我是一个沮丧的数学家,由Matthew Pons

我被诊断出患有萧条作为研究生。我当时的治疗师与许多研究生一起工作,她理解了外部压力,这些方案在个人上。她也很清楚,许多研究生滥用毒品和酒精的事实才能应对。我以为我就像其他人一样。我努力工作,我教过我的课程,我经常出去喝酒。我欺骗了她的饮酒,因为我对我喝了多少 - 不是一个健康的选择。然而,我相信她知道我不是真实的,她和我一起工作,无论我不愿意诚实地对她和自己说实话。最终,她帮助我看到我的悲伤,无价值和自杀的想法是我们可以通过的东西的一部分。

My therapist helped me to see that I had been depressed since I was around 17. Throughout college, I had very little self-confidence, was terribly intimidated to speak in public spaces, and thoughts of suicide were frequent. I only made a plan once, and, luckily, I was not determined enough to carry it out. However, math was a place where I felt safe. I understood things quickly in my mathematics courses, my professors were encouraging, and I gained a little self-confidence in that arena. Unfortunately, that changed. As a graduate student and pre-tenured faculty member, math was a large contributor to my feelings of worthlessness. My classmates in graduate school seemed far more intelligent than I was, and I compared myself to them too often. When I couldn’t prove the result I was trying to prove, I felt stupid. Then I questioned my self-worth. Then I drank. This was a frequently occurring cycle. I abused alcohol quite a bit throughout grad school (though I would be sure to sober up for therapy appointments). And then there were the days when I didn’t even try because I couldn’t face it—or even get out of bed, for that matter.

我所学到的是,无论我的大脑告诉我什么,或者它多久告诉我,都不是毫无价值的。战斗这些想法可能会耗尽,可以影响睡眠模式和情绪,从而影响我与同事和学生的互动。我发现我可以通过完成某些东西来打击一个毫无价值的想法,任何东西:一揽子洗衣,一封电子邮件,准备或给出讲座等。这似乎简单,但它让我想起了我是一个运作的人。但这只是一个抑郁拼图。要处理更大的问题,有计划对我至关重要。我的日子与会议,班级和办公时间相得益彰。我不允许自己落入陷入困境的陷阱等待我的陷阱,并且在一天结束时,我可以为我所取得的成就感到自豪。这不是忽视抑郁症,而是专注于抵消这些思想和症状的事情。在那里它变得艰难的是,当有大块的未经安排的时间。作为学者,我们的正常时间表我们有巨大的休息时间。 Winter and summer breaks are a difficult time, and sabbaticals are completely overwhelming. In these times, I have learned that I need to be organized and have projects, both big and small, that I can focus on. And for days that I can’t move, I have to accept that they exist and try again the next day.

我也意识到数学实际上是一个像我这样的人的伟大工具。我现在已经结束了一天回顾了我所学到的一天的研究,而不是专注于证明定理的痴迷。这是关于找到积极的。好的,所以我没有证明定理,但我了解了我的方法不足。或者,我了解了一个可能在我的研究中有用的新结果。或者,我回到基础知识并挖掘了问题的基础方面,巩固了我的整体理解。地狱,总有一天我只是工作了一些有趣的微积分问题。学习是我最强大的工具之一。我生活和工作的事实,在一个有无尽的学习内容供应的纪律中工作是一个巨大的祝福。我知道研究生和预税教师有更多的压力,“证明了定理”,但这种观点仍然有用。 You are not defined by your mathematics. It’s a cliché, but I wish that we were more acculturated to focus on the journey rather than the destination.

The above change in perspective came about as I began to practice yoga. My practice focuses a lot on gratitude and has helped me to look for places to be grateful in all aspects of my life. With regard to mathematics, what I know now is that I can be grateful for the mathematics that I do know. I can be grateful for the mathematics that is still eluding me. And I can be grateful for my colleagues and students who allow me to discuss mathematics with them. It’s ironic, but many of us communicate the above ideas to our students frequently, and yet we cannot internalize these same messages. As I continue on my journey, my hope is that I will continue to remember what I’m grateful for and trust myself.

Matthew Pons, Co-Editor, is a Professor and Chair of the Mathematics Department at North Central College, where he has been a faculty member since 2007. He earned his PhD from the University of Virginia in 2007 and his undergraduate degree in 2002 from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Matthew’s favorite professional activity is teaching and his approach to classroom learning is shaped largely by his faculty mentors as both an undergraduate and graduate student. They taught with passion and enthusiasm, and they knew how to push a student to excel all the while providing guidance and support. As an instructor, it is not always easy to watch students struggle with the challenges inherent in the study of mathematics. But seeing students overcome these challenges is a constant source of inspiration for Matthew, not only in his teaching but also in his own research.

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