Advice needed: I think I might be damaging my health

Hi everyone, 

I had a bad year last year (depression, loneliness etc) and ended up with an Asperger's diagnosis. I'm still coming to terms with it and it's really messing with my head. I'm 34. 

I had shingles over Christmas which may have permanently damaged my eyesight and I have also developed some kind of acne on my face. I was just prescribed an SSRI but I've just found out I can't take it because of the problem with my eye. 

I really don't know what to do as I am in the middle of a funded PhD. My partner is also 8 weeks pregnant. Should I take some time off or ask for an extension of my studies? Should I just quit altogether? I can't claim benefits because I'm too high functioning and I need to do some kind of work because I enjoy it.

I'm a bit worried I'm just running myself into the ground and I genuinely don't know what to do. I don't know if I can approach the university about this at the moment - I was thinking of contacting my local autism charity to see if they could offer any advice or advocate to the university on my behalf. 

:( 

Tintal 

Parents
  • This does sound like a stressful situation! I can understand how much you have to deal with, depression, loneliness, aspergers, shingles, damaged eyesight, PhD, funding, partner pregnant, etc. Perhaps you can ask your supervisor for a meeting to talk about all this. You may also like to check to see if there are any university staff/offices who are responsible for tutorial administration stuff who you might be able to discuss with and explore possibilities of intermission or change your course to a part-time PhD. Also I personally don't think there's any embarrassment in asking for an extension - it'll greatly reduce the pressure of finishing within a limited time, and it might give you more time to make your work better quality. There might also be advice services within the student union that might be able to help you with these things, or share stories/experience of previous people with similar situations. 

Reply
  • This does sound like a stressful situation! I can understand how much you have to deal with, depression, loneliness, aspergers, shingles, damaged eyesight, PhD, funding, partner pregnant, etc. Perhaps you can ask your supervisor for a meeting to talk about all this. You may also like to check to see if there are any university staff/offices who are responsible for tutorial administration stuff who you might be able to discuss with and explore possibilities of intermission or change your course to a part-time PhD. Also I personally don't think there's any embarrassment in asking for an extension - it'll greatly reduce the pressure of finishing within a limited time, and it might give you more time to make your work better quality. There might also be advice services within the student union that might be able to help you with these things, or share stories/experience of previous people with similar situations. 

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