I will be meeting with a professor tomorrow who I previously asked to supervise me. I believe he has the right knowledge to assess the standing of my work in the interdisciplinary field I work in and help me moving forward.
He said yes, gave me some suggestion, which I partly followed, but last time we spoke was in May.
I am currently struggling with a issues related to mental health (see this question here) and have been in the past months, albeit it took a while to realize the depth and take action. They are not diagnosed but they probably include a mixture of: low self-esteem, imposter syndrome, anxiety and acts of self-sabotage. These are linked and the names I feel are not strictly important. I am currently seeing a psychoanalyst (to address the root causes) and the well being/mentoring program of the university (to get practical suggestions and coping strategies). Fighting on.
I seek two things from the professor:
Relevant advice and (within reason) some mentoring whenever my cross-field preparation is weak.
An external commitment device that provides motivation for work and
help me overcome some of my issues.
I think I have 1. covered, but I am looking for suggestions on how to discuss 2, especially whether I should break the information about my mental health issues with him.
I see two possible ways to go:
I can simply set the pace by saying "I would like to meet every week to discuss my progress" and not mention my (alleged) conditions. This will be enough to set a weekly deadline for myself and would surely be helpful.
I could mention my issues to some extent. One of the reason I didn't ask him to meet before is an ongoing self-sabotage/perfectionism which makes me unwilling to show my work until it has reached a satisfactory level. I now realize that, essentially, this satisfactory level is short of publication-grade material and clearly impossible without expert feedback. I am afraid of course that this could: sound like an excuse for my absence and lack of advancement; mark me as a "bad apple"; monopolize the conversation away from content; be plain awkward; as I write this answer I am also concerned about him having to disclose this information later on.
This is ill timed, as the meeting is tomorrow (but I wanted to break the cycle of postponing this and I could always go with 1. right above and postpone breaking the mental health "coming out" to a more appropriate time), but any suggestions from you would be a great help.
EDIT I ended up doing something midway between telling and not. I have hinted at the fact that I was somewhat stressed out and partially disclosed a concrete example (checking a computation for over three days out of a fear it might be wrong). He said he understands this kind of difficulties as well as my need to have someone to talk the fine details over. I believe he caught the implications and was overall very kind and sympathetic. Unfortunately he will be entering a half-year sabbatical soon and might not guarantee his presence until the start of the next academic years, but said he would like to read what I am working on and pointed me to others who might be of help.
Thanks all for the kind words.