Sofia Lindqvist

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How is mental illness in academia conceived of from the point of view of a PhD student? Is there help available? How are people who speak out about mental problems met in the academic community? How can one help break the stigma with one’s own actions?

These and many more interesting questions were touched upon on Saturday 17 April at 5 p.m. when Nyyti’s trainee Anastasia Lukina Macnab interviewed PhD student Mareike Paul about breaking the silence surrounding mental illness in academia.

Please see the recording of NyytiTalk IG 17 April: Breaking the silence: mental illness, academia and seeking help here or by clicking the picture below.

Length of the recording: 57 min.

The broadcast was related to Students’ Mental Health Day, which was celebrated on April 22. The theme of the campaign was inclusion and the right to help.

Please give us feedback on this NyytiTalk via this form.

 

 

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Text equivalent

Below you can read the text equivalent (transcription) of the NyytiTalk IG 17 April 2021: Breaking the silence: mental illness, academia and seeking help.

Speakers

Interviewer Anastasia Lukina Macnab
Respondent Mareike Paul

TRANSCRIPTION MARKINGS

wo- an unfinished word
(word) an uncertain passage in speech or an unrecognised speaker
(-) an unrecognisable word
(–) unrecognisable words
[pause 10 s] a pause in speech of at least 10 seconds
, . ? : a grammatically correct punctuation mark or a pause in speech of less than 10 seconds

Text equivalent of NyytiTalk IG

Mareike:

Hi.

Anastasia :

Hello Mareike. Hello, welcome.

Mareike:

Good to see you.

Anastasia:

Love (to see) you too. How are you today?

Mareike:

Good. Just a bit nervous. (laughs)

Anastasia:

Yes, I share that feeling. But, yeah, lovely to have you here with us.

Mareike:

Thank you for having me.

Anastasia:

Let me just do a final adjustment of this camera. I think this is just fine. So, hello everybody. On the behalf of Nyyti, welcome to this Instagram livetalk. Before we dive into anything, any topics, I would just like to announce that Nyyti’s content and everything we do is a- we use the safe space rules. So we do not tolerate any harassment, bullying or discrimination in the comments. So please be kind to each other. (And if) instance occur, we’re gonna first make a warning and then close the comments if such actions continue. That is, that is what we always do.

Anastasia:

But, so the topic of today’s livetalk is a very big and important one. It is called Breaking the Silence: Mental Illness, academia and seeking help. And as you all know, we are already one week into our Help Worthy, Avun Arvoinen campaign and it is nice to be here today to talk about this. So briefly about myself, I’m an intern in Nyyti, I work in a campaign team. My name is Anastasia and I study to be a social worker. And with us today we have our guest Mareike and would you please tell us and our viewers a couple words about you and what inspires you to be with us today?
Mareike: Yeah, hi. My name is Mareike and I’m really happy to be here today. I’m a PhD student at the University of Helsinki. And, well, normally I’m either in a lab or in front of my computer, or actually on the sea, because I’m studying (-) [0:02:36] science. So, yeah. But what inspires me to come to here today? About three years ago I was actually diagnosed with a mental illness, with a personality disorder and that was back in Germany, originally I’m from there. And that was kind of like in the middle-end of my master’s and that was quite a difficult time for me. But it was maybe the best thing that ever happened to me, that I found what was kind of (pressuring) me so much. Because I always felt like something was wrong with me, so. But then actually found out okay, nothing is actually wrong with me. But yeah, the more I was then confronted with this academic bubble, the more I actually then felt something like okay, but how will I ever fit like this? In this whole system. And yeah, it took me really many, many hours in my therapy, then I realised that it was actually, that was actually not a negative thing, it was actually like a good thing and just start to see the good aspects out of it. But I know how hard it is and so. I managed my master’s, because all of these like, good aspects of my personality.

