Hunger

I’ve lost my hunger. Literally.

It’s a weird sensation and not one I’m very familiar with. I’m not nauseous as such; I simply have no appetite and no interest in eating. Admittedly I have always had a complicated relationship with food. However, the issue has always been trying to contain and curb my hunger into submission, rather than dealing with its absence.

At first part of me was thinking ‘This is GREAT! – I don’t have to cook or buy food. I’ll save money! No dishes to clean! Plus I might even lose a little weight’. Of course, the rational part of me realises it’s not a healthy or sustainable situation.

Maybe it’s my body re-calibrating after the excesses of the Christmas period. Probably more immediate physical causes are having a migraine and my period. The fact that I was was feeling bewilderingly overwhelmed last week may well have also contributed, not to mention I have a (self-imposed!) mid-year review with my supervisors next week.

As someone who has been in therapy a long time, I can’t help but wonder if my loss of appetite is symbolic of something more profound. At the risk of going all Louise Hay on you, is my lack of appetite representative of in my various dissatisfactions and disempowerment at work/study/personal life – to what extent are these caused by external constraints; i.e. locus of control (this is probably a thesis paper in itself)? And if so, how can I enact real change if I don’t have clear goals – change that I haven’t been able to fully realise previously?

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday reading through the Thesis Whisperer’s Valley of Shit blog post and comments; It was reassuring to read how just common loss of perspective and confidence is for PhD students. It certainly prompted me to reassess my own current experience, reflect on my motivation to continue to do my PhD. Am I haunted by self-doubt and inexperience? Yes? Am I still excited and interested by the topic? Yes, yes I am!

Thankfully I’m feeling a bit better; I’m able to eat at least one or two small meals a day. And overall, I’m actually feel more energised and hopeful.

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One thought on “Hunger

  1. Oh I could have written this post six months ago! Though I didn’t have the loss of appetite….My “mid PhD slump” went for about a year, only to be replaced with “final year of PhD anxiety”. In fact I have just diagnosed myself with PTSD today ie “PhD Terrified of feeling Stupid disorder”. but I do not mean to be flippant about our mental health. I just meant to say that you are not alone. Besides, after reading the Rosie Project and getting a new insight into how overly emotional I am, I realised that I am indeed not stupid (several degrees attest against that) but perhaps I am in fact overthinking. But enough about me. I am glad you have a bit of your appetite back and we should catch up over coffee when I’m back! X (Another thing I have found helpful is to disengage from the blasted thing periodically, which helps with my perspective. Perhaps you need to go horseriding again?)

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