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I’ve been fairly strong throughout Covid, able to push myself to work every day (6-7 days x week) because my thesis project has been somewhat compromised by Covid that this is my unfortunate reality. However, we have just entered our country’s third lockdown recently and just yesterday - out of the blue - I broke for the first time in my life.

I won’t go into the details, and I’ve made efforts to reach out to a therapist.

I have signed a contract with another faculty member to work with them because my supervisor can no longer support me, and right now I am unpaid because of an agreement we made so that I could be paid “up front”, but I can no longer do this work given my extremely broken state of being. So in essence, I owe them hours, and I am currently on no income for the foreseeable future.

I am unsure how to communicate this in a professional manner, though, because I don’t want to hold the project back out of respect, and I also signed a contract. So I’m hoping to get some advice on the best way to approach this. Unfortunately, taking an official/medical leave of absence is not possible for me.

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    Take care of yourself first, see the counselor, others can take care of themselves for the time being. This sort of thing is more common than you’d guess. A brief note to your supervisor will suffice. The mental mud will clear, be patient and don’t forget about that counselor 🙂 Apr 27 at 22:30
  • What exactly do you want to communicate? That your work will be delayed? That you want to undo the contract (and presumably repay your advance)? Something else?
    – cag51
    Apr 28 at 1:11
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    What is the nature of your "agreement"? What prevents you from taking medical leave?
    – henning
    Apr 28 at 6:26
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    It is extremely strange that you say that medical leave is not possible --- can you explain why?
    – Ben
    Apr 28 at 22:59
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  1. Ask your therapist before you do anything. They may know something we do not.
  2. If you have a union, they may know about local rules you need to follow. Ask them.
  3. Tell the faculty you have been ill. They do not need to know the details of your illness. Nearly all faculty know that illness, including mental illness, is a common occurrence and not under your control.
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  • And do these things in this order. 2.5 might be to go to your university's central graduate school (if your school is organized like that) to find out what their policies are and ask them for advice. Apr 29 at 16:47

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