Take 5 – Time to Talk

Inspired by today’s #TimetoTalk campaign by the mental health charity, Mind; I’m taking 5 (or a few more) to talk about my mental health, and encourage you to think about yours.

In the last year you’ve seen me do quite well.

I became an advocate for mental health issues in academia, particularly amongst Ph.D students.

My work was the most read blog of 2014 on the Guardian Higher Education Network.

My blog inspired a larger series, which was nominated for a Mind Award.

I was invited to speak in The Ph.D Survival video by Angel Productions, which is marketed to university graduate support centres all over the country.

What we haven’t talked about is how I’ve been.

I didn’t talk about how crushed I was when my colleagues didn’t share my joy at my achievements.

I didn’t talk about the self-doubt that started to set-in when a senior member of my team told me that I shouldn’t be doing what I was doing.

I didn’t talk about the numbness I felt, when the University refused to affiliate themselves with my “controversial” efforts.

I didn’t talk about how these feelings spread across my whole working life, and how hard it became to feel happy and proud about the good things I had done.

I didn’t talk about the counselling and group therapy I had to have in order to realise that the source of the problem wasn’t me.


At the bottom of the mood trough, my will to write just went away and the blog went quiet.

But now it’s Time to Talk.


The most recent half of the last year has been about *the best possible me*.

Springboard has helped me to evaluate my past, deal with my emotions and move on to better things, or at least, start to.

With the necessity of jobhunting has come the opportunity to recognise my achievements and practice feeling good about them. The act of writing a skills CV has helped me to transfer myself mentally out of a pigeonhole. I see myself more as a whole now than I ever have, and I realise how precious I am. I have identified the qualities that make me me, and I am working to find a place where they will be accepted and nourished.

When I achieve something, I deserve to shout it from the rooftops, and the right people will be shouting there with me.

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About nicolajrolfe

Dr. Nicola J. Rolfe is currently looking for her next opportunity to make a big splash in East Kent industry.
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2 Responses to Take 5 – Time to Talk

  1. Hi Nicola, I found your blog through facebook (Madeline shared it) – dunno if you remember me from school?! I just wanted to say thank you for the awesome work you’re doing. I personally have suffered depression and anxiety over the past few years, and my husband has just finished his phd so we know how difficult that can be. I’m hoping to have a career change soon into the mental health field and do what I can to use my experience to help others. Thank you for talking about this stuff and I’m glad you’re doing well x

    • nicolajrolfe says:

      Hi Elaine, yes I remember you. Thank you so much for getting in touch, I think it’s an important part of ending the stigma around mental health. Congratulations to you and to your husband, sounds like you’re at the start of exciting times! I hope everything is up up up from here on, but if it isn’t, you know where I am and it’d be an honour to help in any way I can.

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