Last week has been challenging for me. My adviser has been planning to move schools and last week I heard back that his new school doesn’t have any visiting positions for grad students. I guess that means my adviser will be moving on without me.
It’s really unclear how and if I’ll be continuing the PhD after his move. I panicked, and in my panic I withdrew from summer TA appointment one day into the course. This made a lot of people upset with me and I think in turn they said something to my adviser, because I heard from a friend that he’s been looking very stressed this week too.
I feel like I caused a lot of people distress this week because I didn’t know what to do. In hindsight, I could have saved everyone a lot of stress if I had never signed up for a TA appointment for the summer. I could have tried to support myself financially instead.
Anyway, I’ve been talking to therapist at my school recently. My therapist is another grad student who is interning to become some-kind-of professional therapist. We talk a lot about my feelings and stress management techniques, which I like.
In our last talk we discussed the difference between “feeling statements” and “thoughts”. I think the idea is to try and separate external triggers from our internal feelings. For example, if I had a friend who hurt my feelings I could say
“I think my friend hurt me. I think I’ve been betrayed”. (Thought)
“I feel sad and insecure.” (Feeling)
By looking at things this way we can better take ownership of our feelings. I can’t control what other people do or say, but by focusing on just my feelings I can address how I choose to feel about the situation and I can begin to find ways to make myself feel better.
I’ve also been learning to practice more gratitude as a way to cope with setbacks – but that’s for another blog post.
Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain both committed suicide in last couple weeks too. It got me thinking a lot about the importance of mental health. I can’t say enough good things about having a therapist to get through tough times. I wish Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain could have had the help they needed too.
Take care of yourselves.