Lauren was always a top student, but the pressures of her first year studying for a PhD in atmospheric chemistry at a UK university sent her spiraling into depression. At best, she couldn’t focus on academic tasks, feeling as if her brain was “scrambled”; at worst, she couldn’t get out of bed.
She developed a crippling fear of presenting her research. “Doing a PhD is such a personal thing, one that you’ve invested so much time in, that any criticism can feel like a direct reflection of yourself,” says Lauren.
But she did something that many postgraduates do not: she got help. With counseling and medication, Lauren — a pseudonym that she uses on a blog detailing her experience (see go.nature.com/4ta9fo) — is entering the final year of her PhD. Hers is one of more than 50 stories highlighted on the website Students Against Depression, funded by the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust in Thatcham, UK. “The website aims to raise awareness that depression isn’t a personal failing or weakness; it’s a serious condition that requires treatment,” says psychologist Denise Meyer, the website’s project manager.
Text and Image via Nature. Continue article written by Virginia Gewin HERE