Mareike:

And when I then got accepted for my PhD (-) [0:04:12] in Helsinki, I was thinking first to write about because I think it’s important, like it’s important thing to kind of share this hey, I have this illness but I’m still here and I can do things to prove, hey it’s possible, you don’t have this label on there. You’re still a human being with all your values and powers. And yeah, then I never wrote it (laughs), but then something else came up. It was just a normal PhD course, it was a conference presentation course and we could choose any topics. I was like hey, what about I just talk about this. Because I just really felt it had to be said. Then I did this with no warning at all, so kind of confront my whole course with it. I had such a good feedback. I was like okay, maybe I’ll just go one step further and I got a chance last year, in Spring, to go to the Netherlands for work project and then I also asked if I could give us a presentation and then I was invited in a research institute to give this presentation. That was then suddenly not in front of students, but in front of students and professors (chuckles)

Mareike:

So that’s quite a huge (-) [0:05:32] and I just again (confronted) with them and I think that was so important to have this kind of message out there. Yeah, then originally I wanted to continue with this like this, but you all know that corona came. It kind of crushed me as well that I couldn’t proceed the way I wanted to proceed. But then, you guys came from Nyyti, so I just like got to know you by incident actually, by accident. We have these corona sessions or webinars in University of Helsinki and one of your colleagues spoke about it, spoke about burnout and invited other people to join in. I was like, that’s my chance, and that’s what I did. So I’m here, basically giving my presentation in a different kind of (surrounding) and hopefully to help that I can reach out and help other people.

Anastasia:

Lovely. Thank you for this little introduction. So I guess today we should focus and talk really about what kind of, what is the situation with the psychological help which is available on the postgraduate educational level such as PhD. Because as I understood from our little chat before, it’s not very extensive. Could you tell a little bit about that?

Mareike:

Yeah. So, when I got here, I found out that there is no on-site counselling or psychological support for PhD students. Apparently there used to be, but it’s not there anymore and it’s like this, the contrast to what bachelor’s and master’s students get. That was so surprising to me, because I just think not only bachelor’s students or master’s students have problems, but also PhD students. Because we are all surrounded from this, by this often-hazardous environment and we all have to find our ways through it, and then why does it stop there? So there are options, so either we just can contact the departments or that if you’re lucky and you’re being employed by the university, you can reach out to occupation healthcare providers. But it’s a huge obstacle. Like I even had to go through (-) [0:08:08] also during corona times, I also had to just get a bit more advice again. And it was so much trouble for me, because I was thinking about the time back in Germany. I was like, it was just easy, I can do just do this. Of course I was also a student back then. But I just really noticed there’s so much more pressure there, so, yeah. I think especially now in these times it would be really good to have some easy ways to reach out. Because for example before I actually met you, I didn’t know as a PhD I could also contact you. Because usually everything is labelled as student and then you’re like, okay, what am I now? Can I still reach out?

Anastasia:

Right, yeah. I hear you. So you mentioned in your little introduction when you were talking about your story and having been diagnosed with a mental illness. You mentioned such a thing that in a way it actually helped you to get, to be good at your studies and to be good at what you do? Could you little bit elaborate what you meant by that as well?

Mareike:

Yeah. So first thing to me, it (felt) like that suddenly kind of everything made sense and I felt really relieved. But then on the other hand all these months of going through therapy I actually really got to know myself, because I often put myself behind this façade. I pretended everything was fine when it was not. And I did not understand like, why I was stressed about certain things. And yeah. So in that sense, that was something that really made me realise like, what are the things I’m good at and what are the things that stress me. And even those things, I learned how to deal with them in a way that is healthy but not having this kind of, I don’t know, overachieving or punishing yourself for not reaching the goal. Setting your goals lower. I’m very perfectionist, so I actually I had to learn to be less perfect and doing that it in an environment like this, it is tough. But I can say it is possible. Of course when you have the right, when you can get your own right help.

Anastasia:

Yeah. I think this is a really important insight what you just shared, that actually getting to know yourself when you seek help allows to kind of like reap so much benefit from that as well in feeling better and feeling that you can do whatever you set out to do for yourself. Right? Yeah. But. Could you tell a little bit about what, like, we are talking about the mental illness in academia today I guess for the reason because it is not much talked about and also because there is a certain stigma around this topic in academia. What do you think about this and kind of like, what role you think we, me and you doing this whole talk, what role are we playing in this process in this situation?

