UPDATE: I wrote this post almost one year ago (now October 2016), I kept it private because I was afraid of the consequences of this post. But, not anymore. I know by making this post public is not going to make me feel much better either, but it might help you. Yes, you who are actually having problems or you who know somebody who has problems. More stories need to be shared, more lessons need to be learnt. Now, here is the original post…
Today, a record was made. It was the second time that my supervisor asked me to rewrite a single paper draft, more or less from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with him mostly. My draft was not good at all and there has never been a history of my paper drafts being no-good-at-all. This is my all-time worst, even my supervisor said that it was not like my writing at all. Later, he asked.. “Are you okay?”
Before I tell you what my response to my supervisor was, I just wanna give you a little background. I have been having psychological problems for a long time (as everybody does), but everything became so much more intense when I started my PhD. I have been warned about the PhD problems long before I started mine. I have read about them everywhere too. The amount of stress that PhD might cause, the suicidal thoughts, the catastrophic failure, etc etc. But you know what, I have been an all-star student as I beautifully bragged here (PS: being an all-star student might be the source of my problems too). So, I thought that I could get through it unscathed and surely people were exaggerating. Man, was I wrong..
For me, there is this weird sense of pressure that PhD gives. That ridiculous amount of competition that you bear on your shoulders. That you have to do stuff as quickly as possible, otherwise people will do it faster and better than you. Just in that snap decision when you want to do your PhD, the world suddenly turns against you. Maybe just me, well at least that’s how I feel. Somehow, my mind got out of control. I started having this crippling anxiety eating me up inside, which leads to many things. I started developing an impostor disorder and also (what I feel like) depression. That suicidal tendency that I had had in the closet, started coming out like nobody’s business and getting stronger by the minute.
Last year, I tried to talk to a therapist. It was a bit tricky since she was in Indonesia and I was in France. The scheduling was hard and having therapy sessions via Skype was not the most efficient. Despite all that, I actually felt better discussing my problems with her. However, the scheduling became so annoying that I stopped seeing her. Sure, there was still ups and downs afterwards, but nothing unmanageable. Except for the last few months..
For some unknown reasons, the last few months have been really difficult for me. I have been having panic attacks more frequently. The suicidal thoughts I am having start scaring me. Life has been bleak and dark. But I am trying to get out of this. I am putting all my efforts to keep living, carrying out my daily life as a normal human being, hidden under the bubbles and laughter.
“To tell you the truth, I have been having some problems..” And with that sentence, I told my supervisor about what I have been struggling with. Not in detail, just the big picture. His response was very kind and warm, but too many things are replaying in my head that I couldn’t really focus on what he was saying.
Instantly after telling that to my supervisor, I felt like a little burden on my shoulders has been lifted off. Yet later, I became afraid that he would think I was faking it (negativity is also in the list of my problems). I was also afraid that it would destroy the whole dynamic of our working environment. Honestly, I don’t know what is going to happen now. Oh whatever. I should start accepting that what he (or anybody for that matter) thinks about me is out of my control. And I think this is why people who have similar problems tend to keep it a secret, because they are afraid of what people might think of them. But, they should not feel this way! More stories need to be shared and more lessons need to be learnt.
To be honest, I am not sure why I wrote this. I have been wanting to write this for a long time, but I was afraid that I would be writing it for the wrong reasons. I did not want to write this because I wanted attention, because I knew I wouldn’t get attention anyway, I would just get pity out of this. And I did not want this to be a cry for help either. Now, after telling my supervisor, I found out that it is okay. It is okay to be imperfect, to be broken. I guess I wanted to write this to share with people, to tell them that life is difficult, life is confusing, even for the people you least expect it to be. Some people don’t understand you, and there might be only a few who do. That is normal, but remember you are not alone. Hold on to those few. Also, start letting people in anyway for life is too cold and dark to get through by yourself.
Letting people know about your problems does not make you weak. There should be no shame in admitting your flaws. And there is no humiliation in taking some time to deal with things in your life.
