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I Might Do Something Unethical and I Would Appreciate Advice.

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#1
Here is my situation. I have longstanding mental health issues. Depression, anxiety. I have attempted suicide more than once, and failed. I am also very smart, objectively (IQ and otherwise), and in my third year of a PhD program. However, there is absolutely no hope for me in academia. In my area, algebraic geometry, there are at most 4 tenure-track positions each year in my entire country, Canada. The ivy league universities produce far more than the number of TT positions in both Canada and the US, in ALL OF MATHEMATICS, that are open each year. A good percentage of these students will have Fields medalists as advisors. I was not able to work for 8 months of my program before I took medical leave. My thesis will be absolute shit if completed. People might ask: "have you even considered teaching at a college?" The answer is that those jobs are all shit, with no security, paying less than minimum wage-always below a living wage calculated at 40 hours a week- in many cases and usually, in Canada, located in an area of the world that is frozen 6 months of the year and lacking even basic medical facilities, like a Hospital. Under such circumstances, I could not, in some provinces including the one I reside in, pay for rent, food, or medical insurance that would include psychiatrists, let alone psychologists/therapists. The premiere of my country is a literal lassiz-faire capitalist doing everything he can to eliminate or severely limit any kind of public service-including those that the people who voted for him likely depend on, having fallen to right populist rhetoric.

Here is the questionable thing that I would do. I would come back for a single week of the winter semester to receive the rest of a government student loan. This money I would obviously use to pay my rent, pay medical bills (that the government should be paying for anyways), as well as save for a move across the country 7 months later to enter a professional masters degree program in computer science.

If I stay in my program, I will eventually have another breakdown and will likely attempt suicide either while enrolled or upon graduation. If I leave my program before completing the maneuver mentioned above, I will be unable to pay for basic medical services that I in fact need.

What do people think of this?
 

Hadoblado

think again losers
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#2
I think that such an act would be ethically wrong, but I also think ethical lifestyle is a luxury afforded to those who aren't desperate. Most good people would do shitty things if pushed far enough. This thing you propose (as far as I'm aware) is not that bad of a thing.

In your position I'd do the shitty thing. I believe most people would even if they might pretend otherwise. It doesn't sound like you're doing it lightly either.
 

QuickTwist

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#3
Take up art. You need to express yourself. If you are smart, you will be able to do this.
 
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#4
I was once playing music at a professional level (jazz guitar) but I can’t possibly get back to that level in my state, financial and otherwise.
 

QuickTwist

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#5
I was once playing music at a professional level (jazz guitar) but I can’t possibly get back to that level in my state, financial and otherwise.
I didn't say be "good" at art, I said to immerse yourself in it. As a therapeutical kind of way. Don't worry about how much money you will make doing it. Just pick some way to express yourself skillfully and go down that route.

I know I am nowhere near as smart as you are, but I am sharing this because I think you could get something out of my channel. It also will tell you EXACTLY what I am thinking about this.

 
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#6
I think that such an act would be ethically wrong, but I also think ethical lifestyle is a luxury afforded to those who aren't desperate. Most good people would do shitty things if pushed far enough. This thing you propose (as far as I'm aware) is not that bad of a thing.

In your position I'd do the shitty thing. I believe most people would even if they might pretend otherwise. It doesn't sound like you're doing it lightly either.
Thanks for the feedback. Obviously I’m not taking it likely at all. My country should be able to provide gurenteed housing and basic food, but such programs do not exist and are unlikely to exist for some time.... it would be difficult to sell to the wealthy, or the people possessed by the rhetoric of wealthy populists who end up cutting services they rely upon... not looking at Doug Ford at all...

I guess the only part that is unethical is that the loan is based on attending in good faith. The amount I would receive is paltry, but would make living possible. I don’t even know if I could hold even a basic customer service job without my panic attacks getting worse, and hence exacerbating everything else.

In all honesty I’m starting to get suicidal again. I’m not going to act on the thoughts, but if it gets worse, and they likely will if things continue as they are, I might. It is so difficult to not have think of myself as a complete failure and there are times I wish I didn’t have any family or friends (really singular) so I could just off myself without causing more suffering.
 