Mareike:

Yeah, so what I learned over the course of the two years is that yes, even though mental illnesses are more discussed in general public, it’s still really problematic to talk or to speak up. You have the feeling that you must be afraid to actually speak about it. Because often when I told people that I’m doing this, they were like yeah, that’s so great, but it’s so brave of you at the same time. Every time I’m like, why does it have to be brave? Why can’t it just be like we are talking about the weather? Because with you always think that something bad might happen, and I get that. Because we all know this, I guess this saying like publish or perish. I think the first time I heard this probably already doing my (-) [0:12:58], kind of being hunted by it. And I can really see this in people’s eyes when I talk to them and also privately afterwards that they’re really afraid. And that’s of course not good, and I think they’re also afraid because they think they are alone and they think their voice doesn’t count. That their problem is maybe not important enough. And that’s something I would like to encourage that we all kind of (going) in and stick together. I think the bigger the crowder, the more people actually gonna listen and also to really give us the room and give us the space talk about this. But I think that’s like another issue actually in academia because it is so (pressurised), it’s always about moving forward, high expectations, being perfect, deadlines (-) [0:13:49]. I mean, just now I heard from somebody that, well, paper got back just for the last edit, and (he) was like why I have to do this now, in 48 hours, this message came yesterday. And I’m like, okay, over the weekend. But this of course comes from (journals) as well, so. I think you can also really avoid most of these things, but it’s no surprise many of us really feel so pressurised and feeding this kind of hopelessness in there.

Anastasia:

Just wondering how can we take the pressure down a bit? What we could change that students in PhD would feel like they are more seen and that there is help available and they can feel less stressed about it.

Mareike:

Well, for one thing, we already spoke about this was this kind of infrastructure of help. That’s one thing. The other thing would be to have a bit more flexibility, that it’s not so rigid like okay, you must do this because it is in the requirements. That it’s more open and you can say, hey I have problems and (all) with giving presentations because I’m afraid to talk in front of people, (-) [0:15:25] actually what I have for most of my life. (laughs)

Mareike:

But it’s really difficult. So that would be like to kind of grant this to people. And then also, where I had, where I must really say I was really lucky because I know many people don’t have this, is (-) [0:15:44] to talk to your supervisors. And get the room that you’re being listened and that you are seen as a person, like the whole picture, because some of the things are described as my illness, are actually personality traits that actually make me so successful. So (-) [0:16:10 audio issue] these things are seen as a positive thing and I think the more these positive things are being known as, being recognized by other people, the more you actually feel safe and content. Because if you often say like, you can not do this, you can never do a job. Then of course whatever you achieve in that sense, so, yeah. I think this is also something that comes from the outside but in order to be listened, you also have to get up there. And I don’t want like, if you’re having problems, I don’t want you to go write to your supervisor or something because I know that not all of them have this kind of emotional link to this. So just, yeah, talk with somebody you feel comfortable with. It doesn’t have to (first time), it could be somebody you’re just joining in today, because obviously you have the same interest or (confront) the same reason. So, yeah. In order to that something can change, you also get up and actually say hey, I’m not fine and this is why. That you also say like hey, this is what I need. But in order to what you need you actually have to really get into yourself and really find out who am I, who do I wanna be and yeah and how can I achieve this.

Anastasia:

Yeah, this seems like a really proactive. Like instead of reactive, taking a proactive approach into working with the stigma and reducing (-) [0:17:49 audio issue] right. Even on our behalf.

Mareike:

Yeah.

Anastasia:

Super interesting.

Mareike:

Maybe I can add on this. One quick thing. (-) [0:18:05] With this whole stigma thing, I think we all have it in our heads. Either we, I don’t know (grow up) with this or we already learned it in school or then in university, (it’s that) we all have it because otherwise you wouldn’t think that something negative would actually happen out of it. That you already think okay, I’m not good enough because of this, this and this. And in order to just overcome this, yeah, I’ve (follow-up) this approach to then, go and get up there, talk about it. Because this is a way you take the power to yourself and that you take the wind out of other people’s sails.

