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Well, I may soon be a grad school dropout. Basically, I am way behind in my project and I just can't get it too work. My advisor says that I am not working hard enough and that I need to spend more time at my instrument. She says I need to put in 12-15 hours at a time on the instrument. My problem is that a)I'm may very well suck at this technique and b)12-15 hour stretches in a room by myself doing the same thing over and over is a quick ticket to mania and the hospital.

So I'm going to talk to my advisor and see if I can do a different project. The problem is that my work record is bad this past year (bad results=depression=no work getting done=anxiety=even more work not getting done...) and I'm not sure if she can understand that I can't do the project she wants me to do or if she has any confidence in me now.

So I'm seriously facing dropping out of grad school with my Master's. I've already started the job hunt.

The bad thing is that all this stress caused a serious bout of hypomania (my worst yet) and I managed to get my bank balance to -$1000.00 and I had to lie to my Mom to get money to cover my bills (really really bad I know).

So to make a long story short, I feel really pathetic and scared because I've been a grad student for so long and am not looking forward to maybe moving to a whole different state to start over. I'm not sure why I'm posting this but anyone want to lie to me and say that job searches are easy and moving is easy and that I'm not totally pathetic?

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Glad to oblige!

Job searches are easy. All you have to do is spend 12 -15 hours a day typing resume's, mailing letters and making phone calls. ;)

I cannot imagine ANYONE spending more than 8 hours a day practicing. I've got a couple cousins who are professionals, one a PhD professor and the other a concert piccoloist, and thought that 6 -8 hours on one instrument was about the max for grad students and professionals. hmm.

You can't do the impossible. I personally think 12 - 15 hours a day would be completely counterproductive [what remains of my embouchure aches at the thought]. The brain can only absorb so much stimulus. If you truly don't think you can master the technique then it is reasonable to discuss that with your prof and work out another project. If you need more time to practice on a reasonable schedule, then you may need to get with your pdoc or therapist and get a letter from them detailing the importance of adequate rest etc. Go to the school Disabilities office with it.

Good luck!

a.m.

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I almost dropped out of my Masters program because I hated it and was depressed. But then I figured I'd already spent 6 months there, and $12g, so I might as well finish. Might not help your situation, but it abled me to rationalize my situation.

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Wednesday, you're not pathetic, studying is hard when you're mentally interesting! Does your advisor know you're bipolar and the implications that that is having? Don't know if it's feasible to discuss it with her to try to get some leeway...?

Also, AM, I think it's so cool that you have a cousin who's a piccoloist!! I don't know why, but it made me giggle ;)

xx

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The Disabilities office strikes me as a very good idea. You might also consider talking to your area chair or department head or graduate chair or whoever does advising and solves problems for your area.

Does your school allow you to switch advisors?

Does your school have a career services?

I'm not going to say job searches are easy or moving is easy but you're not pathetic. You're struggling with a disability and with an advisor who is making things difficult for you (and probably for other graduate students as well - but they have the advantage of not having a disability).

Being crazy and in graduate school is *hard*. I had an understanding advisor and a great area chair, and it was still very rough.

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@Air Marshall- Thanks. I knew that job searches and moving would be totally fun. ;)

To every one else: thanks for the support. My advisor doesn't know that I am BP. I'm supposed to talk to her today or tomorrow and maybe she'll be understanding enough to allow me to switch projects. Switching advisors this far into my career probably won't work so I am pretty much stuck where I am. I did look at my university's disability services website and I may talk to them as well.

I'm kind of bummed that I may not get my PhD but in all honesty if getting my Master's is what is takes to keep my remaining sanity then I'm all for it.

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it sounds like you're an instrumentalist. if that's the case, and i don't know for sure because i only played bassoon in college, don't you audition based on talent and not on academic credentials? i know the cleveland orchastra puts you in a room where they can't even see what you look like or what your gender is so they aren't biased, and judge you based on your playing. i'm from cleveland and really respect our orchastra. my aunt is a voice instructor and my uncle plays the flute professionally, and both agree it is talent over PhD.

if you're good, you're good. if you suck, you suck.

since changing advisors isn't an option, i do like the idea of going through the disabilities office. maybe arrange a meeting between your pdoc and advisor so your pdoc can educate your advisor on just what you're going through. if you need more time on your project, then you need more time. if it is throwing you into mood episodes, then you can't have that and need a different approach. don't be afraid to ask for what you need.

i finished my undergrad at a national liberal arts college in the top 10% of my class with my disabilities, all because my profs were VERY accomodating and supported me all the way. you need support from everyone.

don't feel bad about needing money from your parents. they need education too on your illness. i'd suggest the bipolar disorder survival guide as a great foundation book for them to begin learning about bipolar disorder.

loon

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@loon-a-tik

Looking back at my original post, it does sound like I am an instrumentalist. My instrument is actually a super-powered microscope. Sorry for the confusion- I forget that most people aren't professional science geeks.I

Thanks for the suggestion about arranging a meeting with my pdoc and my advisor. I might do that with my tdoc. I actually don't see my pdoc that often. The university only offers limited "in-house" counseling and the pdocs basically just write you a prescription and have you email them when you need more. It makes tweaking your medicine a nightmare. I finally got an outside referrel to a tdoc after I used up my "in-house" therapy and I've been trying to see about getting a more perminent pdoc but that wouldn't be fully covered by my university health insurance and I'm not sure how much of a copay I can afford on grad student earnings. Isn't healthcare wonderful?

Thanks also for the suggestion about the bipolar disorder survival guide. I'm trying to work with Mom to get her to accept my mental health problems. Unfortunately, denial isn't just a river in Egypt. I found out this year that my biological grandfather (died before I was born) spent 20 years of his life in the mental health unit at a VA hospital before getting transferred to nursing home care when he got medicare. Despite this, the fact that one of her brothers was a raging alcoholic who used to routinely call and make death threats to her when he was drunk, the fact that her mother (my grandmother) was psychotically controlling and had a horrible temper and once tried to strangle my Mom when she was a teen, and the fact that Mom herself has been popping Valium like Pez since shortly after I was born just so she could make it through the day- she doesn't think that there is a history of mental health problems in the family and I'm just "stressed" and I'll be fine once I get out of graduate school.

Sorry for the mini-rant but I been having difficulty recently with my own acceptance of my BP disorder with my Mom encouraging me not to take my meds (bad bad idea!).

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