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Edit 2:My question is not a duplicate of this question: Should I tell my recommendation writers about my self-studying since graduating? Should I also mention my illness and depression? because I am asking about how much of the details of this setback should be discussed and in what manner with potential supervisor/ admission committee in the interviews not to referees. So, kindly reopen this question.

The question asked here is an extension of this question: Should I mention about the time wasted (6 months) due to depression in my CV when I will apply to PHd programs

Edit 1: I am applying to UK, France and Denmark.

Very brief overview of the situations that happened from Jan 2021 : I am living in a 3rd world country. I completed my masters in math in Jun 2020. Then I wanted to study some additional topics before applying to programs in Europe. So, I took a yearlong break and went home. I studied fine until Jan 2021, then constant verbal abuse by my father started and occasionally by my mother (they earlier also used to verbally abuse me, but I didn't do my bachelors and masters in my native city, so there was less impact for me).

I was admitted to a mental hospital for 10 days in Feb and misdiagnosed with schizophrenia (I have depression). Verbal and emotional abuse continues, and again I was admitted to a different hospital in March for 11 days, diagnosed with depression. Verbal abuse again continues after some days of me being discharged. So, I moved out, taking on a part time job to sustain myself in a different city on 1st of July and I have been learning some new math topics alongside. I am thinking about suicide since March 2021 but postponed to try for one more year to get a PhD position, as learning and doing math is the only thing I like.

(Reason of verbal abuse: parents wanted me to do full time job and not math research so that I can settle early and also wanted me to take a career like medical doctor or engineer which earns more and takes less time to settle). I could only study 1 month of math in these 6 months.

From August 21 to now: I am learning new math topics alongside my part time job and have applied to 3 Phd programs so far. I have interview calls: one from a potential supervisor and one from an admission committee of 4 professors in February.

In my CV I just wrote that from February to July 2021 I could not be as productive as I wanted to be due to personal reasons.

How much should I mention the exact situation I faced and why I couldn't be as productive as I wanted to be if asked (if not asked I will not tell anything about it) in interviews for PhD positions and in what manner to paint a positive picture?

I really need advice.

Depression is in check now as I am away from my parents and take medicine regularly and reading self help books( Good therapy is not available as I live in poor country with not much health infrastructure).

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  • In some countries this is an incredibly delicate subject that might require some competent legal advice. Your medical professional may be able to guide you in finding the correct path. Anyway, I hope you are feeling better.
    – Dan
    Jan 8 at 13:53
  • Not sure if the linked question is yours, but between the past questions from your account and this very similar linked question, I think we've already provided all the advice we can give. Good luck.
    – cag51
    Jan 8 at 20:48
  • @cag51 My question is not a duplicate because I asked about how much of the details of this setback should be discussed and in what manner with potential supervisor/ admission committee in the interviews not to referees. So, it is my humble request to reopen this question.
    – XaXa
    Jan 14 at 8:50
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I'd suggest that, unless you are specifically asked about a gap, you don't say anything. If you are asked, be honest but with minimal information. I can't characterize what your medical condition is but something along the lines of "I had a bout of depression that was medically addressed is now under control."

If necessary don't lose contact with a medical professional to keep yourself healthy. Make sure you can recognize the symptoms and act when necessary.


Make sure your application materials for any position paint a positive picture of the likelihood of success. In the US that would imply strong letters of recommendation from (mostly) academics. Other places might have different expectations, but the picture needs to predict success.

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  • Should I mention that depression was due to my father being abusive for a long time? That is mentioning the reason which is my father.
    – XaXa
    Jan 8 at 14:48
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    That is your judgement. I would't go in to details like that myself unless pressed. But "my family isn't very supportive" might work if pressed. But the "under control" is more important than the reasons.
    – Buffy
    Jan 8 at 14:54

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