HOW TO MANAGE ANXIETY AS A PHD STUDENT. 🧠
Thank to @eleonorapiersan who asked me the question "How do you drag yourself to lab when your anxiety and depression take the best out of you? How do you deal with feelings of guilt?" 🤯
It gave me the chance to write for my new brand new website teresaambrosio.com. Check #linkinbio to see the answer. If you need a reminder on implementing selfcare in your daily life, get the Bookmark from my Etsy shop @crocheting_science_. .
If you want me to talk about my experience as a graduate student, depression, anxiety, sustainability, feel free to ask and I'll share my answer through Instagram or my website.
9 993 days ago
Do you have these moments when you think that you found the idea 🔅, the experiments that will turn round your research☄? The moment when you say "I am sure this is the one" then you analyse your data and nothing has changed? This is the story of my entire PhD and I am sure of the story of everyone reading.
Late this afternoon🕓, I showed up in the lab to put up a few reactions 👩🏻🔬. It was one of those moments when you think you have the solution and you can finally sleep at night because PhD might be sorted out🎉🎊. Usually, the illusion dies the day after, today died straight away. I didn't even have the time to dream about what would happen next! The solvent I distilled before Christmas was screwed. (It turned out blue). Was this a sign of destiny? Was this good or bad luck?
If this happened to me a few months ago, I would have blamed myself for being a bad scientist, have poor lab practice, I would have torn myself apart, crying, being nervous and feel useless🤯. What is my mindset now? Tomorrow is another day and every day is a new sunsire🌅
Ciao and stay cool.
13 2305 days ago
January is the prevention month for cancer to the cervix, the entrance to the womb from vagina. 👩🏼⚕️The screening test is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. .
People often think that cervical screening is a test for cancer. This is a mistake. It's a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix. Most women's test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women, the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix😿. Most of these changes won't lead to cervical cancer and the cells may go back to normal on their own. But in some cases, the abnormal cells need to be removed so they can't become cancerous💀.
Trans men who still have a cervix and are still registered as female with a GP will also be invited for cervical screening. Trans men who are registered as male will need to let a GP or Practice Nurse know so they can organise the test.
Despite its importance, 25% women skip the cervical screening, with the proportion increasing to 35% among those aged 25 to 29 👧🏻 and to 50% in some more deprived regions of the UK. Embarrassment 😳 about body shape, not having their wax done, lack of time and lack of understanding 🤔 about the importance of screening are barriers to attendance. Many don't think they need it because they are healthy 👍🏼and others believe that screening doesn't reduce your cancer risk🙏🏼. .
Over Christmas, I had to rush to Italy because my father got surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his intestine. He didn't have any symptom and he was well because the cancer was at an early stage. How they found out? Because of a prevention screening. If he didn't go, he would have been dead by Christmas next year. When you get the symptoms, it might be too late. Hope I convinced you that there's no more precious thing that your health and wellbeing. The rest can wait.
Much Love 😘
17 2566 days ago
THE PRINCE CAN WAIT, I'M TRAINING TO BECOME A SCIENTIST 😎👩🏻🔬.
The question people asked me the most back in my hometown was: "what about your boyfriend?". My answer was: "I have other priorities at the moment, finding a partner isn't one!". No sarcasm, just the truth. .
Following the campaign #heforshe launched by Prasha @herstemstory, I made a reflection on all people who empowered me to set my career and education as #1 priority. They are all men.
📍My father, I've already said how he wanted me and my sister to excel in school over that chase boys. .
📍One of my teacher at secondary school who used to say that women need to make their own money to get their freedom and indipendence. He used to repeat this almost every day.
📍One of my ex bf who told me that I don't need validation from anyone rather myself to be good enough.
📍My most recent ex boyfriend who taught me how to take care for myself emotionally to become a better and stronger woman.
Hope this will be helpful to everyone reading because it definitely made a strong impact on me as child, teenager and still does. 🤟🏼 .
36 3413:36 PM Jan 13, 2019
NEUROSCIENCE OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
As much as our world evolved, the back side of our brain (old brain) is still like we were living in the forest, hunting for food and sleeping in caves. Back in the days, life was very rough and our ancestor needed to react quickly to every threat. Scientists at the University of California recently found that our "anxiety cells" are located in the hippocampus (in mice). In anxious-free people, these cells and part of the amygdala fire up only in dangerous or life-threatening situations, whereas if you suffer from anxiety, they fire up in any random occasion, such as making a phone call, going to the post office, being late for an appointment.
The neuroscience of depression in different. It's due to low production of serotonin in the brain. Usually, traumatic events during childhood or adolescence, such as bullism or violence, prolonged stress, lack of relationship and isolation lower the level of serotonin in the brain and we get depressed.
Antidepressants help to rebuild normal levels of serotonin in the brain and if used for at least 6 months are definitely a big boost for your mood. However, they aren't a long-term solution. If you suffer from chronic depression, you need to combine meds and cognitive therapy. Why? To understand what's trigger your depression. It helps you break the cycle of negative thinking and all the unhelpful stories your mind tells yourself such as, "I'm alone, none loves me, I am useless, I'm a failure, everything I do is a disaster etc". Therapy might be expensive, I heard of $120/session in the USA. My suggestion is to do it on Skype. English is a worldwide language and you can hire a therapist everywhere. .
