On Claiming Your PhD

I didn’t attend my PhD convocation. I barely finished the degree itself, as I was struck by a deep depression in my last year of research. This was exacerbated by my family doctor prescribing an antidepressant that had seriously unpleasant side effects, which she then suggested I stop taking immediately. The withdrawal symptoms lasted for…

Hope in the Dark

I have borrowed the title for today’s post from a book by Rebecca Solnit. It’s about how to engage with society during dark political times, and was written during the Bush era (then re-issued when Trump was elected). It’s about politics and activism, but the title is equally well-suited to mental health issues – particularly…

Bad Things Come in Threes

My veggie garden is overrun with weeds. Not just a few here and there, but mats of weeds invading each raised bed. There are a number of reasons for this. The main one is that I thought I was being clever last year by using grass clippings as mulch, but it turns out they brought…

Managing Your Mental Health in Academia

A few years ago, when I was still in academia, we had a meeting of scholars who were part of the university’s Water Institute. We were each given five minutes and two Powerpoint slides in which to introduce ourselves, our research group, and give a rundown of what we were working on, with the idea…