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Taking Mental Health Break from My Dissertation

2 Dec 2015, 18:19 UTC
Taking Mental Health Break from My Dissertation
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Today's guest post is by Nicole Cabrera Salazar. Nicole is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at Georgia State University. She plans to pursue a career in science communication/outreach focusing on equity in STEM. About a month ago, I got sick with a simple cold. I was in the middle of writing the third chapter of my dissertation and had just taken time off to get over another cold two weeks before. I was also behind on the timeline to defend my thesis next year, and more delays didn’t seem like the best idea. So I did what any other grad student in my position would: I tried to power through.Ten days later, my cold was still going strong. I was worried because I had been waking up with panic attacks in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, hyperventilating and shaking uncontrollably. Sick, sleep deprived, and anxious, I gave in and went to the doctor. I burst into tears as soon as she came into the room. The doctor calmed me down and tested for signs of a bacterial infection. Nothing. “It’s just a viral cold,” she said. It wasn’t going away because the anxiety was preventing me from sleeping, ...

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