Feeling trapped by my decisions

Shared experiences of life, and the path that has led you to where you are.

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Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:41 am

Feeling trapped by my decisions

Postby xairo » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:18 am

It is really nice to have this space to share our stories. I have been trying to cope with depression for months, let me tell you why...

One and a half years ago I moved to France with my wife and kid to pursue a PhD. We had a good life in our country, but three years ago, when the opportunity arose, we decided to leave everything behind (sold our apartment, took our kid out of the school, etc), and moved to this country.
I came here with huge expectations and a lot of enthusiasm, as I had been looking forward to finally do 'high-level' research in my field for years. However, as time passed, I start realising that 'research' wasn't what I expected. I was expecting doing some kind of contribution, or at least learn something meaningful, but then little by little, by reading the dissertations of the very few group mates that managed to graduate in my institution, I realised that what really matters here is quantity... to an extent that you have little time to actually do a meaningful work, as you have to focus 'publish or perish'... So, after working for so long in this 'intellectually discouraging' environment, my enthusiasm at this moment is completely depleted... I forgot how it feels to achieve something, because I find my current work pointless.

The problem, and the cause of my recurrent depression episodes is... I feel trapped. I brought my family into this venture, and they have also been struggling with this change, but I think they finally got adapted to this change, so I can't imagine quitting to my current position and making them suffer a new change on their lives. On the other hand, a PhD position, unlike any other job, is something that you can't leave without consequences... because no matter how hard you worked on the time you spend there, if you don't get the degree, it will be seen as a failure in your CV...

I feel trapped... sometimes I would like to start applying to a new job, but at this moment of my life, with a family, I'm hesitant of taking risks and making my family to struggle more because of my decisions... In the meantime I'm doing a lot of exercise, meditation,... anything that helps me to rise a little my motivation, and keeping moving forward in my work... however, I don't know for how long I will be able to cope with this situation and the episodes of depression caused by it...


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Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:54 am

Re: Feeling trapped by my decisions

Postby Spleefy » Sun Sep 22, 2019 6:37 am

Hi xairo,

That was a bold move for you and your family to move to another country to pursue a PhD. Sometimes risks pay off; other times they don’t.

It is wonderful that you have a family that supports your decision.

I see your dilemma. It sounds like your family is willing to go through whatever struggles is necessary to support your pursuit of career goals. So I guess it comes down to how important this career and PhD is to you, and what price you are willing to pay for it.

Just do what you’ve been doing and weigh the risks between career and family. I’m sure you’ll figure out what to do.

When I encounter a dilemma, what I find helps is to keep in mind my priorities. I just think about what is most important in my life and base my decisions around that.

Perhaps, since you've already made the decision, better or for worse, you need to follow through on it now and see it through. Only you can decide this and weigh the consequences it will have on your family life, and if it is all worth it. I’m sure you’ve discussed this with your wife. Perhaps your family can endure just a while longer until you graduate.

Sometimes we just need to live with the decisions we make, good or bad.

I’m sure you figure out something. Discuss it with your wife. Ask for her feedback and opinion. What does she say?
Jehovah is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those who are crushed in spirit.—Psalm 34:18

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