Archive for the Expressions Category

2018, a review

Posted in Articles, Expressions with tags , , on January 1, 2019 by Dev!l

2018 has been quite a strange year. I have felt such a large variety of emotions and lack thereof in such a short time span that I am confused whether to feel sad or happy that the year is near its end. Perhaps writing it out will help me come to a decision.

The start of 2018 was amongst the worst I have had experienced. I was depressed beyond what I would care to admit and had to drown myself in work just to have some sense of normalcy in my life. I was surrounded by friends yet I still felt a haunting loneliness inside me that I wouldn’t wish upon the worst of my enemies. I had everything to look forward to yet I couldn’t help but look back just because the person I wanted wasn’t there with me anymore. This continued for almost the first three months. I felt nothing but a harrowing and wretched devastation, it was almost like someone had my heart in their grasp and they were squeezing it for their own sadistic pleasure. The only thing that made sense to me at that time was to just drown myself in something that would numb if not kill my senses and my research work provided me that opportunity. I knew what I was doing was self-destructive and would cripple me in the long run but I was a junkie who was just looking for a quick fix to all of his problems. On the bright side, doing this not only allowed me to finish writing my thesis with results that I could accept but also helped secure a temporary job to continue working under my supervisor after graduation since he couldn’t guarantee funds for a Ph.D. position.

At the end of the third month, I had a brief and extremely chance encounter with someone who made me realize how unprepared I was to settle down. The sudden realization of how much faith I had put in a single person and how dependent I was on them pushed me further into a sense of disparity. I honestly wanted to run away from everything right then and there but I had made a commitment to finish a project for my previous supervisor.

The only positive aspect during this time was the restoration of a few bonds which had withered due to the ravages of time, mistakes and varying schedules. To those people, all I can say is, if you are reading this; thank you, your attention and words helped me a lot. Just like that the first 5 months of the year drew to a close. It wasn’t like nothing else happened during this time, I had quite a few hangouts with friends, had a friend visit me from Berlin after I helped his pseudo sister in law settle into my city and me finally graduating with a better than expected grade. However, none of this invoked a feeling of accomplishment. My emotions were still fleeting and I felt empty.

Near the end of my temp job, my fear of the unknown had grown. Everything around me was getting smaller and darker and things which I had spent the last 6 months running from were finally catching up to me. It was during this time that I went for an interview for a Ph.D. position which my supervisor had arranged. However, things didn’t go as planned. They rarely do. I was rejected from the position being cited as not a good fit as they didn’t have time for someone who was new in that specific field to learn everything from scratch. That was the day I finally broke. Things had finally caught up to me and I was just done with everything.

For the next half a month I was in a state of pure agony as my work, the only thing I took any pride in and what I was using to define myself was suddenly not good enough anymore. I was losing the last shards of my self-crafted identity. In my eyes, I had nothing of value left anymore and this started to reflect in my daily life. I would spend each day in bed, emotionless and quite frankly shut off from the outside world.

It was at the end of June that I received another call for an interview to a Ph.D. position I quite frankly didn’t even remember applying to. The position itself was in another country and in a city where I knew no one. The interview went worse than I expected and I quite frankly had no hopes at that point. However, my masters’ supervisor did go above and beyond in his recommendation and somehow managed to convince the right people that I was a good fit. To my surprise, they did agree with my supervisor and just like that it was soon time for me to leave my friends and everything I had grown accustomed to behind one more time in my life. The only difference, however, was this time around I had no safety nets. The prospect of which utterly terrified me but I just wanted a change, I wanted to run away in hopes that perhaps a change of scenery would help me pull myself out of my perpetual hollowed state. Not to mention the idea of getting paid only sweetened the deal.

The move went worse than I expected as I couldn’t officially start work due to complications of the visa process. All of this coupled with a sense of loneliness threw me in a state of indifference towards my life. The only emotions I did have during this time were entirely superficial. I don’t think I would have been able to cope with all the unlucky events which followed have I had not been in a constant emotionally jaded state. From being in debt and penniless to getting in an argument with my parents to being alone, I was at one of the lowest points in my life.

The only things that gave me even a tiny glimmer of hope or a reason to get up in the morning were the kind words of a few friends and an email my masters’ supervisor had written to me after I had informed him of my decision to take up the Ph.D. position. I don’t imagine that he even knows how much his words meant to me and even though I still doubted his judgment, I wanted to go on and give it my best not to disappoint a person who wasn’t even in my life anymore.

However, finally, things started to take a turn for the better around the time when just to avoid being homeless for a few days and to simply run away from everything, I went to visit my friend in Berlin. The change of scenery and the ablution from responsibility helped me get things on track. On my return, I started to have a better outlook on my situation. The fact that the people around me were nicer than I originally expected and my direct supervisor turning out to be just an amazing human and scientist only expedited the whole process. Even though I still wasn’t sure if I was capable enough to perform the tasks assigned to me, I was undoubtedly impressed by my supervisor. Her overall demeanor, work ethic and personality only made me respect her more as time passed. This allowed me to stop letting my doubts interfere with my work. Or to state it as I did to my friend, “My loyalty was bought with food, chocolate and a sense of humor”.

I soon found myself not so jaded anymore. Granted the emptiness was replaced by sadness and the fear of people’s judgment weighing me down but, I was just happy to feel something once more instead of just feeling nothing. The sadness, like most things in life was only temporary and settled down a bit soon after. The fear of inadequacy, on the other hand, is still there and I still struggle each day at work as I find many things out of my depth. Not a day goes by when I am not plagued by self-doubt. However, I still feel like going above and beyond just because of the respect I have towards my coworker and supervisor. Granted I still feel like they think of me as an idiot, but that is something I can live with.

As the year draws to a close, here I am recanting everything while sitting comfortably in Siegen, enjoying my Christmas break with old friends. I know I never really focused on what I truly gained from my experiences but I guess, I really don’t want to tell that part to any other person as I still feel it is too personal and close to my heart. However, all I can say is that this year I learned a lot about myself and what makes me tick. I also learned about a lot of my shortcomings and possible issues I have but I guess that is fine as I still have time to work on these issues and be better.