Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sat May 05, 2012 7:20 pm

thesealocust wrote:Somehow law school is great at building up artificial stress and making things seem more serious than they are.


It might have something to do with being surrounded by a bunch of selfish, cut-throat, striving assholes.

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arvcondor
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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby arvcondor » Sat May 05, 2012 7:26 pm

First, OP, best wishes. I completely understand the position in you're in.

Second, not to hijack the thread, but on a much related note, I anticipate doing much more poorly than I did first semester (made dean's list then) because of some health issues that morphed into psychiatric issues and nearly prevented me from taking my finals. If this does happen, would it be appropriate to add some caveat to my applications in the future? I figure my first semester grades and good memo/brief would show that I'm at least capable, but that, you know shit happens.

I would have made a new thread asking this, but I figured it was sufficiently related to the topic at hand and would provide some advice for anyone else who was deluged by medical/psychiatric shit during law school to the point that grades were affected.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sat May 05, 2012 7:47 pm

arvcondor wrote:Second, not to hijack the thread, but on a much related note, I anticipate doing much more poorly than I did first semester (made dean's list then) because of some health issues that morphed into psychiatric issues and nearly prevented me from taking my finals. If this does happen, would it be appropriate to add some caveat to my applications in the future? I figure my first semester grades and good memo/brief would show that I'm at least capable, but that, you know shit happens.


No. In general, I recommend that you make no mention of your mental health issues to your employer. The only possible exception would be if it was something extraordinary and demonstrably short-term (i.e with ZERO long-term implications for your ability to work as a lawyer). I would guess that most law students have mental health problems in varying degrees. Unless you had something like a brain aneurysm, let your record stand for itself, at least initially. If someone asks you why your grades dropped, it might be appropriate to bring up your health issues. But remember that some of the partners you'll talk to have zero sympathy for people with mental health issues and will gladly ding you for someone with your same credentials who doesn't bring up mental health issues.

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Pato_09
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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby Pato_09 » Sat May 05, 2012 7:56 pm

Ask God to help you.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby timbs4339 » Sat May 05, 2012 9:37 pm

I've been there. It sucks. I know it's all the little cuts and bruises that slowly add up. The 10% of the class who are just prestige-whoring shitheads and start every conversation with "where are you working" and turn up their noses when you tell them you are still looking. The clueless professors who joke about everyone going to work for "big evil corporate firms," while you sit there paying them $50,000 per year for the privilege of teaching them the material through the B.S. "Socratic Method." The administration that tries it's hardest to blame you and explain away the structural problems with the school. And of course the internal feelings of failure and inadequacy, leading to skipping class, not taking notes, and not studying for finals.

You are not alone. I've met other 2Ls in similar situations. I know 3Ls still looking. If you need any help, have any questions, or just want to talk feel free to reach out to me.

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Gettingstarted1928
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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby Gettingstarted1928 » Sun May 06, 2012 1:10 am

OP, the best advice in this thread so far is that you get serious about counseling. If you've left, go back. If it's not working, change psychiatrists/psychologists. I know it's very easy to delay, but you can't. You need to take it more serious than anything. You're wasting your life, and you don't need to. You're lucky you live in a time when these resources are available to you. I can't even imagine what it must have been like for people with mental illnesses 30,40,50 years ago. Must have been hopeless for them, but luckily it's not for you.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby Throwaway2013 » Sun May 06, 2012 5:40 am

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:OP, I hope things work out for you in the long run. I've struggled with mental health issues myself and I know it's kind of impossible to explain what you're feeling to other people, but you did a terrific job of coming close in your OP. Out of curiosity, were you raised by parents who had super high expectations and didn't handle your failures very well? I think this may have affected me, but I've come to realize that all you can do is your best TODAY and dwelling on the past doesn't help anything. Good luck to you.


Thanks for the encouragement. My parents were a lot of things, and they absolutely did a poor job of handling my shortfalls. They expected a lot from me and I was punished harshly when I didn't meet their expectations. Ironically it wasn't their pressure that shaped me so much as their own failures. Failed business, failed marriage, and my father who went from a paragon of energy and enterprise to an alcoholic who died in jail.

While my past decisions still haunt me, the future leaves me feeling more buried than any of my thoughts on the past. I just don't see "the path out" right now. All I see is crushing debts, wasted time and energy, and failed dreams. Even if I did my best today, I still don't see how it changes the "end game" for me.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby Throwaway2013 » Sun May 06, 2012 5:42 am

Gettingstarted1928 wrote:OP, the best advice in this thread so far is that you get serious about counseling. If you've left, go back. If it's not working, change psychiatrists/psychologists. I know it's very easy to delay, but you can't. You need to take it more serious than anything. You're wasting your life, and you don't need to. You're lucky you live in a time when these resources are available to you. I can't even imagine what it must have been like for people with mental illnesses 30,40,50 years ago. Must have been hopeless for them, but luckily it's not for you.


