My personal experience of a panic attack

6 minute read


In November 2018, It was probably the first time in my life that I am consciously aware I suffered an episode of panic attack. This was not just simple self diagnostic that I search through the internet, although initially I did search up for symptoms about it but later I did had a confirmation of it when I had a consulation sessions with the university conselling service.

When I first consciously realised that I myself had suffered from a panic attack, I was in the state of disbelieve for that whole evening. That episode of panic attack of mine lasted for 2 hours and I remember that evening, because of my realisation, I could not bring myself to term with it myself and had a difficult time sleeping. That state of disbelieving was partly because I knew myself to be of a person that is rational and calm in tense situations. I do get nervous in big moments in life such as taking a big example or taking the first step of going abroad to study alone but those moment does get me pump up and excited.

Experiencing that was truely an life changing experience of me as I come to term myself that I need help and that sometime bull myself through difficult situation is not probably the best decision. From my consulation with the university counsellor, he concluded that this episode of panic attack of mine is probably a one off event due to the immense stress I faced and difficult relationship I have with my supervisor. At the end of that counselling sessions, the counsellor could only apologies for this terrible experiece i have here as a graduate student. I am not going to lie that I was expecting some changes could be done regarding my situation but the rationally I knew very well that there is little what I can do about it. Though during that sessions, I did talk about my current plans and what I would do when the time is up for my scholarship.

My current plan is that until September 2019, I would do my research work as usual and would work my hardest to realised the research goal of my current “advisor”. Though there is one aspect I knew very well is that this work I done, I would probably not get any recognition for it. When the scholarship term is up, I would make the decision to leave and not to continue this research project even there is an option for me to do so like my seniors where they took an industry job while finishing their Phd. One of the reason I decided to do so is that my “advisor” has no interest in supervising my with the end goal of me obtaining a Phd degree. This is very apparent to me when I applied for a JSPS DC2 fellowship last year.

Last year when I applied for the JSPS fellowship, I had to ask this current “advisor” of mine to be a referee for me(well that is the most obvious choice I could make). This was a litmus test for me to know whether this professor is interested in me staying beyond my MEXT scholarship as we both knew that I would not be able to complete the Phd thesis within the term of this scholarship as the effort and resources to do so is constraint. If he really want me to help him succeed this research project of developing a bolometer here at Osaka university, It would be the best interest of him to help me maximise my chance of obtaining this JSPS fellowship as it would allow me an additional of 1.5 years after the term of my current schoarship. One of the thing I asked him to do was to proofread my application beside writing the referee letter. To give him the time he needed as I knew he was “busy”, I send the draft application to him a month before the deadline which is way early than most of my peers did. I did this knowing the fact very well, I had to give him the maximum amount of time available so he could proofread my application. Yet, in that one month, He only send in the referee letter the day before the deadline and not a single comment about my draft application. It was evident to me that it was not his interest for me to stay and help him complete this research project of his. I would not use my personal saving to pay my living expenses and probably the tuition fee beyond the scholarship term as that would be way too much of a sacrifices of me for a person that is not willing to reciprocate my effort.

When is too much is too much?

Since he was not willing to invest in me, I see no reason for me to sacrifices more than beyond I should do. Therefore I have told myself that I would try to get this research project succeed or working as soon as possible as I would love to be able publish the research result despite the hurdles I faced due to the lack of resources. The funny thing from that JSPS fellowship application, at the end I had to ask my colleague to proofread for me and even a random stranger from reddit that willing to help me proofread my application. That shows how absurb the effort I had to find and go through when my own advisor does not even play the role of an advisor.