Finally, use other resources such as meditation and mindfulness. Focusing on your breathing and body for 10/20 min per day helps calming anxiety and eases depression. Meditation strengthens connections in the front side of the brain (new brain) so, your brain gets less responsive to the old brain (if you remember the "survival brain"). Meditation isn't easy but you can start using apps such as @calm or @headspace to get into it.
Continues in comments
HOW TO REDUCE PLASTIC? ♻️
I just arrived in Italy and couldn't be any happier to see this biodegradable shopping bag 🛍. .
Italy 🇮🇹 introduced this legislation back in 2012. Grocery stores and small shops couldn't provide plastic bags anymore due to plastic pollution.
Last year the legislation was modified and additional environmental friendly rules were added👍🏼. Fruits, veg, meat, fish and items in the bakery section can't be wrapped in plastic anymore and all the small bags and foils had to be made by biodegradable materials. Plus, customers have to pay 5 cents for each bags (Italians weren't very happy about it 🤬)
As far as I know France 🇫🇷 is the only other European country where single use plastic bags are banned! European laws encourages each country to proactively reduce single use plastic but there's no direction on how to implement the rules. .
Do you have similar legislation in your country? What does the government do to promote alternative materials to plastic? .
24 14312:26 PM Jan 4, 2019
Let's welcome this 2019 with a toast for a brand new life 🎉🎊.
My advice for the #newyear: Stand up🤚🏼 for what you believe no matter if you have to do it alone 🗣. 2 years ago, I took the decision to step up with my higher education and bring additional value to my PhD and professional career 👩🏻🎓.
I decided to stop going to bar and pubs waisting my time and money. I decided to leave the teenager mentality of either you are/do like everyone else or you are out 🚫. I decided to leave behind all the toxic people in my life, those who didn't add any value or made my life worse. .
Instead, I started blogging 👩🏻💻, science communication, being actively involved with society inside and outside the university. Social media 🤳🏽 gave me the chance to move away from the isolation most of us face in academia. I met incredible people who added enormous value to my life and taught me something new every day. .
I also reached out to those friends in my everyday life who are sincerely interested in myself and want the best from me. I invested loads of time focusing on myself, what I want for the future with meaningful people doing interesting conversations. .
Changing habits is hard but don't be afraid to take a leap ⛰ into the unknown. The best comes from it. .
31 3813:30 PM Jan 1, 2019
My last post of 2018 is to show my gratitude to the community I have built this year and without whom, I wouldn't have survived. I am giving away this book 📙 The Beautiful Cure by Daniel Davis which a tribute to the beauty of the immune system. I am not a biologist or immunologist and I don't understand most of the protocols there. However, the book is an awesome portrait of research🔬 in academia and what happens behind the scenes of cracking scientific discoveries. It shows the good 🤗 (resilience, curiosity, confidence, collaborations) and bad (political interest, unfair play, depression) of science 🤯. .
To enter the giveaway:
📌Like this post
📌Tag two friends
📌Additional entries will be given to those who like my Etsy shop #linkinbio
Giveaway starts now and finishes on the 3rd of Jan. Good luck
From the book 📒🏷:
"This success did not come about in any easy way; it took a multitude of small steps to make the antibody. Triumph came from imagination and hard work, but also from a web of coincidences, change events and serendipity. All those who contributed to the discovery of this therapy deserve celebration." "An article on The NY Times commented that recognition of a single individual presents a false picture of science. This victory comes from the work of 7000 scientists and 5700 institutions".
46 2612:02 PM Dec 30, 2018
My road to #sustainability ♻️.
I started my PhD in sustainable #chemistry in October 2015 👩🏻🎓. The first semester was a master in sustainable chemistry and I learned all about #globalgoals and the challenge of a #sustainable development. 📈.
One of the biggest myth about sustainability is that someone else will solve the problem. The action of the individual is actually one of the biggest factors. 📊 Every contribution counts and small steps will make a cumulative effect. .
I decided to make more conscious decisions about my spending🌐. Where do stuff come from? How is it possible that some places sell a tee or kitchen items for £2? What's their business model? Do they pay workers a fair wage? Asking all these questions is important🤔. In fact, buying an item should also mean embracing the vision and policy of the brand.
The road to sustainability is hard but not expensive (another myth). Making counsious decision also means rethinking the way you spend your money. I did spend more than 70£ to buy all the items in the pics. However I drastically reduced my expenses on clothing buying #secondhand and repairing what I already have. By making such decisions, I managed to save a lot over the last semester 💲💲💲. .
Also wanted to highlight that #plasticfree doesn't necessarily mean that big names are evil. Many well-known brands are actively promoting a sustainable model on large scale too. .
Are you planning on adopting more eco-friendly habits for the upcoming year? How are you planning on rethinking your shopping?