Anastasia:

(-) [0:18:45 audio issue]

Mareike:

Then it’s really like in your hand and then just, use it.

Anastasia:

Hmm. I guess yeah, this gives me shivers but I get what you just said. It is a really powerful message and I hope as many people as possible hear this. But I wanted to ask like, I think many of us, many people who have mental illness or mental challenges, like a wide range of mental issues, I think that many people withdraw from speaking up in fear or frustration that they will get judged or belittled on that basis. And also maybe somebody has already tried to do it and then-

[0:19:41 – 20:03 quiet]

Anastasia:

and when they faced that misunderstanding because it’s a very sensitive topic, I think many people kind of like go back into their little shell. I’m just wondering, how can we be mindful but active about being open about these topics? Do you get my question?

Mareike:

Yeah. I completely get your point and I’m really aware of this. It was not that I was from the first moment like okay, screw this, I’m just gonna do it. Of course I was also thinking about it. But yeah. What kind of kept me bit more going was this kind of way how I see myself, like if somebody is gonna judge me for this, then this is not the environment I wanna be in. This again, is another pretty big statement and I understand not everybody can follow this because also of your personal situation. So my advice would actually be being honest to yourself first and then talk to people you trust. Because to me it already felt really good to at least be able to somebody who understands me, not to like who judges me and makes me down. Because that would not be the right thing. And if you see, hey, I can’t talk with this person, because either person doesn’t understand, then see okay, is there somebody else I can talk to? Who maybe shares similar experience. What I also noticed doing my- the last few years was that I (meet) way more people than I expected, but it also actually really fits in the statistics, basically. You at least meet once in your life somebody with mental struggles and already right now (we’re) already coming together, so it’s already pressing this. In order not to get frustrated, it’s really to really recognise that who can I trust, who is my person.

Anastasia:

Right. So, so practically trying to be mindful about it but at the same time willing to the talking as well. Right?

Mareike:

Yeah.

Anastasia:

(-) [0:03:25] we have to speak as well. But could you tell a little bit, I guess you have, as you said you’ve presented multiple times in front of a crowd of people about mental illness. Was there, basically how was your expectation and reality, how did they correlate? What kind of emotions did you see in people and what kind of response did you get?

Mareike:

Yeah, if I just think about the first time I presented. This was like a class of maybe ten students. And in the end they were all pretty impressed, so again, I also heard this yeah, you’re so brave and it’s really important that you talk about this, so it was really like, wow (we) didn’t expect this. So this was mostly what I got. And I also got at this research institute, I couldn’t really see so much in the people’s eyes, but the way I actually presented it was not that I only talked full-time, actually included them actually, made the statistics visible, that people actually realise that. Afterwards I spoke with some people and of course like shared again their frustration about their experience. Yeah, but, (I guess that) already answers your question. Yeah, it’s mostly that people are impressed but I still see the fear in people.

Anastasia:

Yeah, I guess still there was more understanding and more empathy than you would expect right? In the beginning.

Mareike:

It was more that, yeah, definitely. I mean, I was always like okay, anything could happen but also thinking like the people who don’t wanna listen to this, they can leave. You don’t even have to join, I’m here to give those people hope or a voice, who also maybe don’t feel like they have the power to speak up. That I can just move something, also to support people who say hey, I’m too afraid to do this. But if somebody is there, it would (personally), that would already give me hope that it’s not like a dead end. (-) [0:06:02] might not be a change tomorrow, maybe not in a week, but maybe in a few years that things have finally changed and you have to hide behind your façade. And yeah.

Anastasia:

So I guess, well. It’s really nice to hear about those experiences and I’m really proud of you for doing that work. It’s just incredible how, when we actually start opening up about things, there’s so much more understanding towards than we would expect.

Mareike:

Again, it’s stigmas that we think, that we already expect that it’s so negative. I actually heard just from somebody I know who is also in academia. The person also after struggling so much, and then meeting all other colleagues, who had similar struggles, then also started to talk about it. And finally sought help. They’re feeling better now with this and now I’m actually (giving you) goosebumps here. Because these are the stories that touch me and keep me going, because I know what I’m doing, what we’re here trying to do, is to reach out. Hey, we are here, we are people, we wanna be treated the way we are, yeah, we should be treated.