I'm getting set up some folks here to see an outside psychologist in the fall. The biggest problem I see is that I need to start improving now, or next Fall may be too late. I have more options since I changed insurance (I was under my mom's insurance before and it was AWFUL), but I don't know that I will be able to see anyone through the summer.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby Geneva » Sun May 06, 2012 6:43 am

ThreeYears wrote:Absolutely talk to the school administration and convince them that grades of this semester should be removed. You need a leave of absence and you have already started it a year ago. The depression of course is from ourselves, the lack of motivation, the conflict between the need for being alone and the desire for being embraced. But depression can be so much worse with real world consequences. We have to make things bearable for ourselves, otherwise the downward spiral is absolutely horrifying. Right now it seems the things eating you up is the upcoming finals and your bank account. Take care of those two things, starting from getting a leave of absence.

I am really sorry things are tough right now. But a lot of people are going through it or have gone through similar periods, some of them are not as bad as yours, some of them are much worse than yours. I had my share and I am sure some of the repliers here had their share too. Best luck to you but at the end of day, you have to pick yourself up. Go talk to the school, and then your parents, and then yourself.

this advice is right on. it will get better, but you need to make getting help your top priority

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby crumpetsandtea » Sun May 06, 2012 7:02 am

It's 4 am and I haven't read pages 2 & 3 of this thread, but I just wanted to say, hang in there OP <3 :( :( I hope you get the help you need and things start to clear up for you. I may not know who you are, but I hope you know you have people out there rooting for you!!!! Please, please, please do not act on any suicidal thoughts you might have.

Also, it seems silly since I'm just some rando on the internet, but if you ever want someone to just vent to, you can PM me whenever. It can be incredibly therapeutic to share your burdens with someone who has no idea who you really are and won't/can't judge you based on what you're going through. Best of luck, man. <3 <3 <3

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby keg411 » Sun May 06, 2012 9:49 am

Throwaway2013 wrote:
Gettingstarted1928 wrote:OP, the best advice in this thread so far is that you get serious about counseling. If you've left, go back. If it's not working, change psychiatrists/psychologists. I know it's very easy to delay, but you can't. You need to take it more serious than anything. You're wasting your life, and you don't need to. You're lucky you live in a time when these resources are available to you. I can't even imagine what it must have been like for people with mental illnesses 30,40,50 years ago. Must have been hopeless for them, but luckily it's not for you.


I'm getting set up some folks here to see an outside psychologist in the fall. The biggest problem I see is that I need to start improving now, or next Fall may be too late. I have more options since I changed insurance (I was under my mom's insurance before and it was AWFUL), but I don't know that I will be able to see anyone through the summer.


Try looking up and seeing if some of the local social work schools have free or low cost programs with student interns. Just so you can get on the right track ASAP. (Yes, social workers do therapy)

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby NYC2014 » Sun May 06, 2012 10:37 am

If you really don't like law, why don't you drop out and do something else? Maybe something physical/outdoors, like construction. You might like it better - you won't make as much money (understatement), but you'll be able to afford a roof over your head and pay the minimum amount of your loans every month.

Just saying, if you're prone to depression, trudging forward in the legal field is probably not a good idea.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun May 06, 2012 12:34 pm

keg411 wrote:
Throwaway2013 wrote:
Gettingstarted1928 wrote:OP, the best advice in this thread so far is that you get serious about counseling. If you've left, go back. If it's not working, change psychiatrists/psychologists. I know it's very easy to delay, but you can't. You need to take it more serious than anything. You're wasting your life, and you don't need to. You're lucky you live in a time when these resources are available to you. I can't even imagine what it must have been like for people with mental illnesses 30,40,50 years ago. Must have been hopeless for them, but luckily it's not for you.


I'm getting set up some folks here to see an outside psychologist in the fall. The biggest problem I see is that I need to start improving now, or next Fall may be too late. I have more options since I changed insurance (I was under my mom's insurance before and it was AWFUL), but I don't know that I will be able to see anyone through the summer.


Try looking up and seeing if some of the local social work schools have free or low cost programs with student interns. Just so you can get on the right track ASAP. (Yes, social workers do therapy)

This. It doesn't even have to be through school. There are plenty of sliding scale providers in New York. I don't have any names offhand but Google should turn up some stuff and Columbia's health center, if they aren't criminally incompetent, should be able to tell you who is legitimate.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby deebs » Sun May 06, 2012 12:38 pm

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby djaja » Sun May 06, 2012 1:06 pm

I don't know if the OP is still reading this thread, but I think you should take a semester, if not a year, off. I know the idea of having only one more year to go is tantalizing but that year is going to be utter hell for you, worse than the previous two, if you don't act. If you stay in school that year will end you. Take some time off and do what you love. The gap is not going to be some huge red flag on your resume-- on the contrary it's going to help you in the end. It's going to show that you can recognize problems and act to solve them. This is one of those cases where not quitting is, in effect, quitting. So take a leave of absence. Seriously, get back to the real life. Do it dude.

Also: counseling. As good as it feels to vent on TLS, and I think that's what TLS is great for, it feels even better to vent to an actual person. A person who, unlike 100% of law students, will listen, and not judge, or check their iPhone, or interrupt you and redirect the conversation back to their own bullshit problems and the current status of their fucking Evidence outline.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby mallard » Sun May 06, 2012 1:12 pm

Throwaway2013 wrote:While my past decisions still haunt me, the future leaves me feeling more buried than any of my thoughts on the past. I just don't see "the path out" right now. All I see is crushing debts, wasted time and energy, and failed dreams. Even if I did my best today, I still don't see how it changes the "end game" for me.


