I am a first year PhD student, and since starting, I’ve had worsening mental health problems which I have tried to deal with to no avail. I ended up failing quite a few things in the second term earlier this year and am on a very very fine ledge with the exam board.
One of the biggest factors upsetting me during this time is my inability to read a paper. It’s incredibly important to read as many papers as I can in my field, and I find so many excellent and relevant ones, but once settling down to read them, I just don’t. My brain refuses to take in the words. It causes me a lot of pain and sadness and makes my mental health worse. I found that I am self sabotaging myself on an extreme scale especially when I need to have read it by a certain time, but I just don’t. I focus really hard on objects on my desk and end up breaking down and taking a long time to settle myself down.
I have spoken long ago to the universities mental health services and the counsellor was very vague and seemed to skirt my immediate problems instead offering suggestions that didn’t really help. I don’t understand what is happening to me so I don’t know how to speak to colleagues or advisors. I’m just a poorly performing student right now who doesn’t seem to know what’s going on in their field.
I don’t know what I am suffering from, but I feel like I’m slowly drowning in despair. I am on here to ask for advice. This website has helped me a lot.