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Can anyone help? First time I have posted here.

P

Pete1234

New member
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
1
I’m new to this forum and I guess the reason I am here is because I don’t know where else to turn right now. I’m also slightly anxious about writing this as I don’t want to be labelled as someone who sounds ungrateful and is just moaning in a self absorbed way, but I will take that risk and I'm sorry this is so long.

I’m a 46 year old single university lecturer and have struggled with depression for a sizeable chunk of my adult life. I had episodes of what I would term mild depression and anxiety (the anxiety was quite severe) before I embarked upon my PhD, but it was during the first few months of studying for a PhD that I suffered from my first bout of serious depression and was prescribed anti-depressants for the first time (I have been on and off them ever since). I knew deep down that I was totally out of my depth doing a PhD and was on the wrong career track, but I didn’t have the courage to leave and I also didn’t know what else to do.

So I struggled on and got increasingly drawn into drinking (I don’t drink now, although I am able to drink socially without issue) as a way to temporarily lift the depression and the anxiety, which seemed to alternate. I then got my first lectureship and massive anxiety attacks became a regular feature of life – I could quite easily go three nights with no sleep at all because of the shaking and terror that I was experiencing. I tried to escape this anxiety by making a break from academia by heading overseas, but the depression and anxiety continued to haunt me and I continued to self medicate with alcohol and Diazepam just to get through each day.

I came back home after a while and dabbled with various temporary academic jobs, almost got fired from one because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and then landed my present job which is a permanent position. For a few months I felt a great sense of relief at having a stable job, but again I feel completely out of my depth as an academic and have really struggled to perform and have hated pretty much every minute of the experience for the past 11 years; I do not publish enough academic journal papers (this has been noted and I am under huge pressure to turn this around) and I do not bring in enough grant money (which has also been noted and needs to be turned around) and I feel completely out of my depth, completely frozen with fear and I want to run away screaming.

But run away to what? I have no idea and I am terrified of being struck down by anxiety again when I am outside familiar surroundings, but equally I am being driven to despair by being in a career where I feel a complete failure/completely out of my depths and incapable and being at an age where a career switch seems difficult, especially considering the financial responsibilities I have – I also cant help making negative comparisons between myself and friends who enjoy their jobs and have achieved great success and I have just sat awake the whole night feeling wretched after a night out with an old friend from university who I haven’t seen for years and years and who is clearly very happy and successful – and I feel like an utter failure with no clue as to which way to turn now and a feeling that its all just too late. I don’t know if anyone can relate to this or offer any words of wisdom? Thanks in hope and thank you to anyone who has read this far.
 
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ballerina123

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
Messages
88
hi and welcome.
I hope you get the support here you need.
are you under a care team right now? do you take meds? have you had therapy?
maybe you need a bit more support in your life. sorry you have been through so much.
what do you lecture in?
 
Sparklypurplepaws

Sparklypurplepaws

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2013
Messages
914
Location
Lincolnshire
Hi Pete,
Reading your post, it could have been written by me!
I was a university lecturer for 13 years, for the half I couldn't have been happier, I was good at my job too. Then the depression slipped back, followed by voices and pycosic episodes. I was a mess but continued to work because there I was somebody, and I had no idea of a way out. My colleagues noticed and tred to help, the head of school got involved and I got targets and sent to oh. Then hr and the principal got involved and they moved me to admin. I hated every second of it, appealed and went back to lecturing with more support. Two years later I finally could not take any more and I left! I didn't have anything lined up bit knew I couldn't continue in my current career. I've been on benefits ever since. It's a totally different life, I feel ashamed to admit I'm on benefits, and it wasn't a miracle cure for my depression and I now suffer anxiety too.
You have to do what you feel is the best thing for you - you and no one else! And if you leave lecturing well it's a huge personal loss I won't lie x
Has hr and oh been involved yet? It might be worth seeing them, I got targets lifted, extensions on research, less contact hours - alsorts x
 
Kerome

Kerome

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
12,750
Location
Europe
Hi Pete, :welcome: to the forums...

It's hard when you're doing work you don't really believe in, or feel anxious about. Have you discussed this with your GP? Perhaps something like CBT might help you. But either way I feel you need to start prioritising how you feel, because in the long run these things will cause you so much stress that you might well have a breakdown, and then you'll be in an even worse position. Coming here to the forum was a good step, I hope the opportunity to talk a little about how you feel will help alleviate the anxiety, but you should probably seek professional help as well to help you destress.
 
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