Mental health and wellness are crucial to happy and productive research. Your mental and physical health matter more than your productivity. It's easy to feel like those around you are always happy, that they balance a personal life with successful experiments. There's a new song (Truth be Told by Matthew West) that I feel like so eloquently and plainly summarizes what many of us struggle with:
Lie number one: you're supposed to have it all together
And when they ask how you're doing
Just smile and tell them, "Never better"
Lie number 2: everybody's life is perfect except yours
So keep your messes and your wounds
And your secrets safe with you behind closed doors
Truth be told
The truth is rarely told
These lies lead to imposter syndrome, and when they go unchecked, contribute to anxiety and depression that is rampant in the academic community. If you take one thing away from an interaction with me or from perusing my website, I hope it's this: you matter and you are not alone. It's ok to not be ok. It's ok to not have all the answers. It's ok to be emotional and to cry. It's ok to have bad days, weeks, or even months. But most importantly, it's ok to ask for help. You do not need to do it alone. Rely on the strength of others and let them carry you if you need a break.
The key to stopping and silencing those lies is by talking about them. By speaking truth to and supporting each other. I am privileged to be in a lab that prioritizes mental health. But not everyone has that. To the right are some general mental wellness resources, but I encourage you to look up local resources in your community and university.
"just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you...
- lisa olivera