Wednesday, October 19, 2005


After a post on insomnia the next thing that occurred to me was depression. I felt the need to write about it because depression is a word I am very familiar with, I get depressed very easily. I expect a lot out of myself as well as the people around me. A bad day in the lab, a small misunderstanding anything and everything can trigger me to get into depression. For a person like me depression can wreak havoc and can lead to severe mood swings, it can also affect work. In these three years I have gone through various levels of depression and it used to occur frequently when I was going through a bad phase in the lab. One failed experiment would eventually lead to the other just because in my depressed mood I would miss simple details that I would have otherwise noticed. How does a person like me get rid of depression or deal with it? Counseling is the best option. All universities have a counseling center to help deal with the stress and pressure of everyday graduate life. I was very skeptical when I first went to the counseling center. I did not know what to expect there. After three months of counseling I started feeling much better and less depressed. It worked like a miracle. These days I seldom get into depression, for I have learnt to deal with it.

The best way of dealing with depression is to create a life outside your work place. My worst days of depression were those when I could not take a failed experiment out of my mind or not stop thinking about what I had to do the next day. I was always paranoid on a Sunday night that I might forget to do something important the following day. I have a lot of responsibilities as a graduate student like course work, teaching, research etc. Time management was very important, I have started to use check lists of things to accomplish during the day, and this approach really helps in keeping me organized. During my days of depression I would be so overwhelmed that I would forget to do something invariably and land up in a big mess.

How does one create a life outside the workplace? Stop thinking or ruminating about failures for long periods of time, you are bound to succeed sometime soon. Indulge yourself in your favorite pastime; it can be anything like music, sports, blogging, reading, exercise etc. It surely helps when you are constantly thinking about what is happening at your work place to digress and look at other things. Most often we forget that the world is a place filled with fascinating things and that what we get hung up on aren’t even worth thinking twice about. The key is to relax and enjoy your work. Learn to enjoy your work even if everything you do does not turn up as expected. Life is always full of unexpected twists and turns and like my boss says there is something to be learnt from even failed experiments.


NaiKutti said...

u have said it all... the proverb "failures are the stepping stone to success" does have some reality in it... get more involved in other activities... u don't want work to occupy ur entire life... give more prioirty to other things and u will see a good change... good luck for ur research ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Robbie...

Thanks for the Post...

The problem with me is though I try be as much organized as I could be some how things go out of my hand...

I have a big social circle outside my work place may be I should try spending more time with them

Anyways thanks for u r post that was really sweet of u


Revo's nuggets said...

This is a good self-study.
The following definitely works for me to keep away a melancholic moment:
1. Think about a few of my favourite things
Like in sound of music... its a little girlie girlie but the simple pleasures bring easy-smiles on anyone's face.

2. And compare my state with unfortunate citizens in war-torn nation, or those will terminal illness... so on and so forth.
basically, try to look at the positive sides of the present..


Narayanan Venkitu said...

Didn't expect this in your blog..but ...we are all human beings.! I've read quite a few posts on depression/Bipolar etc this week.

Counselling certainly helps. Like you said in the last para. doing what you like to do, taking the mind off helps a lot.

Take care Robbie.!! Life goes on.!

Ganesh said...

Yes like Narayanan said Life Goes on.
I know you hate this but here goes , this esp. related with what Revo said
"And compare my state with unfortunate citizens in war-torn nation, or those will terminal illness... so on and so forth."

In Mahabaratha when the pandavas were severly depressed and in self doubt, Vyasa said to them "dont think you are the world unfortunate souls, there are people who have gone through worser situation than yours" thats when he tells them about 'NalaDhamayanthi' story.

Sen=I can already see you ROFTL :)
enjoy buddy

sen said...

Ganesh :D
u just said what kannadasan also said.

"Unnakkum kizhey ullavar kodi,
NInaithu parthu nimathi nadu"(Mayakkama, kalakkama)

'How does one create a life outside the workplace?'
Man, tell me how to create a life inside the workplace first.

Paulo said...

Paulo loves you.


Anonymous said...


It has been a while since I read any of your or Ganesh's post.
Depression- hmmn..never get depressed about lab work. That is what I have learnt from my experiences and what I follow. I never think about lab once I get out of it. The next day I am ready to meet all the challenges and doubts head along.

Take care

Swahilya said...

I just wanted to tell you this - that all the high energy may happen in your lab - concentration, meditation etc. but the mind needs to relax with life - plain life. Remedies for depression - hug a neem tree (I don't think the species exists in the US - Azadiracta Indica), sit near a Pipal tree (ficus religiosa) or just any big, beautiful tree, sit beside a river and watch the water flow, sit in front of the ocean and look intently at the waves, just walk up to your terrace and look at the big blue sky. Nature has the capacity to instantly absorb depression and leaves you fresh.

Eshwar said...

robbie...that was quite an interesting pointer on stress reduction. Glad to hear that you are in control now.

Shuba said...

It always happens in life..but i such situations remeber the best things in life...divert yourself..prayers meditation can also help