What PhD means

My take on what a PhD means:

  1. Partial/Permanent Health damage
  2. Partial/Permanent Hearing damage
  3. Partial/Permanent Heart damage
  4. Partially helping deforestation
  5. Permanent help desk
  6. Partial hormone (cycle) damage
  7. Poor Health diet

etc…

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Dark ages?

It has been rather hard these days to remain sane and stress free. We are faced with so many incidents portraying the unhappiness and and cruelty of human kind. The world is sick with the loss of natural habitats from over harvesting, from pollution and neglect. Human kind is suffering because these days the word “love” is just a word with no special meaning. I cannot even phantom the pain and suffering of people who are experiencing them every single day. Here I am in front of my computer with a room to myself, about to lament about the pain and frustrations of just having gone through stuff that pales in comparison to the others. Though it seems like these problems cannot even compare with actual pain/poverty/suffering, I am starting to feel a strain on my sanity.

It does not differ far when I say that “love” is lost. I live in a multi-racial, multi-religious country, where it has been instilled upon us that everyone is equal in this city state. However, there are cases of conflicts. Conflicts between neighbors. Conflicts that have no strong origins but just exist for the sake of existing. Everything takes 2 hands to clap. If one is unwilling, then the willing party should not force. Sadly, it’s not so simple. The daily tiny annoyances built up and up until the control snaps. I live in an apartment (with my parents) that is guarded by a security company. It is governed by a set of by-laws which ensure the peace and quiet among this small village of about 300+ units. And naturally one of the by-laws is the keeping of peace (literally) at times when people need their rest the most. And it was implied that the duties of the employed security guards should be able to help regulate the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood.  HOWEVER! It has been rather interesting to note that the residents have been on the receiving end of rudeness and unwillingness to help (just) inform rowdy children or noisy party-goers to keep their level of noise down. In turn, the residents become the victims and have to endure bouts of rudeness/accusations from the guards. So what love is there?

Similarly at work. Dealing with a supervisor who makes you feel so much worse about yourself after every work meeting. The dedication put in, the sweat, the tears, all seemed to rank zero in the supervisor’s eye. Because to him/her, that is what you were supposed to do. Proposed projects were deemed to be naive and not worthy to attempt. Yet few months after that, the previously rejected projects were given the green light. And if those projects were successful, the credit goes to the supervisor. Statement made with mixed meanings, called out on those mixed meanings, got sent to the “principal’s office”. Except there is no principal and there is no office but rather you just get picked on for identifying the mixed meanings. Seeking clarifications could even sometimes result in a court room fight, except that almost 99% of the time you come out defeated. It sucks. Especially when the instinct that drove you to challenge the supervisor is sound. Instead you do, you try, you follow the way… And you fail. Presented the “results” and was countered by, “why didn’t you fight for the things that you believed in?” And the whole cycle repeats, you try to clarify, you try to defend yourself but nope. You are just digging a deeper grave for yourself. My supervisor claimed support. That I am being supported in my decisions. I always wondered if I had lack an antenna to receive those kind of good support my Sup was talking about.

My eyes are closing. My heart is heavy. I should just zip these thoughts real tight and go to bed. Hoping that when I wake up. Maybe, just maybe, the world would have a little bit more love infused.

 

Communication or Commotion.

Living with a SO or anyone in particular is all about the communication. It is always communicate or live in a constant commotion.

I know the sentence structure is rather weird, but heck. My family is weird. Not once can one single person communicate properly with the other. It is as if I am constantly living in a fish market where everyone is bargaining to reach the cheapest price of fish/pork/chicken. However, in my family, no one emerges with a good deal. Sometimes we end up in a barroom brawl.

It is rather laughable seeing how a FAMILY is all about cohesiveness, love, and growing old together. But then when you look at the Oxford definition of a family – (noun) a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit. So in this aspect, yea, then what I have is considered a family.

