Dear #AcaTooters, it's the first interactive thread, and we are ready to talk about our demons, our mental health. Academia is essentially a space that makes you feel alone, you are in your room of library writing your research. If your friends aren't busy with their own thesis, they are busy with their jobs, the meetings have reduced. Your family either doesn't understand what you're doing, or expects you to be the number 1 author. The thread is going to deal with a list of Suh things #AcaWoes
A research often spans to atleast 3 years and more often than not more, it can get tiring to work on the same subject for a large part of the decade. Failure, bad writing rejection from publications and conference adds on to the academic stress and the feeling of imposter syndrome makes you feel ever alone. But you're not. The fact that most Indian universities do not help with grant/conference/publication, we find ourselves lacking any training and completely on our own, behind western scholars
THREAD RULES: LISTEN, that's the most important one. Within this thread, I would like you to reach out to each other, to talk, to be kind. To understand where one's coming from. Emotional labour has to be given as well and cannot be just withdrawn. And it has to be respected. Also realise that you're not alone. Share your solutions, and ask for some.
The study further noted instance of depression were more in students from liberal arts than within non-liberal. I do not in any way suggest that non-liberal spaces do not have depression, but I want to delve into why humanities may witness more. It's because we constantly study histories of violence, our theories make us question the hatred we see which makes one anxious and unable to live with the status quo. A person here on the thread in fact from non-lib sc. is talking about how this is hap.
It's also important to talk about the effect of bullying and social discrimination as a cause of deterioration. The recent suicides within Indian universities, Rohith vemula, Payal Tadavi, and Fathima Latheef were all 'institutional murders' caused due to harrassment based on their caste, and religious identities by seniors, and professors.
There are so many ways mental health manifests itself that I can hardly list them all- depression (which can mean chronic hopelessness, tiredness, unable to work or socialise, withdrawing from family and friends) and has many forms where a person seems to be doing all of these things, but is struggling called high function depression. Then there's anxiety and panic attacks. Both are related to unavoidable often seemingly un-rational fears that a person cannot control.
There's BPD (Bipolar disorders- often mapped by sort of a limbo between high and low emotions). And please note these are all basic understandings and not encompassing ones, they are not enough for diagnosis. There's also self-harm, and suicides which can result of mental health deterioration. There are so many more which I cannot list, because of space constraints.
Now let us focus on the things one can do to improve mental health illness, if you're feeling like you're unable to handle things, first realise it is normal, and second do seek help in forms of therapy. In India I can share some resources. While this the obvious thing, there are various other things I will talk about which have personally helped me, please feel free to add your own experiences. know what works for one, may or may not work for another. The more we talk, the more ideas to try
One of the most important things is to cut yourself some slack, go out to meet your friends, call them up, and build networks within your university much like we are doing here. 2. Give yourself short term goals of per day, and stop focussing too much on how to complete future tasks. 3. Excercise/ Learn a new skill: we often feel stuck in phds, lives not moving which is why a new skill helps, where you can map your progress. I learnt swimming this year, and it was the most amazing thing.
4. Figure out a work space outside and inside- a place where you enjoy working. 5. Take breaks while working. 6. Talk to your supervisor about what you're going through; an honest conversation might go a long way and help you set realistic goals. 7. An important one, give yourself a break, of days, weeks, months, however long you need. 8. Work towards handling institutional hierarchies by talking to people, and resisting against those who are wrong.
What's the state of psychanalysis in India, since you're talking of therapy?
Is Laing's work known there?
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