my name is natalia. I am a Phd candidate at the radboud university nijmegen medical centre, nijmegen, the netherlands. in daily life, i do research in computational psychiatry. in free time, i go dancing, hiking, investing and blogging.

Happiness is not forever

I recently started seeing more and more of grey color around me. And that is never good. I remember the years when I was between 14 and 25 years old, and it was all that grey; just a neSo I started analyzing: what is happening? Where is this coming from? As always, it comes from a combination of a few factors. So, I started listing all the things what went wrong. First of all, despite being around people, I have a profound feeling of isolation. And this is not just an outcome of a fact that in this job, you need to sit in front of your computer for long hours every day but also of a fact that you struggle with any issues completely on your own. There is a lot of pressure, and a recipe for a disaster in case your project puts 100% focus on solving a problem that might just have no solution. In general, most PhDs have the same feeling of isolation, but the question is: where is the healthy boundary, and when to say stop. Especially if you have no private life at the same time. Furthermore, I am a landlady in my own household, which is a different relation than being just housemates to people: it is friendly but it is also much more formal, and you are not supposed to complain or confess about every single problem you have to the folks around you. The consequence is that wherever you go, even if you just go home, you have no intimacy at all.

Yet another issue is the fatigue coming from the bare fact that after living in a foreign country for five years, and still notice clear cultural differences that sometimes make my life miserable. I treat my time differently than the Dutch people, and my ways of approaching others are just different. Since I was emotionally involved in just one relationship before, I never managed to grow the skin thick enough for as ambivalent and uncertain relations with people as they are in the Dutch society. 

In addition to all of that, I am partially guilty for this bad mood by not taking enough care of myself. Not enough sleep, not enough laugh, not enough good food… and over the course of a few months, bad health is almost guaranteed.

I also started thinking of how my personal Maslow’s pyramid looks like. I figured that there are many more important needs to me than to be loved or even liked, than an abundance of good food or a comfortable bed. Being respected is an example. I also learned that happiness is not given forever. You can put yourself together and fool yourself that happy times are for good, but in fact, the feeling of happiness will vanish away with time if you do not take care of it properly. It is just like a plant that needs to be watered every day. This might sound like a truism, but somehow I keep on forgetting about it. Time to dance.

Luck

Going dark