More importantly, you should take pride in having that sheer willingness to show up and go on another day despite of your debilitating problems. You’ve made it through yesterday, surely you can take another day. After all, tomorrow is just the future’s yesterday!
PS: Watch this beautiful short about suicide. I hope it helps!
Mengutip dari blog ibu Gabriella yang judulnya sama persis ama blogpost ini. I just had a very great weekend. I went to Paris to see Pentatonix with her. And dayum, Pentatonix really blew all our minds. You can go see Gebi’s post about or watch the brief review here in this video:
And some extra fun stuff from the footage that I have:
As Gebi has elegantly put it, I think there is only one thing to say: thanks Ash Ketchum for letting these two pokemons run wild in Paris. 😀
I don’t know where to start. It feels like an eternity, while it was just really 4 months ago the last time I posted something. “AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT” is what the cool people say to that. Hahaa. But honestly, I have been thinking of starting a video blog. It looks easier and more fun, but I haven’t built up enough confidence to put things up online. That being said, I guess I will stick with the ol’ good wordpress for a little more while.
Some background info. So right now, I am still in France, I moved to another city: Strasbourg. Which is located on the French border, close to Germany. I moved in at the beginning of July, with the help of my friend: Fakhri Afiff, who was nice enough to visit me while he was on vacation and accompanied me all the way to Strasbourg. He also helped me finding my apartment in which I am currently living in. Since I had been wanting to better my french, I was focusing on shared apartments and I found one which is really cool and real close from my lab. So, I am living in the apartment with 2 other people: one French girl and one half-German half-Italian guy. They are crazy people and we don’t have one common language to speak in with each other. The “speakable” languages are: English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian. And since French has the highest point average among the 3 of use, we picked French. And also the other guy and I want to better our French. But of course, inevitably we make silly mistakes. Like over and over again.
After I got the apartment, I left for Indonesia for a month and a half. It was for the Ramadhan and the Eid Al-Fitr (no idea how to spell this) as well. It was a good vacation and I got to see friends, family and also.. eat a bunch of stuff!! But the time to go back to school came soon, thus once again I had to leave my home sweet home for the better future. This time, with a whole new purpose: my doctorate study.
So, talking a bit of the serious stuff. My thesis topic is a workflow analysis in the operating room. In simpler words, I am making a system to recognize what is happening in the operating room during surgeries, using all available data, may it be surveillance or endoscopic videos, kinematic data, or whatever. Doesn’t sound simpler? Well, I am sorry. Hahaa…
I am one and a half months in, I am loving the work so far. However, I have to say that it is not a kid’s game. Pursuing my academic career meaning that everything I am doing has to be justifiable, not only in my own head, but also has to be accepted by others. Nights spent without reading a paper/textbook lead to unbearable guilt in the morning. Weekends spent without running experiments make me suicidal on the following Mondays. Well, maybe not that dramatic, but you get the point. Why Andru, you sound like you’re having regrets. No, never. For sure, I have to work harder and I might not get out in one piece. But I want this, I can be better at this, and mark my words I will be really good at it. 🙂
On a lighter note, I had my graduation party mid-September which was basically just a party where we humiliated everybody by asking them to sing their favorite song. Literally everybody, even the lady who is responsible for our bank accounts couldn’t escape from the trap. It was a great night!
So I returned to Le Creusot after 6 months, I couldn’t bear the joy and the longing of the feeling being home. Le Creusot has that effect on me, it feels like home. Temporary, but home nonetheless. When I stepped out of the train, I couldn’t hold back a smile and the smile was still there for a solid 5-minute. Meeting my friends and professors certainly brought another whole level of joy. It was one good weekend, though in the end I fell sick. But it was expected from me, since on the last day in Spain (during thesis defense week), I fell terribly sick as well. I guess, it’s the world trying to tell me that I am getting older. Hahaa..