QuickTwist

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#7
I think that such an act would be ethically wrong, but I also think ethical lifestyle is a luxury afforded to those who aren't desperate. Most good people would do shitty things if pushed far enough. This thing you propose (as far as I'm aware) is not that bad of a thing.

In your position I'd do the shitty thing. I believe most people would even if they might pretend otherwise. It doesn't sound like you're doing it lightly either.
Thanks for the feedback. Obviously I’m not taking it likely at all. My country should be able to provide gurenteed housing and basic food, but such programs do not exist and are unlikely to exist for some time.... it would be difficult to sell to the wealthy, or the people possessed by the rhetoric of wealthy populists who end up cutting services they rely upon... not looking at Doug Ford at all...

I guess the only part that is unethical is that the loan is based on attending in good faith. The amount I would receive is paltry, but would make living possible. I don’t even know if I could hold even a basic customer service job without my panic attacks getting worse, and hence exacerbating everything else.

In all honesty I’m starting to get suicidal again. I’m not going to act on the thoughts, but if it gets worse, and they likely will if things continue as they are, I might. It is so difficult to not have think of myself as a complete failure and there are times I wish I didn’t have any family or friends (really singular) so I could just off myself without causing more suffering.
I understand you are in a difficult spot. That needs to be validated by others and yourself.

After you are calmed down, I would suggest going into problem solving mode. It's natural that I think I can help you, but I may not be able to be. Because of this, you know you best. You know how you operate. Really think about that. There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. It may look dark and scary, but I can guarantee that if you choose to face that fear, you will come out a better person.

[Edit] It's natural that I think I can help you.
 

Hadoblado

think again losers
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#8
Wait it's a loan? Yeah I wouldn't hesitate based on the ethical implications, they're small and your need is large.

I relate strongly. In order to get through my honours year I had to get into debt, luckily I had people to borrow off - without their support there's no way I'd get through.
 
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#9
I think that such an act would be ethically wrong, but I also think ethical lifestyle is a luxury afforded to those who aren't desperate. Most good people would do shitty things if pushed far enough. This thing you propose (as far as I'm aware) is not that bad of a thing.

In your position I'd do the shitty thing. I believe most people would even if they might pretend otherwise. It doesn't sound like you're doing it lightly either.
Thanks for the feedback. Obviously I’m not taking it likely at all. My country should be able to provide gurenteed housing and basic food, but such programs do not exist and are unlikely to exist for some time.... it would be difficult to sell to the wealthy, or the people possessed by the rhetoric of wealthy populists who end up cutting services they rely upon... not looking at Doug Ford at all...

I guess the only part that is unethical is that the loan is based on attending in good faith. The amount I would receive is paltry, but would make living possible. I don’t even know if I could hold even a basic customer service job without my panic attacks getting worse, and hence exacerbating everything else.

In all honesty I’m starting to get suicidal again. I’m not going to act on the thoughts, but if it gets worse, and they likely will if things continue as they are, I might. It is so difficult to not have think of myself as a complete failure and there are times I wish I didn’t have any family or friends (really singular) so I could just off myself without causing more suffering.
I understand you are in a difficult spot. That needs to be validated by others and yourself.

After you are calmed down, I would suggest going into problem solving mode. It's natural that I think I can help you, but I may not be able to be. Because of this, you know you best. You know how you operate. Really think about that. There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. It may look dark and scary, but I can guarantee that if you choose to face that fear, you will come out a better person.

[Edit] It's natural that I think I can help you.
I think that such an act would be ethically wrong, but I also think ethical lifestyle is a luxury afforded to those who aren't desperate. Most good people would do shitty things if pushed far enough. This thing you propose (as far as I'm aware) is not that bad of a thing.

In your position I'd do the shitty thing. I believe most people would even if they might pretend otherwise. It doesn't sound like you're doing it lightly either.
Thanks for the feedback. Obviously I’m not taking it likely at all. My country should be able to provide gurenteed housing and basic food, but such programs do not exist and are unlikely to exist for some time.... it would be difficult to sell to the wealthy, or the people possessed by the rhetoric of wealthy populists who end up cutting services they rely upon... not looking at Doug Ford at all...

