In ten years of working with researchers I’ve met one person doing their second PhD. PhDs are fairly rare in the population; a person with two is like finding Bigfoot riding a unicorn!
For most candidates though, PhDs feel quite common. You’re around people all the time who either have them or want them. Often it can be easy to feel like maybe you’re not as good as others (hello impostor syndrome!). While you’re on track you’re not quite there yet. You see people who have succeeded and it’s easy to feel like you might not ever get there.
Well: give yourself a break!
It’s the first time you’ve done a PhD!
Whatever else you’ve done, whatever your achievements, interests or professional standing, this is a big deal. It’s important and it’s difficult – doubly difficult because usually you’re learning how to do research while doing it. Your process evolves while you do.
Appreciate that this is your first time. You don’t have to have all the answers. No-one expects the impossible.
If you feel like the PhD is beyond you, or the viva is out of reach, take a step back. Every day is an opportunity to get a little better, a little closer to “done,” but this is still your first time doing a PhD.