Anastasia:

Right. I just had this thought and wanted to ask you. So on postgraduate level of education, I guess your work flows very independent. Do you think for example if somebody’s struggling with a mental illness, could it be that sometimes even a slight changes in the workspace or in the like, (quite slight) changes can actually cause positive effect already on that person’s everyday life.

Mareike:

Definitely. I mean, I think what we all have noticed over the course of the last year, is that we all seek for some structure, for some reliability. And this was already before corona like this, that it is really important to have this kind of structure. Because as you said, we are much more independent, yes, here and there we have courses and some (deadline) (-) [0:08:50], but otherwise it’s really setting your own deadlines can be really problematic. And then having this, maybe not a fixed workspace for example. Like I also sit in technically not a fixed workspace, I’m sure (it’s open) (–) [0:09:11] and then technically rule is like, first come first serve. But this is not really giving us security. So we actually fought for it, that we could actually have our space, because hey, we actually work better if we come here in the morning and we don’t have to worry about that our desk is taken.

Mareike:

Nobody would actually come here, okay today I’m gonna work here and next I’m gonna at another site. Nobody does that, because we all think, we all need this kind of stability and security. So in my opinion and also what I’ve heard from many other people I’ve met over the way, is that they say hey, it’s the work environment or the environment in general that really affects us. So there would already be small changes, could be workspace. It could also be like how things are arranged with your studies or how you set things up. (-) [0:10:10]

Mareike:

That you can kind of say okay, this is, this type of environment, this type of structure, this type of courses would help me to reach my goal and (tune) more forward. To take away just unnecessary stress, because it does mean even like, if you have a mental illness, doesn’t mean that you can’t deal with stress.

Anastasia:

Of course.

Mareike:

It just (-) [0:10:35] type of stress. For me it’s always when it’s like, so yeah, I (always call it) this unnecessary stress. Like these tiny things that go wrong during you, where other people would be like okay why I would stress right now. These are the things that stress, but otherwise I consider my task (-) [0:10:53]

Anastasia:

Yeah, but I guess doing that it requires actually being quite aware of what kind of workspace, what kind of work flow, works for you, right?

Mareike:

(-) [0:11:06 overlapping speech]

Anastasia:

How did you come to understand for example these things for yourself?

Mareike:

Yeah, I tested usually. Because also during corona I really had to, because everything I learned in my therapy was just gone. So then I had to find a new way to adjust to this. Yeah, to see okay, I cannot go to the university every day but working from home also doesn’t really work for me. What else could I do? Then I was thinking about like, how did I do it, I don’t know, back in Germany during my master’s? Back then often worked in the university cafeteria. Other people would be like why would you work there, but for me it was kind of comforting this kind of background noise. So I was like, okay I need background noises. So then I actually started to work when it possible in a safe space, environment, in a café actually. I spoke with my supervisor (-) [0:12:07 audio issue] it was fine, because if it helped me, it was also an advantage for the project, for everything else. But I’m just testing it. It doesn’t mean that I don’t go for this kind of negative phases, where I just, when I stop everything. It also happens to me, but it’s just kind of way then how to deal with and how to go through it. And it actually really helps to talk with my friends about this, to kind of say, hey this now really sucks. Sometimes they even remind of this, that hey wait a second, this was actually in the past, why don’t you try this.

Mareike:

So this is another I could say, like, sometimes it’s little things. They don’t necessarily have to help with your mental illness, because they can’t, I mean they’re not psychologists nor are your peers. But this little help, just a small understanding.

Anastasia:

That’s a nice tip, to sort of like think back to time that sometime worked and try analyse like what were the, what was it made up of (-) [0:13:15 audio issue].

Mareike:

Because technically we all know like, deep inside us, what are actually the ways that we usually we forget about it during our like workday. Because then we just think (-) [0:13:28] okay, tomorrow I have to publish this or then I have this deadline, I have to finish this course and you don’t really think about what are the things that work for me. Taking a break from all of this is really, really important, because this is actually when your brain actually thinks about stuff.