I guess the only part that is unethical is that the loan is based on attending in good faith. The amount I would receive is paltry, but would make living possible. I don’t even know if I could hold even a basic customer service job without my panic attacks getting worse, and hence exacerbating everything else.

In all honesty I’m starting to get suicidal again. I’m not going to act on the thoughts, but if it gets worse, and they likely will if things continue as they are, I might. It is so difficult to not have think of myself as a complete failure and there are times I wish I didn’t have any family or friends (really singular) so I could just off myself without causing more suffering.
I understand you are in a difficult spot. That needs to be validated by others and yourself.

After you are calmed down, I would suggest going into problem solving mode. It's natural that I think I can help you, but I may not be able to be. Because of this, you know you best. You know how you operate. Really think about that. There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. It may look dark and scary, but I can guarantee that if you choose to face that fear, you will come out a better person.

[Edit] It's natural that I think I can help you.
Thanks. I just know that if I continue like this it wille get to the point where I can’t eat, take my medications, communicate, or have the sense to check myself into a hospital. I do not need hospitalization at this point, and I will check myself into a hospital again if I feel like I’m at serious risk of doing something.


It be fear really is just I’m going
Wait it's a loan? Yeah I wouldn't hesitate based on the ethical implications, they're small and your need is large.

I relate strongly. In order to get through my honours year I had to get into debt, luckily I had people to borrow off - without their support there's no way I'd get through.
Yeah. A student loan that I took so that I could return after taking medical leave. I have funding for my program, but I wouldn’t get any of it if I left in the first week of the next semester as I’m thinking of doing to get the remainder of the student loan.

I guess I have an enormous guilt complex where I really worry about these things. More than one person here thinks I’m Catholic or excatholic: I’m neither. Thinking that I’m worthless is probably a core belief of mine and I would like to get help from a therapist to deal with it, but my insurance won’t cover more than 3 sessions in total, and I’ve used them. Unlimited with the psychiatrist/drug guy though, and I’m using them.

I can’t even communicate properly with people I’m familiar with because of the anxiety I have. If someone brings up an argument about something and I have a reasoned counter argument and even find the topic important, I’ll just grumble and pathetically say “yeah that’s true.” On most days I don’t even speak to anyone, which obviously makes things worse.
 
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#10
I was once playing music at a professional level (jazz guitar) but I can’t possibly get back to that level in my state, financial and otherwise.
I didn't say be "good" at art, I said to immerse yourself in it. As a therapeutical kind of way. Don't worry about how much money you will make doing it. Just pick some way to express yourself skillfully and go down that route.

I know I am nowhere near as smart as you are, but I am sharing this because I think you could get something out of my channel. It also will tell you EXACTLY what I am thinking about this.

Thanks. I’ll check out your channel. I do agree with you that thought out expressions of emotion can have great therapeutic value. It is difficult to be motivated to do anything like that when you’re just thinking about how you’re going to survive for the next 10 months thiugh
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
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#11
I am also very smart, objectively (IQ and otherwise), and in my third year of a PhD program. However, there is absolutely no hope for me in academia. In my area, algebraic geometry, there are at most 4 tenure-track positions each year in my entire country, Canada.
You might be quite the clever cookie but you're evidently nowhere near as smart as you think you are, put your course on hold and go rent a room in a share-house, work in retail for a while, save some money, make some friends, get your shit together and maybe reevaluate your life.

Instead of striving to compete in academia maybe look for the path less traveled?
 
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#12
just take the loan, sounds like you need it. may as well see the academia thing through if you can. highly competitive degrees may not provide jobs in their niche fields, but they typically translate to other things.

maybe i'm wrong but i don't believe that your only viable outcomes are as simple or as binary as, 'one of these 4 particular positions or bust'
 

Serac

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#13
I didn't really understand what's unethical about it. Is it because you're getting a loan on a program you're not planning to finish? In that case, think about all the millennials out there who are students until they are 30 and jumping between different studies along the whole way – that's made possible purely through student loans taken indiscriminately.

The schools will love ya because more student loans means more inflated prices of education. The state, as the creditor, also will love ya because that means a stream of interest payments in the future. Then they'll repackage the debt into derivatives that the babyboomer generation can invest in and get richer from. I'd say no one is gonna blame you.
 

