How do you Stay Focus? (Request for help)

I know that divorce is painful, and healing takes time, but I need to work. I need to be able to focus on my research without thinking about M. I need to be able to say to my brain: “Enough! I get it, you are sad, get over it!”. Right now I have a 20% success rate, and it needs to be more like 90%. How can I get there? What do I do to stay focus?

It is such a struggle to move forward (and I know this journey just began). Sometimes I sit at work, in front of a blank page trying to write or read and I can’t. All that I can manage is to spend another 4 hours reading forums and comments (and Facebook) and remembering just how sad I am. The first few weeks I had a lot of lab work pending, from having left to go home to my family, but now I’m mostly done with that. I have finished a big section of my “doing” workload, and the next logical step is my “thinking” work load. Right now I don’t have any teaching obligations and I’m only taking one class. We have a grant that’s paying my salary and this is supposed to be the most productive time of my PhD. However, all this “free” time that I’m supposed to be using to read scientific papers or write my results and work on my dissertation, ends up being spent ruminating about the past.

Most of my work can be postponed, and my adviser – who is one of the most wonderful people I know- has been very understanding. But that would mean wasting this great opportunity I have (no teaching, barely any classes). I can’t let this situation with M. delay my graduation date (currently set for May 2018) or mess with my long term career goals. I need to be able to do this, and do this well. M. was important, he was a big part of my life, and actually a big part of my academic support network. But M. never helped me to finish assignments or think about my research (he is not even a scientist, so most of it goes right over his head). I can’t wait until I’m not in love with M. and have actually moved on to be productive again. I’ve already enlisted the help of one of my classmates to work on my only class (that’s about 10% of my workload). Knowing somebody is counting on me and I have time set aside for them will help. Now, I just need to tackle reading and writing.

The blogosphere has been quite amazing in making me feel not so lonely, and telling me that things will get better. Now I would really appreciate some ideas / coping mechanisms / tricks to allow me to get some work done. I’m willing to try anything.

Thank you,



5 thoughts on “How do you Stay Focus? (Request for help)

  1. I don’t think there’s an easy answer or a magic bullet here. My productivity at work probably dropped to about 10%, and almost 3 years later it’s still not where it was. In those early days the only time my mind wasn’t going crazy was when I was at the gym. Thankfully my work was close enough to a gym that I could go at lunch, and that release valve allowed me to have some productivity in the early afternoon.

    My only real recommendation – try not to focus on what happened or why it happened. The ONLY thing you have control over is yourself. The choices you make, and how you move forward. Trying to get into the head of your partner and understand what they did or why is wasted effort. You never will understand. Trying to do so only leaves you trapped in the past.

    Of course that’s easier said than done, but over time it does get better.

    Best of luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ugh. I was plagued with thoughts on a constant basis for several months. Then it got better. But I focused on finding ways to get to know and better myself. You are on the right path. Go through the emotions. There is no other way around it, unfortunately. Face it head on and feel it now so it doesn’t haunt you later. Honor your emotions, my therapist tells me, and let it go. Xoxo


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