Current PGR - Wellbeing
PhD study is a very difficult, stressful and often lonely endeavour in many ways by necessity, because if successful, at the end of your work you will be the world expert on your particular research topic. Because of these characteristics our work may sometimes cause us to be stressed, anxious, depressed or generally unhappy. The first thing you should realise is that you are not alone, these feelings are not just experienced by you, many people have these feelings and experience these situations (at some point in our careers - probably all of us). As a Department (and wider University) we realise that many people are confronting loneliness, pressure and are questioning their ability to complete their PhD.
You should realise that I (Simon) confronted stress when completing my PhD - I was working at a full time job and was also trying to complete the PhD at the same time - I was 'idea rich' but 'time poor' and because I was outside the Department I had no peer support (or at least I felt weird about attending social and peer support events). It took me some time to realise that my PhD thesis was not the end point of the work, and that in some ways it was just an artificially imposed milestone. I was placing a lot of emphasis on writing a perfect Thesis and 'finishing' the work on time. I realised that the thesis would never be perfect and that the work in total could not be completed in 3-4 years. I decided to be pragmatic and do just enough work to get me an OK thesis. So you see, my PhD is not stellar, it is good enough to get me the PhD. I just continued the work after the thesis submission date by doing all the things I wanted to do in the four years after I'd submitted (in my own time). I published zero papers in my PhD but published 14 over those four years after I'd finished it. In my opinion you have to be pragmatic about these things - sometimes you are able to publish papers and write a really good thesis - sometimes you can't (personal circumstances, caring responsibilities, and the topic can all affect that). And I don't know of any Post Doctoral Researchers who are happy with their thesis five years after submitting it, not one. There will always be more to do and more work to undertake, that is what the rest of your life is for.
So please, do realise that you are not alone and we are here to help and support you. The first thing to do is to talk to someone you can trust - this may be your supervisor, advisor, or any of the PGR Academic Team (Simon, Bijan, Xiao-Jun, Sarah, Ian, or Giles).
Whoever you decide to talk to, you should also contact the University Support Services and you might find the (we have a subscription) Big White Wall (free online mental health and wellbeing support 24/7) helpful. There is also useful advice on the PGR Life wellbeing page. There are also some excellent ideas about how to manage and stay well. The Counselling and Mental Health Service have this on their website: https://www.counsellingservice.manchester.ac.uk/buildyourmentalhealthexpertise/, which has some interactive “treatment” resources like Moodgym, ECouch etc. We have booklets which have some self-help CBT based tasks, http://www.selfhelpguides.ntw.nhs.uk/manchester/; also there are some additional resources here: https://www.counsellingservice.manchester.ac.uk/interactive-resources/. There is also a page specific to PGR that includes some Apps that were trialled by PGRs as part of an OfS project https://www.counsellingservice.manchester.ac.uk/pgr/.