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This is the third installment of the series (click here for part two: What can I do if my advisor wants me to keep working, even while I'm on medical leave for severe depression?)

I'll try to make it short: I will have a lab meeting with my advisor and my colleagues in a couple weeks to show my preliminary results. However, I was on sick leave for a long time and I didn't do half of the work that I should have done (I have little data). My advisor is known to say "mean things" when we don't fulfill his expectations at those meetings.

I think I'm going to be humiliated in front of the entire lab. I don't want to make excuses about my poorly made work, but I was sick and I am still very very sick. I thought about changing advisors because of the previous incidents, but I didn't have time for that. Sometimes I feel I've lost the will to live.

EDIT

If my advisor starts being rude and agressive towards me at the lab meeting, how should I respond?

closed as unclear what you're asking by aparente001, Florian D'Souza, tonysdg, scaaahu, Bob Brown Apr 3 '17 at 3:02

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  • I think it's been well-established that your advisor thinks poorly of your sick leave -- so if he's saying mean things, there's not much you can do. However, humiliation implies that other students will be saying mean things as well (laughing at you, making snide remarks, etc.). What makes you think that the other students in your lab will be doing this too? – tonysdg Apr 2 '17 at 17:42
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    What about after the meeting? Are they going to head back to the lab saying "Haha, look at Émile?" Or are they going to be saying, "wow, our advisor is a jerk, Émile's been having a tough time and he just stomped all over him?" If the first option is the likely one, then find a new advisor and a new group, because the one you're in is not supportive. But if the second option is more likely, then remember that you have nothing to be humiliated over. You're fighting a real illness -- no different than cancer/lupus/what-have-you -- and you're doing the best you can. – tonysdg Apr 2 '17 at 17:48
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    Above all else, you said that Sometimes I feel I've lost the will to live. Émile, this should be your first, last, and only priority right now. Please, please, please, before you take any self-harmful action, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (if you're in the U.S., or your country's equivalent). You are not alone, and no degree is worth your life. – tonysdg Apr 2 '17 at 17:57
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    Your adviser's attitude and response is absolutely unacceptable in any way, shape or form - is there anyone, over this guy's head you can speak with? – user70612 Apr 2 '17 at 21:33
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    I was on sick leave for a long time and I didn't do half of the work that I should have done — The only thing you should have done during your sick leave is to focus on your health. That's what "sick leave" means. — If my advisor starts being rude and aggressive towards me at the lab meeting, how should I respond? — Gather your things and walk out. – JeffE Apr 3 '17 at 13:07