Hadoblado

think again losers
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#14
Yeah, you come across as in a particularly dark place, one where you're having difficulty seeing past your immediate misery. Fixation on the negative emotions. There are a fair few people here who have anxiety/depression/whatever else, so there're likely sympathetic ears.

Serac is right, you're likely more in need of that loan than most people who take it, and they don't bat an eye.
 
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#15
I’ll echo the advice of some of the above, with some elaboration.

You’ve narrowed your choices down to two options, which quite frankly, are shortsighted. Basically, you’re limiting your options to: stay in your program and suffer long term; or take some government money and jump ship headed on another academic course (and probably suffer long term).

Putting the ethical discussion aside, you don’t need to choose one, and even if you do, you don’t need to act on it immediately. It seems like you’re in this for the long haul anyway.

Perhaps you need to take some proper time off to reinforce your own life, getting a grip on your mental health issues along the way. Echoing the advice of Cognisant above, another (probably more sensible) option would be to put your academic pursuits on hiatus, cut your living expenses, and earn some money independently; whether that be working in the private sector using the intellectual skills you’ve no doubt gained, or even just taking some unskilled work (I recommend manual labour). Maybe take some time to develop your personal habits and in doing so, eliminate some of the minor stressors in your life.

Whatever you choose to do, don’t torture yourself. I can speak from experience here. I pushed myself to the limit at the end of my post-grad studies and a few years on (during which, I kept up a decent pace), I think I’m still recovering from the mental health issues I developed in that stage. My anxiety problems finally caught up with me earlier this year and I fully broke down. I left my ‘good’ job and in doing so, got to realise that deviating from the path can be the most fruitful thing when the one you’re on is booby trapped. Don’t flagellate yourself. It’s not worth it.

You can always take a detour. You don’t need to push and push to get to the endpoint. I personally did that and looking back, I really didn’t need to. I travelled the beaten path laid out by my peers and didn’t deviate, in order to attain the end goal as soon as possible. It took me 9 years, which is considered short. Looking back, in doing that, I missed so many opportunities to enrich my own life. Once again, don’t flagellate yourself for academia.

It also seems that, like myself, you are the type of person to corner yourself when under extreme stress. It would appear, from what you’ve written in this thread, that in this state you have difficulty steeping outside of yourself to see the situation from a higher perspective. I implore you to just stop, detach yourself from the situation, and see your predicament from the perspective of an outsider. If your friend were in the same position, what advice would you give him/her? (This is a really valuable exercise.)

As far as the ethical conundrum is concerned, while many here would be unperturbed by the decision, you have admitted that you are the type to agonise over it. I know people close to me that struggle in the same way. Having witnessed their struggles and supported them along the way, the best advice I can give is to not compromise on your own ethical standards. Hold yourself to a standard and be proud that you wouldn’t compromise yourself.

Even as a naturally self-dependent person, I’ve turned to many books over the years to empower me and help me find answers at difficult junctions. If you’d like me to give you any recommendations so that you can do the same, feel free to PM me. As a starter, I’d recommend turning to meditation and stoicism to begin to master yourself.

All the best.
 

higs

Omg wow imo
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#16
Life not good under Trudeau eh ? Take the money Chris. You can trust my authority, I'm an ethics and politics major :D
 

BabieMuse

one time for the caged bird
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#18
I think that there are a lot of jobs that you can take that don't necessarily take place in academy but can help you get an edge in the future, for example, working for STEM occupations or even financial ones. Think about moving somewhere else. Take a deep breath, you're talented enough to be here.
 
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#19
Computer science university of waterlou sp?
Honestly, that would probably be a worse idea than what I have planed, which is a prof masters degree. Waterloo is good, but unless you're an undergraduate or doing an academically orientated program, there is no good reason to live in Kitchener-Waterloo- and I have; it sucks.
 
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#20
Life not good under Trudeau eh ? Take the money Chris. You can trust my authority, I'm an ethics and politics major :D
Depends upon the area. The funding increase to the sciences was not directed at pure/basic research but rather at shiny engineering promises that make for good PR
 
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