Maintaining Your Mental Health all the Way through Your PhD Process

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterCommunication


  • Kamma Overgaard Hansen
The Ph. D. process is a unique opportunity to develop your wildest thesis, to follow your academic instincts all the way, to test your theoretical ideas in a stimulating academic environment, and to create your very own contribution to your favorite field of research. But the process of writing a Ph. D. is also a frustrating journey through theoretical dead ends, doubts about the substance of your singular points or your entire project, momentarily loss of self-discipline, and overwhelming loneliness. Thus, your 3 or 4 years as a Ph. D. student might put you at risk of suffering a wide range of mental disorders – ranging from the typical diagnosis of modern Western life style, eg. stress, insomnia, and imposture syndrome, to more serious illnesses such as depression. Disorders that the Ph. D. student, being usually young and relatively inexperienced, is particularly predisposed to.
This contribution asks the question of whether these psychological symptoms can be avoided in the process of writing a Ph. D. – and whether they even should be completely avoided. Is mental lability a necessary – and perhaps even fruitful – part of a long, creative academic process? And if it is: what is a sufficient amount of insanity?
This contribution seeks to pave the way for a more honest approach to minor mental health disorders as a potential issue in any academic work environment, and particularly among Ph. D. students. It is also meant as an elementary guide to the warning signals that you as a Ph. D. student should not ignore, and as a tool to remain self-analytical – and thus self-caring – all the way through your Ph. D. process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Nordic PhD : Surviving and Succeeding
EditorsChristopher McMaster, Caterina Murphy, Jakob Rosenkrantz de Lasson
Number of pages7
Place of publicationNew York
PublisherPeter Lang
Publication year2017
ISBN (print)9781433150043
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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