Well, here I am. A 23-year-old kid, again stranded in a city abroad, trying to put a mark in his tiny little world by pursuing his life goals. If all goes well, I should finish this chapter of my life in 3 years. So, if I tell you now that I am not having regrets, well come again in 3 years, and ask me then. 😛
Oh man! It has been too long!! Well, let me tell you that I am DONE with my thesis. Done, done and done! Well, not technically. I still gotta present it and am still contractually bound to work for another month. But still, at least some of the pressure is off my shoulders. Damn, the last four months have been, to say the least, one of the cruelest roller-coaster ride in my whole life. The emotional ups and downs were just oh man, exhausting. But, now that I will be done in a month. I can not wait to move on to the next thing.
So, most of you might already know this, but a couple weeks ago I got a PhD offering from a place in Strasbourg (in France FYI). I accepted it not long after it was being offered to me. I am just so excited to move there since it’s (kinda) a big city. I haven’t lived in a big city in France. Though I am really close to Nice right now, I don’t actually LIVE in the city. So my whole 2 years in France was spent in small towns. Well, I am not complaining, those two years were fun and all, but you know, you just want to have a change from time to time. And Strasbourg sounds like a good change to me. Not to mention that one of my friends from Le Creusot will be there as well. So, I will not be so lonely at the beginning. I am also planning to share an apartment, instead of renting my own room. First, it is more expensive since it’s a big city and second, I wanna improve my French like really. I wanna be fluent after finishing up my PhD. I guess 3 years should be enough to master the language.
Anyway, now that I have submitted my thesis. I have some free time in my hand. And I am planning to spend it by watching GLEE!! OMG, I missed the whole season! Can you believe it!? Semester 3 and thesis work really took a lot. I didn’t have enough time to catch up with any of my TV series guilty pleasures. I missed Glee, Dexter, Revenge, oh man everything! I have watched Glee up to episode 7 now, so far so good. I make a note to myself that I shouldn’t stop watching TV series no matter how busy I am. Watching Glee reminded me a lot of stuff, life lessons that I forgot. It’s good once in a while to get reminded of your purpose, the bigger picture. And TV series do remind me of that from time to time.
So, here I am. Still a master student. About to finish in 2.5 weeks. I will defend my thesis on 19th of June. And I will be done with this and move on to Strasbourg where my new life will wait for me. Wish me luck, guys. For now, I will be back to my Glee marathon. 😀
Disclaimer: OMG, I just realized this post wasn’t published. Ahahaa, kinda old news, but whatever. I’ll post it anyway.
Greeting human beings! How was your vacation? Did you have a killer time during the holidays? I DID!!
So, I spent my holidays in Indonesia since it was two weeks free. My dad told me that 2 weeks was long enough, so just come home! And I did! I already booked the tickets in early November, I guess. However there was a problem regarding my residence permit in France, which I haven’t received until a week before my departure. It was quite nerve wrecking, since tickets had been bought, as well as some souvenirs. But thanks to the fabulous mister univ secretary, my residence permit was ready just 5 days before my flight back home. So, my holidays were saved.
After two long flights and one long transit time, I landed in Indonesia safely. And 5 hours later, I took another flight to Padang, where my sister lives now. Eating a bunch of shit for 5 solid days, the most memorable one was jering! I can’t explain to you what it is, but this is one special food. It’s extra delicious if my aunt cooks it. I already tweeted my cousin the day before to tell her mother (the aunt) to make me a jering dish. It was awesome, so awesome that my brother in another city (Medan) asked me to bring him some. Lol.
I also did try some durians in Padang, however it was way disappointing. No flavor whatsoever. Another good point from Padang would be the beach. It was a cool afternoon watching the sunset, eventhough it was quite cloudy. But, it was somehow sweet and nice. Next stop, off to Medan, my bro’s place.
One of the things that I was super excited about being in Medan was seeing my precious nieces, Chiara and Aundra. Both are super cute and pretty. Especially, Chiara is 3 yo now, talking cute and stuff. Aundra is just a few months old, a pretty little girl that rarely cries. They’re super cute and super pretty, seeing them was awesome and saying goodbye was heartbreaking. Aside from that, I got to taste real durians in Medan. Damn, it was real good. I ate soo much, from craving to actually being sick of it. XD. Next stop, Bandung, where my heart actually belongs.