In my family, we have something that can be plotted like a graph, or a cycle if you must. However, this cycle is never regular. Rather like an irregular menstruation cycle; so much so that when the “bloody” day hits, the “cramps” hurt worse than getting kicked in the nuts. If my family enters a screaming match, I think we definitely would take first place. Sadly, the fight is usually occurring among ourselves.

This is where I talk about communication. You see, my family ain’t that big on communicating their feelings. Incidents where we brushed each other off to focus on our own feelings happen more often than going to buy a lottery ticket. We’re so big on focusing on ourselves that understanding someone else’s pain is a foreign concept. Oh did I mention that my family likes to dwell in the past? Imagine using the past as a weapon. It’s pretty much as using someone’s criminal record against them when they are job hunting. And that criminal record is usually something small like stealing to feed the hunger. Because we don’t communicate, therefore we create commotion.

And when we DO communicate, it’s usually rainbows, butterflies, a field of wildflowers and the blue blue sky. So it makes me wonder WHY does my family not want to communicate? Or rather, why does the communication always sound like an (I am going to stereotype here) Asian fish market?

Is it in-built as humans to lack communication? Animals can communicate rather well especially when they cannot speak; so why is it that humans skew towards commotion?

The future

“I don’t know what my future holds.” We have heard this statement many times from everyone around us (us included). Not everyone knows what exactly they want to get out from their life, and even for those who know now might not feel the same years down the road.

“It is a big bad world out there.” This is what the adults had told us when we were kids. But how bad is the world, no one can really describe. They can only say, “you will know when you live it.” They neglect to say why is it bad, or what can we do to make things less bad. The only way we can know is by living in it.

I’m currently living in this big “bad” world, and I feel that this world is more mad than bad. Always about the chase of something more. More. More of everything that we are having now. But in the process, we always end up feeling burnt out. Feeling drained faster and more depleted each time. Even after recharging the batteries, it seems like the capacity has dropped by 5% every single time, until one day, the battery cannot be charged whole.

Right now, this is how I am feeling. Having gone through 1 year of being a research assistant, 2 years going on 3 years of being a graduate research student, I am kinda starting to feel that this “burn” is becoming permanent. I am constantly wondering why am I still doing all these. Working long hours in an environment where the chase of “MORE” is intensifying. If it was a chase strategy with plans and directions, I think I might not feel so? Everyday I feel like I am rushing through, plowing through to get things done, but without proper mental processing to understand the chase.

I am stuck. Stuck at this point where I am tempted to just give up on all the research work that I’ve done for the past 3.5 years. To just toss it all aside because my current mental capacity cannot handle the stress that I am feeling. It has come to a point that I am choosing to postpone work because I do not want to do them… to a point where I am not interested in seeing my work being published or recognized… Everywhere I look, I am seeing things that have yet to be done, things that need to be added or patched in order to make the research seem like a complete story.

It very much feels like I am drowning in a sea of holes. Too many holes that need to be filled before I can step onto the path. I wonder very much, if I can find that much sand or gravel to fill them or I can even find the motivation again to fill them.

It has come to this juncture where all I am wondering is “Is there a point anymore?”

3 days in.

2015 was welcomed with the company of my dearest friends and sister, playing a childhood game of Monopoly. No counting down of seconds to watch the clock change from 2359 to 0000h or the date change from 31decemeber2014 to 01january2015. Just the laughter at the silliness of the game, the child-like antics of everyone, the reminders to throw the dice, the child-like atmosphere of “barter-trading” for complete colour set of title deeds.

It was my favourite count-down by far. Not once did I feel empty inside. And somehow I guess that mood kinda set the start of how this year might turn out. I really hated 2014. It felt tense, stressful, as if I couldn’t find my way through the haze of “rushing-ness”. Disappointments plagued the majority of the year with dogs being sick, experiments failing and neighbours being dicks. Of course there were good times, but the aftermath of those times somehow turned out negative.