Anastasia:

Yeah.

Mareike:

And not when you constantly focus on this. So this is another thing that helps me. Just taking a break. Granting yourself just kind of the rest. Granting to be lazy. This is –

Anastasia:

Yeah. I keep (-) [0:14:04] this topic of like knowing yourself and knowing things that work for you. They’re kind of like a red line throughout (-) [0:14:11 audio issue] and pretty much they lay the groundwork for the bigger changes to occur, right.

Mareike:

Yeah.

Anastasia:

Yeah. Did you have any thoughts come up during what were talking about today, little bit excited and lost. What to bring up next? This is a very vast topic, very important topic. Maybe I would like to ask you more about the, like you mentioned earlier that it was important and surprising for you to connect with your supervisor about mental challenges. So, yeah, at the moment in the academic field, for example in Helsinki, do you feel like it’s becoming more and more kind of like available, this sort of connection? Or is it still quite rigid and it’s just the lucky few that get to connect with their supervisors on this topic?

Mareike:

Yeah, it’s a difficult question. So I think I mentioned before that I was quite lucky. I’m genuinely quite like, thanks to my mental illness, I’m really good at sensing people’s emotion in that sense. It sounds a bit weird. But it’s just really like, I can see with whom I can get along and who not. I would’ve not actually moved here had I not felt this in the beginning. For me was already clear to speak (-) [0:16:09], because I actually wanted to avoid the situation in future, that it could cause a problem. So that would be again coming back to what we spoke earlier, to finding out what is important to you. In that sense I was lucky. Yeah. It’s really difficult to say because of course I know other people have other supervisors or situations, they would not speak up. (-) [0:16:40 audio issue]

Mareike:

But I also know people who spoke up and who also had this kind of more positive feedback. But overall of course, when I mentioned this, I still didn’t expect this. I actually did not expect the answer I got or the response I got. I did not expect, this yeah, but everything you mention me right now sounds more like an asset not like a problem. And I was like, okay, that was not the way I was, this was really something that (boosted) me even more. But yeah, maybe in that sense, I don’t know who else is watching, but that would be like another message out there, yeah see the person behind there. And basically seeing (-) [0:17:35] because the fact that you’re doing a PhD must actually mean that you achieve something, that you’re not a failure as you might think in your head. You’re not. So, yeah. I think it’s really hard to just generalise, okay yeah, we don’t have this (-) [0:17:58] because I think it’s not very easy and it’s such a personal topic. It’s really difficult to answer. Sorry if it’s not really- (laughs)

Anastasia:

Everything you share, I think, everything is absolutely useful. I hope that our viewers or listeners take this inspiration with them and explore what’s out there for them and think a bit like what would work for me. And try to mindful go get it.

Mareike:

I think it’s really important to keep up this communication. Because (I) also have this every day. You only know what you really need, so you can’t really expect from your supervisor or somebody else, can also be your friend, like what is actually going on and what you actually need. I think it’s really important to keep up this kind of a conversation to have like, this causing a problem and how can we deal with it. That’s what also helping me every single day.

Anastasia:

Right. Thank you. I think also your story inspires us all to actually we are struggling with something, to seek help, right? Because in that process, when you seek help, you get the chance to know yourself better and to understand what are you needs. Sometimes it’s hard to say what you need. (It’s) just obvious something is not working, but we couldn’t quite put a finger on what’s not quite right, you know what I mean. That’s also one reason why we are doing this whole campaign. We’re encouraging people to reflect on the actual impact of openness and sharing. Yeah, in our campaign we’re encouraging people to share their stories of seeking help and speaking up about mental health and mental illness.

Mareike:

Very important what you’re doing.

Anastasia:

Yeah. If we can dream a little and let ourselves just imagine anything. If we imagine if academia was a bit more a soft space for people with mental illness, how would it look like, do you think? If there was more flexibility and more you know-

Mareike:

Yeah. I think if it would be more soft space, I think it wouldn’t only affect the people who already have a condition. It would also affect, would actually prevent that people actually any mental illness or have a mental problem. If we talk for example about depression, depression-exhaustion, normally known as burnout. I think we could actually avoid this. As I said before, it’s not only the university, who is in this system. But it’s also like journals’ publishers, who also cause this extra pressure there. So I think in the end, we can also only think what would actually work. What can we immediately change in our space, because not everything that might work here is gonna work in a different country.