Noo, no, I didnt mean heart as in my girlfie or whatever. No, I am frikkin single, sadly (but happy). I spent the second half of my life in Bandung, from 10 to 21, so I consider this city as home. Most of my friends still reside there and a lot of places with nice memories. :-). First highlight would be the new year’s eve, with high school friends. My high school friends are actually like my family. Whenever I spend time with them, it’s always a great time. And new year’s eve was no exception. We started by cooking stuff and had dinner together. A bit of card games and off to the street where we watched the fireworks. The fireworks were awesome! Defo a night to remember. Not to mention the ruckus (a good one) I made during the night.
I also spent a lot of time with my college friends. I should totally give a shoutout to Obbie, who was nice enough to drive me anywhere. Thanks, dude! We watched a movie, Jack Reacher, which was a weird movie if I must say, and ate a lot of shit as well. Next stop Jakarta, and off to France.
Unfortunately but inevitably, I have to go back to France, so a few days before my flight, I went to Jakarta and spent some time with friends. It was absolutely fun, meeting old and new friends, hanging out with my old family Creusotins who already moved out of Le Creusot. It was totally great!
So, overall. It was a really really good vacation. A country, four cities, 7 flights, a lot of car rides. There were some problems along the way (e.g. me losing my bag on my way bag to Le Creusot), but it didn’t really matter since I had a lot to be thankful for. Most of the items on my checklist are checked, so mission accomplished! Ate a lot of stuff, bought a lot of shit, met a lot of people. Now I’m back in France, ready to study and next time will come back to Indonesia, bringing a title following my name. Amen.
Have fun, guys!
PS: On one article I wrote a Terry Pratchett quote saying that leaving and coming back is not the same as never leaving. It’s true. 🙂
Mainstream post, I know. Everybody is writing one at the end of the year. Anyway, my last post was in October. Good God! I’ve been so busy/lazy. So, let’s do a bit of catching up before going to the main menu. I was supposed to write about my trip to Portugal, but sadly I missed the moment, so I guess I will never write that. I was also supposed to write about my planning about going back to Indonesia (where I currently am BTW) for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, a little bit of administrative problem before leaving and what-not. A bunch other stuff that I’m too lazy to mention. Yea, I’ve become too lazy nowadays. XD
Now, let’s go to the thingy. As always, first thing to do is to review last year’s resolution. Here goes:
- Good moslem: oh man. Still far away from good.
- Stay fit: so-so. I maintained to gain a lot of weight and lose a lot too. At the end of the year, I guess I’m back to normal.
- Better violinist: I can’t really say, but somehow I feel that I am. 😀
- Earn money, save money: I think I did well on this part. I did get an internship during the summer. I also worked on a project with my university. I also had some projects going on from Indonesia. So yea, cool. And I also managed to hold back on the shopping department. Though, I did spend quite a lot on travelling, but it doesn’t count. Travelling is good! 😀
- French friends: I will consider this to be a failure because I didn’t make a lot of new French friends. Met a few nice French students, we talked a bit here and there, but still, not really friends.
Et voila! That’s all. I guess 2012 was not a really great year for me. A lot of cool things happened, for sure! Summer internship, Portugal vacation, sudden trips with friends, and stuff. But the bad things kinda clouded all the good parts. However, I still have a lot to be thankful of. So, no sadface for the end of the year. I’m gonna end this year on a high note with a lot of great friends at home. 🙂
As for next year, here are my resolutions:
- Stay fit, get in shape!
- Play something really nice on violin ifo people.
- Earn and save money so that I can cover the tickets to go home myself.
- Get a well paying job / a promising PhD position right after finishing Masters (In June anyway, wish me luck. :D).
- Go to Northern and Eastern Europe.
- Be in a serious relationship? Well, why not..
I know that my resolution is really.. hmm.. too real? I don’t know how to put it. Compared to the previous ones, this one seems so concrete and measurable and I kinda like it this way. Easier to know whether I have achieved my goals or not. May be these are not resolutions, but who the hell cares right? XD
As always, have fun in 2013, guys! Not too much tho. May the odds be ever in your favor. 😀