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User: Sarah0 - 16 January 2016 20:20

I am in the middle of my PHD, and totally lost.
I have 2 supervisors, i cannot communicate with my director of the thesis, he is not a bad person, he tried to help in his way, but it has been a tough way for me, he was never satisfied when i was doing my best and gave me the feeling of what ever i do is a shit, i lost any confident in my self, i am working like a tortoise no motivation, besides being lost and feeling it is so difficult to do even very simple things, it is taking me so long time just to write a half page, i am so depressed of that, on the other hand another issue was taking place more and more it is feeling love to the other supervisor, i am so confused, i feel a total; not being able to go on, not being professional besides i can not get the second supervisor out of my head, he is so kind person, leaving the Phd would put me in a very difficult situation, that is related to mix of other circumstances in my life, briefly, apart from my Phd problems, leaving the Phd for me it is like taking a step to suicide, it seems for any other one from outside so irrational decision, because all the other complicated circumstances. I am really lost

User: MissyL - 18 January 2016 22:55

I went on for a year doing my PhD pretending nothing was wrong whilst feeling really rubbish as you describe, particularly with self confidence and feeling that everything I did was rubbish. In the end I basically 'crashed out' massively and are currently on a medical leave of absence. I found that the graduate department (if you have one), can offer good advice on dealing with supervisors and they may have some suggestions, at least regarding the first supervisor you describe. If you feel that bad see what you can do about taking some leave, as even a few weeks can help you get some perspective back, and/or make a rational decision.

User: Sarah0 - 20 January 2016 20:26

Thank you for your answer, i already did but it did not improve the situation i was all the time thinking about the work, and the low self esteem issues, and stress.
I hope that you will come back feeling better. i read your other posts, i think you did very well till now going on almost alone.

User: Pjlu - 20 January 2016 22:06

Hi Sarah, I am really sorry that you are feeling this way. I know that many of us recommend counselling on this forum for a range of wellbeing and PhD related concerns, so I am guessing that you might have tried to access this already?

If not, it can be really helpful for many different sorts of problems in life and study. Seeing a doctor (general practitioner) can also be very useful-if only to give you strategies on how to manage excessive stress and the cycle of negative thinking that many people spiral into when they are stressed for a long time.

At the risk of sounding a bit uncaring ( I hope you don't think that I mean this in an uncaring way), I wonder whether your first supervisor is just a naturally 'critical' person. Many academics are-it is one of their gifts to look at things in a rational and very intellectual way, being highly critical of something-sort of deconstructing it so as to get a better outcome or product. Some people like this are quite 'cool' when they engage in this process but it doesn't always mean they think you and your work are 'shit' or even that they don't like you-it is just what they do.

So while I know it must be hard when your first supervisor is so critical, it might not mean they don't like you or even that they think your work is bad. However, when we are stressed, often that is the only interpretation we might give it-due to the way our thinking works when stressed or feeling depressed and upset.

Are you able to work out who you can go to for support other than your supervisors? This might be either the student counsellors, postgraduate association or representatives or student advisors? There will be some people there whose job it is to provide you with support when you feel like this, but sometimes it takes a couple of visits before you start to notice the improvement. Take care and don't give up Sarah. The way you are thinking at the moment does not mean your study is all bad, even if it seems that way.

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