My name is Swetha. I have a middle name – Krishna. Together, Krishna Swetha means darkness and light. And my sign is Libra. Fittingly, I keep tipping from extreme darkness to blinding light. Lately, my darkness began growing stronger. It was always a tornado uprooting my sense of identity ten times in a day. Now, it’s every second. I know there are people like me out there. This is me, in my own little way, fighting against the nothingness that is slowly snuffing the life out of me.
Besides the metaphorical, I am a second year international PhD student living in Michigan, USA. I moved here in 2015 to start my PhD program. It was life-changing. Some things for the better, some things hit rock-bottom. In all the PhD blogs that I found, there’s always articles about thesis writing, time-management, motivation etc. But no one talks about how bad graduate school is for the mind. This is my effort to bridge that gap. I want to talk about a PhD student suffering from major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety. You are bang in the middle of the most difficult study program in the world. And you are not able to get out of bed. But, you need to keep your job. There’s more failures than success in the lab because your luck is down in the dirt, never to come back up again. But you live, because you have no choice. You carry on, because you can’t afford to lose this job. You can’t quit; yet being here takes a herculean effort. This is the story that I want to read. So, I’m writing it for people like me out there.