Struggle with Mental Illness in Addendum?

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Struggle with Mental Illness in Addendum?

Postby judicialactivist » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:59 pm

Hi all, I was wondering whether it would be OK for me to discuss my struggle with an often debilitating mental illness in my academic addendum. I basically bombed my first year of college due in part to several depressive episodes. I was diagnosed with my disorder freshman year, and started treatment (meds and therapy) that spring. In the years that followed, my GPA increased considerably and I assumed leadership roles in organizations. I feel that this context is important in evaluating my overall academic performance, but I'm worried about the stigma involved. Any advice would be appreciated.


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Re: Struggle with Mental Illness in Addendum?

Postby 2011Law » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:11 pm

Not an expert, but I'd think that if you make it clear that you have worked through whatever issues you were having and will not go into another depressive episode any time soon, then it would make a good addendum. I don't think there is really any stigma attached to it these days, but they'd just want to make sure that you don't screw up your grades in law school and become another bad statistic for them (employment wise).

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Re: Struggle with Mental Illness in Addendum?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:14 pm

If facing & overcoming difficulties is a stigma, then you'll just have to live with it.

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Re: Struggle with Mental Illness in Addendum?

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:41 pm

^^ +1. As long as you can make it clear that a relapse isn't going to happen, this can be both an addendum to explain poor academic performance early on and an overcoming difficulties, character development piece (as I think Canadian Wolf was implying). Good luck!

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Re: Struggle with Mental Illness in Addendum?

Postby swc65 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:49 pm

I had something similar in my addendum. however, I simply called it health issue rather than depression or mental illness. That way I was sure to avoid any potential stigma. I checked with a few advisers and each of them said it would be OK.

I agree with the above posters that you need to make it explicit that you have overcome these issues whether you call them mental health or just health problems.

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Re: Struggle with Mental Illness in Addendum?

Postby Marionberry » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:40 pm

Also, there are probably 100+ threads asking a similar/the same question on this website. You can find these threads by using the search function.

I'm not trying to be a dick, I see that this is your first post. Good luck!

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Re: Struggle with Mental Illness in Addendum?

Postby IAFG » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:20 pm

would you be stronger candidate with this addendum than without? probably not. could it hurt you? yes. skip it.

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Re: Struggle with Mental Illness in Addendum?

Postby osheimb » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:38 pm

I heard from a former adcomm member who still works in the industry that a history of mental illness will raise red flags for the bar.

maybe mention having personal problems, but don't include a diagnosis?

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