Mareike:

Because it’s a different culture as well. I think in that sense it would maybe be good give us a voice, that I mean the university is already doing more of this kind of polls, like about well-being, but often kind of miss this like- eh. Yeah, really to ask hey, what would actually help you? Because I think in the end you should focus on yourself, what would actually help yourself, because if everybody does that, then everybody is feeling better. Everything around, yeah, it’s difficult to change everything at once. But if you already change the fact that you think about okay, I am (-) [0:22:54] the way I am and if I’m being granted this kind of work environment and I can feel better, then it’s also positive for your project. For the university, in the end.

Mareike:

Question I’m always wondering is like, why is it like this? Because the way it is, it’s pressuring people and it’s burning out people. Then in the end they can’t work. Like we all wanna work. So let us be and not take away from us workspaces. Don’t take away from us this kind of structure. Let us actually say what kind of structure we need, because is different. What might work for me, it might not work for somebody else. I mean, somebody is like okay, working from home is perfect for me. Other say okay, I can’t really do this. (Grant) more of this, because I think the pressure also right now is really high, people are like okay, I will never be granted that I can actually work also in a university for example.

Anastasia:

Yeah. Super inte- and, yeah. I do believe that through raising awareness about this and through us all being more open and mindful about mental difficulties. I do believe that it works like a domino effect after all. It might take a little bit longer than we might want, but the change is on the way.

Mareike:

It is a very long process. So that’s something what we all have to keep in mind. Even though, like seeing everything is great and I’m happy and so on, it doesn’t mean that I also (haven’t) these ups and downs. It’s actually important to have these downs, because then you also get to know a little bit more about yourself. It’s, yeah, I think it’s important say okay, this is not a quick fix. We’re not gonna have a solution by tomorrow. If we are working together, this is for one that we speak up, we ask for help, and like I said, doesn’t have to be already on your professional level. (-) [0:25:32 overlapping speech] just your friends, your families. The one where you feel it’s the lowest threshold.

Anastasia:

Yeah.

Mareike:

Or a diary. Sometimes writing things down makes things real. That makes your thought real. That’s also really something, being honest about yourself with yourself. So these are the small things. (–) [0:25:56 overlapping speech]

Mareike:

I think yeah, hopefully a (common) point.

Anastasia:

For sure. Such lovely insights what I get today. Thank you for sharing all this. I’m sure that the message will fly far and wide.

Mareike:

(Hopefully).

Anastasia:

Yeah. How do you feel about this whole live talk thingy today at this point?

Mareike:

(laughs) I was super nervous, but now I’m okay. But I knew I’m gonna be okay. So yeah. I think it’s great and I must really be honest, because whole last year people told me like what about you write a blog or you write something on Instagram. Until we decided to this I never had Instagram actually. So this for me like a complete (-) [0:26:55] until recently, in another course again, I spoke with complete strangers. I just spoke about this issue, hey I wanna talk about this but I don’t really know what is the best medium to do this. They said like why don’t you just like use Instagram or something. I was like wow, because I was like, yeah I could reach so many people while standing on the stage and have fun (-) [0:27:17]. (-) was like but yeah, maybe first you might actually reach more people. And secondly about the number of people reach you reach, but it’s just the people you can actually reach. That is so important. Those, they can give the message further, that you could inspire to get help. That was so inspiring, that message, I think really needed that. In that sense I would thank now those people who gave me that advice. That was the best advice I’ve received in a lot of time. So, yeah, I think it’s great. I also feel comfortable with it.

Anastasia:

Well, it only took us 45 minutes to get comfortable with it. Me too- (-) [0:28:05 overlapping sounds]

Mareike:

(laughs)

Anastasia:

Great stuff really. Thank you for sharing your stories and your insights on this topic. Thank you for being yourself. I was thinking maybe just to wrap it up, unless you also wanna propose something, say something on your own terms.

