Staying, Connecting, Asking.

The New PI (@ThenewPI) posted this today, about some of her recent bout of depressive thinking (and cites me and a few tweeps I like @Dr24hours, @psychgrrl as bold for speaking up about our brains and the things they do to us– I hope we are all doing some good for those who don’t feel they can speak out).

On Being recently re-ran their interview with Jennifer Hecht, mainly about her book ‘Stay’ that makes the secular case for not committing suicide (if you are having suicidal thoughts, this is the number for the National Suicide hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255).

And connection and asking are two things I’ve been struggling with lately in part because of being overly occupied with things means there’s not a lot of time to connect, and feeling like we can’t ask because we’re all busy, and there doesn’t seem to be time to formulate good questions worthy of someone’s time (plus the internet has all the answers anyway, right?).

And then perfectionism, impostorism and the anxiety produced because of them are there, the fear that it’s not OK to be who you are right now. That you’re not enough (relative to the other 7 billion people you share the planet with).

And of course, depression is a positive feedback loop imposing isolation.

I’ve been working hard to burst the bubble I feel I’ve been in for years. Though I may have poked a few holes in it, the bubble is made of metal and still there. In some ways I am better than I have ever been, but life isn’t suddenly awesome either. And the narrative my brain weaves lately about whatever I am doing is that it is the wrong thing to be doing at that moment.

Time writing this blog, writing my science blog, learning new digital skills/data analysis I want to explore because I find them fun, and having time to dedicate to them are slow. A lot o it feels like shouting into a void and only hearing a faint signal back.

I need sleep. I have trouble waking up. Exercise needs to happen more. Life maintenance things too. Do I even have time for myself? How do I carve out a social life?

Is it possible to live well anymore or should I give up now?


I ask myself what I’m staying for, and the answer that always echoes back is that there are people that care about me in the world. If I ever get convinced that that is not the case, well, I will be in trouble.

I stay because of them. I care about them too, even if I don’t or can’t express it often enough or well. I listen well even if I don’t always speak up. I usually put things in writing.

That’s come to include much of my Twitter network (and other social media too) and can include people I work with, do projects with too (on top of the friends/family).

Sparking connections is hard. Asking is hard. Staying can be hard too.

I have to believe that all three are worthwhile pursuits. That I am worth it.

I keep trying because of the application of something I truly believe I am good at: persistence.









Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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