Monday, 26 November 2018

Finances, Mental Health and Academia - Guest Post by Lyra Swann

Many thanks to Lyra Swann for allowing us to post this thread that she tweeted two days ago. Lyra's twitter handle is @quantumofqueer, and you can find the original thread linked to above.   

Finances, Mental Health and Academia: A Thread

I've had a really difficult year. Severe depression. Marital breakdown. Several months' sick leave. Temporary homelessness. And despite all that, I finished my PhD.

Once my viva was done, I was free to apply for jobs. But I just didn't have the oomph. I was so utterly exhausted from the mangle I'd been through in the past year that I couldn't even begin a job search.

So I took on some university tutoring to pay the bills.

Turns out hourly paid tutoring *sucks*. The actual work itself is OK, tho tiring&repetitive. But it pays at £14/hr, and it's impossible to neatly fill a 40 hour week with it - there are always gaps between tutorials, and times when there's no teaching. And that means no money.

And then there are times when there's too much work, and I want to do all the hours I can because that way, I'll get enough money to live off, but I'm so damn tired that I can't do all the work, and then I berate myself for not earning enough.

And every time I go into a supermarket, all I see is 'too expensive too expensive too expensive'. Shopping takes so much energy, which is energy I don't have. Energy that I can't then put into job hunting.

The financial precarity wears me down. It panics me. It makes me less able to apply for jobs and less able to get out of this stinking situation.

This in turn makes it harder for me to look after my mental health. Which makes it harder to apply for jobs. Which means I keep working as a low paid tutor. Etc etc

I'm incredibly lucky. I have amazing friends and family supporting me. But what about those who don't have that support network? What about their stories?

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