This Is What It’s Like To Battle Depression In Grad School


Dealing with depression on its own is hard; I don’t want do anything. I simply don’t want to get out of bed. Others would probably think I’m lazy but I know I’m not, I just don’t see a purpose of getting up, I’ve lost all motivation. But I have to get up. I have experiments to do, deadlines to meet, and seminars to go to. I have to get up, go to work, come back home and sleep, and repeat.

I feel like a robot sometimes, not actually living and just doing what I’m told. I’m so unhappy that I can’t even think for myself. I don’t know why I do things; I just do them because I have to.

Going to school is exhausting. I feel like an actress every time. I’m the fun one, the happy one, the friendly one. I have to play my part. If only people knew that I’m dying on the inside. I would be doing an experiment and have to leave halfway to go cry in the stalls. I can’t let anyone see me; it’ll just raise questions and concerns.

What am I doing here? I’m not good enough for grad school. Why do I even continue?

I’m the “most expensive student” for my supervisor because I’m too stupid to get any funding. My suggestions for simply opening a jammed bottle are shut down. I eat my lunch and I’m told it has more calories that one’s daily intake and that my leg will be amputated because I’ll get diabetes at the age of 40. It’s a constant beat down.

“You get irritated quickly.”

Yes, because I’m trying to pick myself up and none of these little jabs are helping. I’m constantly battling myself to stay alive and having to hide it behind a smile so everyone things that I’m okay. I’m trying to find a reason to continue and it’s getting harder to find one.

 I feel frozen in time. I feel like I’m not actually in my body and I’m watching from beyond.

Why am I still here? I can’t do anything right. I don’t know anything and I’m just wasting everyone’s time.

Some days are worse than others. Can’t sleep, suicidal thoughts, ideas.

What would happen if I’m not there? Would someone overtake my project? They’d do a better job than me anyway.

Finally I get up again, I go to work. Why? Because I have to. Get stuff done. Doesn’t work. Cry. Think about ingesting toxic chemicals when no one is looking. Talk myself out of it. Cry again. Day’s done. Repeat tomorrow.

I’ve been asked how I get myself out of bed and go to work when I’m dealing with depression and PTSD. My answer: for my supervisor, for my coworkers.

I don’t live for me, I don’t do things for me.

I want my supervisor to have papers published from her lab, I want my coworkers to have my support, I even want my cells to be happy. If only I was happy, I wonder how it would be then. I sometimes try to work for me. Maybe if I work hard enough, I’ll get the motivation again, the boost to live again, get something happy out of this hellhole I’m in. So I overwork, 72-hour weeks, 7 days a week. Work a day after getting all my wisdom teeth pulled out, work while battling bronchitis, work with a mild-concussion. 

“How are you doing this?”

I’m used to it, I’ve been working with a broken soul this whole time. I exhaust myself. Maybe I can do this. But I should’ve known. Every bit of hope I have is shut down.

“We regret to inform you that your application was not chosen for this cycle of funding.”

Why even try? I knew I wasn’t good enough for this and I still tried. I have nothing going for me, then why continue?

Search the answer while crying in the stalls, more suicidal thoughts. Day’s over, repeat tomorrow.