When I told a friend of the sudden departure of my DoS due to health issues, she said ‘We are like Skittles’. I interpreted this to mean, we are all brightly coloured and diverse, but incredibly fragile. After just coming out of an ‘oh can I really sustain this momentum’ phase I learnt today of this sad news. My thoughts and hopes are for my DoS’s speedy recovery and much gratitude for the positive influence she has had over my work thus far.
I cannot begin to think of the ramifications of having someone else take her place. I am too far up to look down into uncertainty.
A colleague on viewing a video on PhD students and the risk of ‘mental health issues’ wrote:
‘Rather than eliminating these symptoms, which our self-absorbed, self-care, deficit-corrective culture tries to do, another view is that this is part of the dismemberment and re-collection of the doctoral transformation—an ancient shamanic journey. This is why I am not a health care (mental, physical or otherwise, though maybe an Otherwise) professional; there are other values besides health. Some journeys give us symptoms-as-archangels, such as: The loneliness of slow and tedious critical analysis in a shallow and accelerated culture so that the sensory deprivation can draw into focus what is unattended, or reading in solitude while others party so as to meet aspects of yourself for the first time, or when the birth pangs of inspiration and futility lead you into the noctural light that visits at 3am when the hard work changes your life in an instance (which fools, ignorant of the mystical traditions, will call a manic episode). Trust the process. It’s really ok if this is not your cup of hyssop; there are other callings. This is scholarship.’
I wanted to write a brief introduction ‘introducing silence’ before focusing on the more familiar territory of silence and psychotherapy. When considering silence as a general concept, I have been feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information, and the sheer diversity of the topic. Unable to get out if the rut of the writer’s fog I went back to a tried and tested method of writing inch by inch, line by line, as opposed to a paragraph by paragraph. It is a laborious method, but at the end of a hard week, inches become sentences, and sentences become paragraphs and just a little bit more progress is made. This is much more preferable to no progress!
It is hard to put into words how excited I am today. Finally received the thumbs up to submit the now famous improved proposal pack to the University’s’ Ethics Committee. Feels like a major milestone in a long hike. Feel that I have learnt so much already, in part thanks to the brilliant support from my DoS, supervisor and the support staff at Northampton. Now I have just a million articles and books (ok 100+) to read and digest…
Ok so the gap between blog posts has not been because of a lack of activity, on the contrary, it has been a hive of busyness. As of today the improved proposal, bibliography, participant information sheet, consent form, Gantt chart, risk assessment, and data management plan, have been completed. Just waiting on some feedback on the risk assessment and then I think I am ready to submit to the ethics committee. Given the preparation, it feels like a significant milestone, home is so far back that I can’t really see it, but nor can I see the destination just yet, but the map is getting much clearer. Wow, how many mixed metaphors can one get in a sentence!?