Depression

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
AEIOU
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:27 pm

Depression

Postby AEIOU » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:21 pm

I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and have had several depressive episodes. Since opening up about the situation to my family and seeking help (a few years ago) I have not had any serious bouts of depression. I am wondering if I should write about this on my personal statement or diversity statement. Overcoming depression was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and I prevailed, but I am worried that mentioning this to potential law schools could scare them away -- that they may be concerned that I will not be able to handle law school psychologically. Thoughts?

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sunynp
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Re: Depression

Postby sunynp » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:09 pm

I wouldn't write about anything that would give them a reason not to admit you. This is just my opinion. But you need to craft your application to maximize your chance of getting admitted and sell yourself to them. I feel the same way about addiction and other similar types of PS.

dixon02
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Re: Depression

Postby dixon02 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:14 pm

sunynp wrote:I wouldn't write about anything that would give them a reason not to admit you. This is just my opinion. But you need to craft your application to maximize your chance of getting admitted and sell yourself to them. I feel the same way about addiction and other similar types of PS.


Agreed. Personal statements are high risk, low reward. The correct play is to go safe and not do anything that might hurt you. This is not to diminish what you've gone through (and congrats on successfully managing it btw), but the odds of writing this statement hurting you >>> the odds of it being the difference that gets you admitted.

JasonR
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Re: Depression

Postby JasonR » Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:26 am

dixon02 wrote:
sunynp wrote:I wouldn't write about anything that would give them a reason not to admit you. This is just my opinion. But you need to craft your application to maximize your chance of getting admitted and sell yourself to them. I feel the same way about addiction and other similar types of PS.


Agreed. Personal statements are high risk, low reward. The correct play is to go safe and not do anything that might hurt you. This is not to diminish what you've gone through (and congrats on successfully managing it btw), but the odds of writing this statement hurting you >>> the odds of it being the difference that gets you admitted.


+1

AEIOU
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: Depression

Postby AEIOU » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:44 pm

Thanks for the replies. I think you all provide sound advice...

Dake!
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Re: Depression

Postby Dake! » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:20 pm

I did a ds in roughly the same vein...so far all acceptances. I think it can be powerful, if you make it positive/don't dwell on negatives/play up your strengths. It can work, but your choice! If you choose to write it, I would put it in a ds, not ps

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MarcusAurelius
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Re: Depression

Postby MarcusAurelius » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:44 am

AEIOU wrote:I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and have had several depressive episodes. Since opening up about the situation to my family and seeking help (a few years ago) I have not had any serious bouts of depression. I am wondering if I should write about this on my personal statement or diversity statement. Overcoming depression was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and I prevailed, but I am worried that mentioning this to potential law schools could scare them away -- that they may be concerned that I will not be able to handle law school psychologically. Thoughts?


:lol:

LOLyer
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: Depression

Postby LOLyer » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:07 am

I agree with the other posters; PS = high risk, low reward.

Be forewarned, 1L year is an optimal time and place for a major depressive relapse. People joke about it, but it rings enough truth to warrant consideration.

MrAnon
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Re: Depression

Postby MrAnon » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:16 am

why on earth would you go down the path of law? Does sitting alone with books for the next 3 years sound like a good idea?

curiousme
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Re: Depression

Postby curiousme » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:05 pm

Unfortunately, The only way I really see writing about depression possibly helping you in a personal statement is if you actually got involved in the legal aspect of mental health as a result-- i.e. if your experience overcoming depression plays a significant factor in your decision to pursue law, particularly if your experiences dealing with depression highlighted for you issues with treatment of people dealing with depression or other forms of mental health/health issues. If it did (and don't make something up if it really didn't), then the potential risk of a student suffering a relapse could be re-worked through clever writing into the very impetus behind the student's drive (and ability) to succeed and excel.

Factoring it in could also be important if discussing your experience with depression also explains any potential concerns in your application (though this could also backfire, as drops in schoolwork while you overcame your depressive episode could signal similar drops would be possible in law school... on second thought, perhaps don't do this :wink: ).

Overcoming depression is a difficult and painful process, and you have my greatest respect for what you have accomplished. Even if you cannot use it in your personal statement, I'm sure you could analyze your experience and isolate the qualities that helped you succeed, and highlight those is a less risky way. Determination? Perseverance? Tenacity? Passion? What was it that made it possible for you to overcome your depression? Pull these factors out, and look at them in another context--that way you incorporate your triumph into your essay, even if you don't write about it specifically.


tdrl: To reiterate the general consensus of the thread, if there is any doubt in your mind about focusing on your depression, don't write about it specifically--the risk is very possibly not worth the reward. However, what did your experience show you about yourself that you could highlight instead?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Depression

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:55 pm

Not a good idea. Hopefully you have a better sales pitch.

EMZE
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Re: Depression

Postby EMZE » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:07 pm

Probably wouldn't write about having major depressive disorder explicity, but talking about struggling with all the stuff that goes with overcoming it could make for a compelling DS/PS if you frame it well.

If there was something specific that pushed you down that road, be it an or a series of events, recovering from them might be the best line to take.

Should you decide to choose this topic, you just need to be careful. You don't want to make yourself sound dramatic. I wrote a disability centric DS and went through a ton of version to make sure it wasn't over the top. Posting it here would be a good bet for feedback. Members like CanadianWolf read about 200 versions of all my essays,addendums, LOCI's, etc.

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cutecarmel
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Re: Depression

Postby cutecarmel » Wed May 30, 2012 5:10 pm

I personally wouldn't write about it. There is still a stigma attached to people with psychological disorders, and you don't want to give anyone a reason to view you as less competent or less stable than the average applicant, since law school is such a difficult time. This definitely does not mean that being diagnosed with depression makes you less competent or stable, but of course, not everyone understands that yet.

AEIOU
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: Depression

Postby AEIOU » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:42 pm

curiousme wrote: Determination? Perseverance? Tenacity? Passion? What was it that made it possible for you to overcome your depression?


Haven't checked my old posts for a while, but thanks to everyone for the responses.

Honestly, the biggest thing that helped me to overcome it was openness. Once I had the courage to open up about my feelings my life took a 180 in a great direction. Ironically, the consensus here seems to be that openness is a bad policy with regards to law school apps.




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