April 23, 2019 at 8:34 am #290225
Summary: I have extreme anxiety attacks when my advisor interacts with me (or even comes to my mind) since it triggers all my stressed/guilt/no respect feelings that he showed me for 4 years. I am going to completely cut him off my life after 3-4 months-either by graduating or quitting- However I dont want to have this anxiety attacks even when his thought comes to my mind. What would you suggest for me to at least decrease the intensity of this triggering factor so that I can manage it?
I was doing my masters and at the same time was working for my advisor in my university. Including some of my bachelors we were working for around 4 years. He was putting me under extreme stress, guilt and showing no sign of respect towards me. (He was calling me at 03.00, waking me up and tell me to do sth and send a report to him in an hour for example-and he wasnt replying because he will be sleeping-, he was always late to meetings(like hours) etc etc..) It was the first time I had someone that mentors me ( even though he rarely mentored me , generally just pushing me in difficult situations for his place ) therefore I endured. Some months ago I couldnt take this anymore and left working for him.
I have depression for around 10 years now, however due to the stress and this disrespectful work environment, last year I hit bottom. My depression escalated/evolved to anxiety attacks, crippling depression, suicidal thoughts, constant stress, fear and extreme guilt(more than before). I got extremely bad anxiety attacks when I try to go out of my bed. I went to a psychiatrist for 2-3 months however due to my distrust I left the treatment. Since then I started reading lots of psychology books, tried mindfulness and tried to understand my triggers and act on them. I can say I am much better now I no longer have suicidal thoughts, no more guilt about the past. My anxiety attacks and fear decreased. I found a philosophical view that aids my fears and calms me. I still have trouble going out of the bed, and want to lay down and sleep all day however I went to have my blood tests and apparently I have some medical problems that makes me extremely fatigued.
However I know that I still have a long way to go, I am willing to continue. But my problem is I have some triggers that I can not seem to manage yet. ( I know everything has its time and I shouldnt rush.) I still have my thesis to write but I have anxiety attacks when I am planning to start. I wasnt able to even touch the keyboard or the computer for months now I can. However I apparently can not open the thesis document, I dont feel ready. I dont feel ready to continue working in the same field(technology), I always liked to read technology related news, now when I saw it I automatically close the webpages. My other problem is when my advisor(also ex-boss) calls or texts me, I feel like I want to throw the phone out of the window ( I am extremely protective of my possessions so it is extremely strange to feel like this) Also whenever something reminds me of him I get super anxious that I just want to cry, go back to my bed or even hurt myself. (Probably answer to my problem#1)It passes after some minutes but I just cant understand why I am still getting extremely anxious. After working nearly 24/7 for 4 years (yes I was also going to work on Saturday&Sundays, also sometimes sleeping there at university- however it wasnt enough for him) I am even willing to quit if I cant write my thesis in the next semester. Why do I still feel anxious?? He shouldnt have any control over me since I can quit. But why still I have anxiety attacks? What can I do to stop this attacks? I am trying to be more calmer if something triggers me so that I can manage my emotional flow, and it works but definitely not in this case. I cant seem to manage this trigger, I dont know what to do. What would you suggest?April 23, 2019 at 8:43 am #290247
Long term, quality psychotherapy/ counseling will be best.
Short term, if it is possible for you to quit that advisor without quitting your education and profession, do so. Can you?
anitaApril 23, 2019 at 9:07 am #290253
Thank you for your reply. Unluckily I am not able to quit my advisor without quitting my masters, since he is the department head and professors are scared of him.April 23, 2019 at 12:39 pm #290265
All that department head powers have gone to his head.
What I would do is shake that medical diagnosis around at him. When he calls, “*shake, shake* my blood tests say my (MS-Lyme-fibro-sickle-cell-Graves) disease is acting up and I am unavailable to answer texts/calls from the university between the hours of 6PM and 9AM.” Even a crazy department head horror show won’t go after a medically compromised student. A student with a blog. (hint). A student who writes letters to the Editor. (double hint). Well, that’s just me.
Can you be buddies with, THE PRESIDENT of the Uni? Easy to meet. Go to one of their fund raisers. He and the department head will be there and wonder if you are actually an heir. Once THE PRESIDENT knows your name, mention casually your troubles with a professor without naming any names. He will quickly put two and two together and the calls/inappropriate meeting times/etc. will cease.
Claiming your power will inevitably lessen your anxiety once you see that you do have control over your life. Once you’ve conquered the big bad department head, you’ll know you can handle anyone.
Write that thesis!
InkyApril 23, 2019 at 3:19 pm #290293
I think that a lot of your fatigue has to do with your years of ongoing high stress level. My suggestions:
1. Plan every day so to have relaxation and resting time within each day, maybe listen to a relaxing guided meditation every day, one before going to bed if that works for you, do a yoga routine every day (the chest opener is very refreshing), keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day by having maybe 5 smaller meals per day, take a brisk walk outside per day, listen to relaxing music.
2. Find a way to assert some power over your advisor, someone’s power. You wrote: “He was calling me at 03.00 waking me up and tell me to do sth and send a report to him in an hour for example…he is the department head and professors are scared of him“-
– maybe your advisor is scared of someone himself, someone who has a say about his position as an advisor, someone who holds the conduct-rules-for-advisors/professors?
Imagine that this advisor calls a student at 3 am and demands a sexual favor. Must the student comply, and if not (I sure hope the answer is no), who can the student turn to so that the advisor will be disciplined?
April 23, 2019 at 3:23 pm #290297
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by anita.
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