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Author Topic: anxiety taking everything I've worked so hard for and turning it against me  (Read 279 times)

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Offline mujer_verde

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I finally graduated with my PhD and since then things have been so hard due to my anxiety.  I thought I would be happy and relieved once I finally finished my PhD but instead my disorder tells me my degree and everything I've published from my thesis, including the thesis itself is all bullsh*t and sooner or later someone is going to find out I'm a fraud and all of this will haunt me forever.  It's extremely painful and scary and depressing.  It even makes me doubt whether or not I should have pursued my PhD in the first place, like maybe I'm just not cut out for this. I have lost all of my self confidence and seeing my colleagues makes me feel like a failure - they are all looking for impressive jobs and I am just trying to get out of bed in the morning.  Even just coming across an old email regarding a published paper or thesis edit makes my stomach hurt.  I feel lonely and hopeless and would really appreciate hearing from other folks suffering from anxiety disorders.
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Online MobileChucko

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Hi MV...  You are certainly not alone and I can understand everything that you said.  I first started having problems with GAD, some four years ago.  It started with panic attacks, and grew to 24/7 anxiety.  Then some depression entered the picture, and everything that goes along with that.  My self confidence went from taking care of others (working the the health care profession), to doubting that I could even take care of myself.  It was H-E-Double Toothpicks!  I tried a few meds, and ended up on Remeron, 30 mg.  I felt like 100% for a good 3+ years, but early this summer and Remeron up and stopped working for me.  I have been back to full blown GAD for several months now.  My doctor started me on Celexa a little over three weeks ago, and I'm starting to do better.  You earned that PhD!  Don't give up hope!  We can and do have better days, and I am proof of that.  I'm "knowing" that better days are in your future!  The best to you!...  Chuck
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Offline CarrieAnn

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I have felt the same way many times--like a failure, or a fraud, even when I was in college with a 4.0 GPA. I worked very hard for my grades, made it to the dean's list every semester, so I don't know why I thought I was a failure. Anxiety can steal away self-confidence I suppose--make you worry you aren't good enough, but it doesn't mean it's true. Whenever you feel like a failure replace that thought with a thought that will build up your confidence. Sounds like you have a lot to be confident about! You accomplished getting your phd. that is amazing, congratulations!
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Offline Andrea24

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Congrats on the PhD! You earned that through hard work and dedication! I know because I am currently in a PhD program and the struggle is real.  I recently made a post about falling into an anxiety fueled depression after my comprehensive exams.  Surprisingly, I passed them with flying colors and was told that my answers were among the top ever written in the dept. Suddenly, I had faculty who hadn't acknowledged my existence in 3 yrs  interested in publishing with me.  I should have been happy and proud.  Instead, I fell into a depression--I had a survivor's guilt of sorts.  I felt like a fraud.  I felt bad for being the only person who passed the comps this semester.  I felt pressured to enhance my scholarship record.  The dissertation suddenly became real. I pretty much felt everything but good. I eventually started meds and therapy.  I am only a month in so it's too early to assess whether everything is working.  PhD programs can be toxic environments, even if you have supportive colleagues and committee members.  We are constantly seeking external validation (I think we even fetishize it at times) and the very nature of the programs can undermine our self esteem. So, when we least expect it, we feel horrible instead of accomplished scholars we are.  Don't feel hopeless, these feelings will pass if you are dedicated to working through them.  Please feel free to PM me.  I happy to listen to what you are going through and further share my experiences. 
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~I have found intelligence and success to be hazardous~

Offline mujer_verde

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Hey guys, thanks SOO much for your responses, it totally pulled me through the week.  It's a blessing to know I'm not alone in this battle.  My support system folks are always reminding me that I'm actually quite strong for dealing with life + GAD, but I forget that message pretty quickly when I'm in a rough spot.  Sometimes it sticks more deeply when I head it from people who are also struggling with the same thing, you know? 

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