Talk about it. No seriously. Talk about it.

You know when you have a really bad day and you can’t see anything or a way forward? You don’t hear anyone? You don’t understand what they are saying because your ears are blocked up by anxiety?

That was my yesterday. Today I feel better so in this blog I want to muse about academia and mental health.

I remember sitting at the back of a higher degree research conference a few years ago and a chap who was just about to graduate gave some wonderful advice. “Tell people what is going on. Don’t assume that just because your day involves thinking about new ideas that your friends and family will be bored with you. You listen to them talk about their day, make them listen to you about your day. I still swear my partner thinks I work with Foucault and Deleuze. But who cares, it’s good for your mental health to talk about it.”

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So I told people. Well I blogged about it. I’m usually better in writing. I don’t usually post my blogs on Facebook because I don’t want to impose my academese on my friends and family. But yesterday I did. Almost immediately friends offered to look after my children, gave support about how hard it is to be an ambitious mother in all industries, simply sent love and hugs.

Others on Twitter thanked me for sharing what was going on.

My lovely virtual friend  Helen Kara gave me some excellent practical advice.

The same chap I referred to above sits next to me in the project room asked me how I was going and I was honest, “Its a disaster really but I will sort it out”. No one else was in so we had a good old debrief session and tried to work out what I could write about.

Another project officer and fellow academic mum suggested we work together on a joint paper. Things started to look not so bad.

And out of the blue, a student (who hadn’t read my blog) sent me this:

Feedback

So thank you everyone and after this I will take some advice rather than continually dishing it out.

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