Being A Grad Student With A Mental Illness:

Some schools are better than others about helping students work through mental illnesses. I'm a grad student in science (female) who is undergoing treatment for anxiety. Lots of anxiety.

Not a lot of people talk about this in school, or how it can start to take over your life and leave you with a lot of debilitating self-doubt. It's a little taboo. Being treated for a problem like anxiety or depression makes you weak. You don't want to tell anyone because you don't want anyone to think of you differently.

I think the people in my office know. My anxiety manifests with OCD. Many people think OCD is all about washing your hands in sets of threes. Everyone shows their anxiety differently. Mine manifests by making me check things. I have a set of rituals that I MUST complete before I can go home from work. I have separate lists of rituals for leaving the house or going to sleep. Anyway, back to the lab (like my normal life), every time we get a new student, or someone in my office sees me doing my rituals, I have to explain about my O-C-Demon. For the new students, I just met them, I don't want them to think that I'm crazy. Maybe my lack of willingness to discuss it with them just makes them think I'm crazier. Either way, anytime they bring it up I feel so humiliated. Then someone teases me about them. Then I get more anxious. Then more things go on the list of things to check before I go home from work.

Telling people about them anonymously makes me feel better. This is fairly cathartic. I hope I can help someone. Grad school is hard enough without having to deal with your demons, whatever kind of demons you have. Don't let your demons take away your feelings of self-worth. Grad school can do that well enough on its own.

More stories from grad school next time.
anxietygradstudent anxietygradstudent
26-30, F
Jan 19, 2013