Though the degree, with a convocation etc is due, (or maybe it would be online like the rest of the submission) the doctoral degree was earned in 2020 itself (26th October 2020). And now comes the post-doctoral life. It means not necessarily a post-doctorate but life after the doctorate in which one has to re-write the dissertation for a wider audience in several different formats on diverse fora.
Mine is a complex piece of work to say the least- a confluence of five areas of knowledge. I did not even realize this until I sat down to make the final presentation for my viva. That there were major strands from psychiatry, social psychology, sociology, sociolinguistics and law only became clear on hindsight when I could look at the entirety of the dissertation in one shot. Phew! It was something very taxing and the end of the process also brought a burnout in its wake, which lasted for at least a few weeks of relative delirium and then a slow process of recovery, which was over by the end of the baleful year. What a painful year it has been- though not without gains for me personally.
Soon after I got involved with a submission- the first piece of my writing in counseling, and an effort in documenting the work I am doing in recovery-oriented counseling. It seems to be an interesting piece of writing and may amount to cutting edge research because peer- work is supposed to be the future of mental health according to latest research. I have documented a first article about my efforts at this exact work- not just as a lay researcher but as a specialist peer with a doctorate, not to mention a prolonged lived experience. I really hope the writing would be accepted for that is the hint I have got from one senior academic as well. I hope to soon write similar things, for other journals in mental health etc.
Symbolically too this has a lot of significance because this is the first real room that I constructed, including the design and everything else. It was a huge mess for many months and it is part of the reason I had the burnout because the noise was overpowering, and the bidi smoke of the people who worked for months! Nevertheless new things or new concepts take time -true in all domains. So the research is over and it has taken the better part of four years, the room is done which has taken the better part of four months and now it is more research which is steadily unfolding and a whole new life needs to be planned, planted and grown, once again- all over again. It is challenging, exciting, tiring and requires a huge amount of resources. But I take heart from the fact that when I set my heart at anything and go for it over a prolonged pathway, most of which appears only when I start walking, this too shall come in its own time. I can take heart from the PhD thesis which has received a lot of appreciation from the people who have read it until now (my supervisor and the three examiners only!) and the appreciation I got during the viva, or in fact even before at the pre-Ph.D. presentation. I am happy and relieved for a piece of work done thoroughly and to my satisfaction.
I am now looking at the next stage- the book stage, the gardening stage and the stage of using the room for whatever I have created it for- mostly like a little working space for me. I wanted to create a green zone around it and I have managed, though it would take a bit of financial muscle to transform it to the extent I want to, yet it is not bad at all- as one can see from the pictures below. I am at it and I know I will get somewhere.
And I think it is only when we try the impossible we get somewhere worthwhile at all. And it is worth trying for how long can one live in fears of the unknown- the limitless, expanding unknown! And while we transition in diverse domains, all of us as a family too, here is what the room above looks like today until I have the resources to make it further aligned with my sensibilities.