I don’t know if this sudden feeling of “spring” within is going to last through the year, but I don’t want to focus on the unknown any longer. This year, I aim to embark on certain personal projects to better myself – learning a new language, being more proactive in taking breaks, learning how to compartmentalize, spend some time doing things for myself for a change…

On an impulse, on the last day of 2014 (even then, issues had happened to dampen the mood), I bought a pink tourmaline bracelet to somehow aid in dissipating the stress I had, have and might receive. So far, since I worn it, I felt slightly more in control of myself and how I feel or act in times of stress. I am really hoping that the feeling of low and self-doubt will never return. And I know it is somewhat ridiculous that a crystal might be so effective just 4 days of wearing. But, I really like how I am feeling these days. I hope that this could help me through my work stress as well.

2015, I think you would kick ass and bring sass this year. I look forward to the adventures you will be bringing me.

Is it going to stay?

Just 24 hours after previous day’s scribbles and somehow am feeling slightly better? Or is it an illusion? Managed to crack some small jokes but maybe in slightly sarcastic tone? Either way, today I have yet to feel like the weight on my shoulders pulling me down into the ground. Been using Mt. Sapola’s lemongrass essential oil (aromatherapy) which I am using to ward of the hordes of mosquitoes for the past 24 hours. Wondering if this is making me feel less clouded. However, I am still viewing at things in slightly negative light. I just hope that slowly I would be in a better state to welcome the new year.

It kinda stinks having to end 2014 in this current mental state.

P.S: Please let there be no more disasters. Praying for the passengers on board the AirAsia plane. Pray there be no more accidents, no more wars and conflicts.

That D word

2014 has been a year filled with stuff that requires me to be always on the go, on the ball, or whatever phrases that basically describe not being able to find an off/standby button.

Just work itself has been filled with ups and downs, with all the positive data the could push a research project forward and also all the negative or contradicting data that could destroy all previous effort in building up the project. New directions, new plans were constantly being brainstormed and attempted to some small success. New personnel in the team tried patience, self-beliefs and also the control to be unjudging. Not once at work (or rather “study for a PhD”) had I felt any sense of achievement in all the effort that I had put in. All I had been feeling was how I was just rushing in and constantly being hands-on the physical work. Work Work Work was all I had (mostly) been doing this entire year.

Personal Life was not any better either. With both parents not holding their steady jobs (one switching jobs here and there while the other being just “un”employed), with a elder sibling who is doing “freelance”, with a younger sibling still yet out of the learning hall, and 2 adorable yet devious dogs…… whatever remaining energy I have left after work would be all spent on ensuring that things at home were running on a slightly well-oiled conveyor – basically to ease out any existing tension. Let’s not even go into social interactions. It’d just became too much to handle at work and home, that socially I feel like majority had become aliens to me.

So. Right after the last major work in the lab, sometime a week before X’mas I. Burnt. Out. Bad.

So much so that I think I am suffering from mild depression. Nothing felt good, not even the compliments I got from cooking Christmas Eve’s (Younger sibling B’day) dinner made me feel satisfied or accomplished. All I thought about was how much things I was lacking, financially, socially, academically etc. And by Christmas day itself I was full of self-doubt and no longer able to just feel happy. Each laughter from any funny movie were superficial, each conversation with a friend/family member was just surface interaction on my part. It’s like the world is existing in black and white, no wait, just grey, everything is grey all foggy and just dull.

I feel like it’s my fault that I ended up like this, always carrying on too much, but not having the choice of being able to put any of it down completely. Like the load is always there, always on that backburner threatening to implode/explode if I don’t pick them up.

Depression sucks. It just drains the entire life force out of you. It’s as if each time you want to smile to chase it away, it comes to tell you that you shouldn’t, that you are very tired and should just stay blank, let the negativity or darkness be your comfort blanket. And it’s like even if you try to tell people, they just don’t get it, they would think that you are being melodramatic or being an attention seeker for claiming depression.

I just hope that this post is my first step to combating this. I don’t know why, but I still feel that it’s my fault for falling into depression. That I could have done something.