I keep moving. It will happen. I will make it happen. And I need to plan something nice for every day between now and then…little things to look forward to, goals to achieve.

I’ve been in this dark place before…I know there is a way out…

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6 Responses to Post PhD blues

  1. Michelle says:

    Even a small star shines in the dark. when you feel the darkness moving closer, take pleasure in the small things in life, go outside and breathe in the fresh air….look at and be close to nature…remember you don’t have to do huge things all the time to be alive, sometimes being still is enough!

  2. Andy B says:

    Focus on the moment – live in the now – enjoy the little things. With everything you do focus on one positive aspect (thinking time in the car, the feel of rain on your face knowing you will be somewhere warm soon, the exercise you are getting as you run for an appointment). Savour every little moment of joy and you’ll wake with a smile every morning!

  3. Andy B says:

    Fortunately (or unfortunately) I actually live this one – I find joy in getting up to my boy at 03:30 and 04:30! Smiling when the alarm goes of at 05:15 is a constant challenge however ๐Ÿ™‚

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