I received an email from a very nice person seeking advice and help
about their future career choice. I replied saying that I don’t usually give
advice because of how complex individuals can be. One piece of advice that
might work for one person, may be detrimental to another. However, what I did
do was speak from my own experiences – hoping that themes within them apply to
their personal situation. I noted that what I wrote could be utter rubbish

The email correspondence between us helped me to get some of my thoughts
down on paper. And, I would like to put them up on my blog just in case someone
else finds value in my experiences. This is the second of five blog posts

Alex used to define themselves solely through their work as a physicist, but found it harmful to their mental health as they would take criticism of their work heavily. They also identified other risks to this philosophy, such as becoming stuck in a role and going against moral convictions. After counselling sessions, they started defining themselves outside of their job as well, and explored various interests and hobbies. This change in identity allowed them to take more calculated risks and feel a greater sense of freedom.

Before my rare severe reaction to an antidepressant, I used to define myself through what I did. i.e. “I am a physicist”. This, I found, was quite dangerous for my mental wellbeing. I would take criticism of my work really heavily – it was one of the many factors that contributed to my growing depression (which ultimately led me to take an antidepressant that caused my severe reaction). I was unable to separate who I was from what I did.

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