Hello, and welcome to PhD Freaking out- a blog about science, PhD life and mental health.
My name is Erica, and I am a final year PhD student at the John Innes Centre and University of East Anglia.
This is Me, and although it may not look like it, I suffer from Anxiety, and also mild depression.
I have always loved science- learning about it, talking about it, doing it. It is in my DNA. And so, in 2014 I decided to do a PhD.
However, in my second year I hit a major bump. I had always suffered from anxiety, but in the second year of my PhD it all came to a head- I stopped trusting myself in the lab. I started double checking, triple checking everything. I would panic about data whilst trying to get to sleep. Doing a slight mistake in a experiment would lead to me having a panic attack. And worst of all, I started to not enjoy science anymore.
After a few weeks off work, and a few weeks of counselling I started to get better again. I decided I wanted to let people know what I was going through- why I sometimes just couldn’t face a social activity, or would have a panic attack in the middle of an experiment. As I started talking more openly I began to notice something. I, for sure, was not the only one with anxiety and depression- just no one else talked about it. Many people even said they assumed that it was all part of the PhD… that it was normal, to be expected.
Mental Wellbeing isn’t talked about enough in the world of science- and I want to change that.
In this blog I decided to combine what I love– Science and Science communication, with my experiences of mental health. Here I will talk about lab life, and general PhD life as someone who has anxiety, and also talk about my work in general and bits of science I find amazing.