Mareike:

If there are any messages or comments or questions, maybe we can (-) [0:28:36] (go for that) cause I don’t wanna-

Anastasia :

Yeah, there’s no questions. There is a lovely comment that: I love the thingy you’re doing right now, keep on doing the great work. Thank you very much. This goes for your Mareike, for sure. And there is one comment as well that it’s very hard to ask for help. And it is so.

Mareike:

It is so, yeah. And it was also for me. But I really started little talking with my, actually hid it for a while. And when it really wasn’t possible anymore, it (was) actually my family, it’s usually the closest. And then (-) [0:29:29] another friend, who has a similar condition. It built it slowly, so I didn’t come from one day to the other, so. Take your time, as well. Don’t also feel pressurised by other people saying this, okay now do this, it’s really im-

Anastasia:

Yeah.

Mareike:

Take your time.

Anastasia:

Thank you for all the love in the comments. Sending virtual hug for you all. I was just, I just had an idea to have a quick, really brief wrap-up together. If we could crystalize all the tips, tricks, wisdom and insights from today’s conversation.

Anastasia:

Yeah. Like I said before I feel like being mindful and taking your time, like going forward but realising what speed suits with going forward. Starting small, but starting somewhere as well, with seeking help. I guess that’s what I heard a lot in our convers-

Mareike:

Yeah. Getting to know yourself, trying to understand yourself. Knowing what you need.

Anastasia:

Right, and knowing what you need in also regarding your work environment, regarding your scheduling and generally lifestyle, right?

Mareike:

Yeah.

Anastasia:

What else was there?

Mareike:

Hmm.

Anastasia:

Oh yeah, I think those are (already) really big things. If we manage those, I think we- (-) [0:31:15 audio issue] good start.

Mareike:

Yeah.

Anastasia:

Oh and yes, that was one insight that you really gave me. That as you progressed, you still have the ups and downs. So when you go down again, it doesn’t mean that you’re like back to point zero.

Mareike:

Yeah. You’re not (-) [0:31:35], it’s only a step, also forward. And you also need this kind of steps, because those moments actually make me realise, firstly maybe I still have to work on this or I just have to remind myself on this that it’s just a negative thought in my head and it’s not something actually negative, so. Yeah. But this again, (is) things I learned through my therapy. Things that I’m still trying to remember. So, yeah.

Anastasia:

I guess it’s a big, beautiful full stop maybe in our today’s talk, that it’s totally okay to ask for help. And it opens up a world of knowing and the world of change for our lives to the better. Yeah.

Anastasia:

So, dear listeners, viewers, is there any questions? We haven’t received any questions in the question box, but maybe we could answer something. Maybe we were just so self-explanatory that there’s no questions.

Anastasia:

Well, yeah. I feel really nice about this talk. I’m really thankful to this opportunity to be here today from behalf of Nyyti. And have you Mareike with us.

Mareike:

Yeah, well, thanks again that you make the possible, that you have this platform. I think it’s really important that you started this Instagram Live. Because as I heard this (is) also a new thing that you’re having.

Anastasia:

Yes, yes. Nyyti Talk used to be, these conversations, they used to be recorded and then put online in video format. But now, yeah, we’re doing it live. And let’s see, I think it brings a lot of new, freshness into (-) [0:33:55 audio issue]

Mareike:

Yeah.

Anastasia:

Yeah but I think it’s been 50 minutes. Everybody (–) [0:34:03 audio issue]

Mareike:

Yeah, I talk too much usually. (laughs)

Anastasia:

This (–) [0:34:09 audio or connection issue] exactly the place for that. I think we just wish everybody a lovely Saturday evening and a restful Sunday. Yeah. Thank you so much for joining me today, Mareike.

Mareike:

Yeah, well, (again) thank you for having me and thank you for everybody who was listening today.

Anastasia:

Everybody take care of yourselves, seek help if you need. You’re not alone.

Mareike:

No, we are not. (chuckles)

Anastasia:

Bye bye, everbody.

Mareike:

Thank you.

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