One important part of coming to terms with depression (or, I imagine, any mental illness) is developing a sense for which of your reactions to situations are rational and which are disordered. Really, this is probably important for people without mental illness too.

The reaction described above seems disordered to me. One reason is that I'm not sure it's really clear what you're looking for a path "out" from. Have you thought seriously about what the worst possible scenario actually looks like? If you end up unemployed, it'll be the depression that does it, not your "failure." I'm sure you can think of a lot of areas, though maybe not lucrative ones, where a Columbia JD would be in high demand. For example, it strikes me that there are probably a ton of bottom-tier law schools, community colleges, private high schools, and the like which would be happy to flaunt your credentials. Hell, even shitlaw without depression is much, much, much better than biglaw with depression.

Another reason is that a lack of any sense or vision of the future is an enormous part of, I think, most cases of depression. The "cloud" or "fog" was one of the single most notable features of my experience, at least. I remember having so much trouble thinking about the future that I couldn't even conceive of making social plans with people - I couldn't wrap my arms around the fact that there was going to be a Thursday at some later date and that I was going to be part of it. As I said above, my guess is that you're not actually despairing at an image of what your life will look like after your "failure" (whatever that is), but (disorderedly) reacting to your sense of there being no future at all.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby djaja » Sun May 06, 2012 1:25 pm

Also, in the grand scheme of things, grades don't matter. DON'T STOP READING. I know that sounds like a cheesy palliative folk saying, but it's the utter fucking truth. Learn it now, absorb it, and use this secret to your advantage. And while it seems like a nice truth to you, for a lot of people it's a hard truth. Because it's only a matter of time before the smugly pompous shitbrains with 3.9s come to this realization and realize how deeply they've fucked up their priorities.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby Throwaway2013 » Sun May 06, 2012 1:32 pm

NYC2014 wrote:If you really don't like law, why don't you drop out and do something else? Maybe something physical/outdoors, like construction. You might like it better - you won't make as much money (understatement), but you'll be able to afford a roof over your head and pay the minimum amount of your loans every month.

Just saying, if you're prone to depression, trudging forward in the legal field is probably not a good idea.


It's not that I dislike law, either in study or practice. While I've definitely fantasized about living a simpler life back with my friends in my college town, I still have aspirations for something more. I wouldn't say I'm prone to depression either, but that's up for debate. The only part of law that still concerns me (and set off a deeply depressed mindset) is how much I've been struggling with legal research papers. Between the RA gig in the fall and the utter disaster early this semester, I've lost all faith in my ability to write anything more than a few pages.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby rayiner » Sun May 06, 2012 1:40 pm

djaja wrote:Also, in the grand scheme of things, grades don't matter. DON'T STOP READING. I know that sounds like a cheesy palliative folk saying, but it's the utter fucking truth. Learn it now, absorb it, and use this secret to your advantage. And while it seems like a nice truth to you, for a lot of people it's a hard truth. Because it's only a matter of time before the smugly pompous shitbrains with 3.9s come to this realization and realize how deeply they've fucked up their priorities.


The 3.9's fucked up their priorities because they chose to prioritize grades in professional school? What an utterly ridiculous thing to say. This kind of advice is completely unhelpful to the OP because it's facially unbelievable. In the field we've all chosen grades do matter, not in and of themselves but because of their impact on things that matter in and of themselves. Saying otherwise is a form of reality-avoidance, and not helpful advice.

Is it true that there is more to life than grades? Sure. Life is not over just because you got bad grades in law school, especially at a top law school. But it's disingenuous to overstate this point.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby Throwaway2013 » Sun May 06, 2012 1:58 pm

rayiner wrote:
djaja wrote:Also, in the grand scheme of things, grades don't matter. DON'T STOP READING. I know that sounds like a cheesy palliative folk saying, but it's the utter fucking truth. Learn it now, absorb it, and use this secret to your advantage. And while it seems like a nice truth to you, for a lot of people it's a hard truth. Because it's only a matter of time before the smugly pompous shitbrains with 3.9s come to this realization and realize how deeply they've fucked up their priorities.


The 3.9's fucked up their priorities because they chose to prioritize grades in professional school? What an utterly ridiculous thing to say. This kind of advice is completely unhelpful to the OP because it's facially unbelievable. In the field we've all chosen grades do matter, not in and of themselves but because of their impact on things that matter in and of themselves. Saying otherwise is a form of reality-avoidance, and not helpful advice.

Is it true that there is more to life than grades? Sure. Life is not over just because you got bad grades in law school, especially at a top law school. But it's disingenuous to overstate this point.


I got the sentiment of what he was saying, but I agree with you. If I can get my life in order I would absolutely want to try for a Kent award (top 5-10%) next year.

On another note, I just had a near disaster with a take-home exam. I've got give a shoutout to CLS here. On one hand it can be a little unnerving knowing that the entire school administration is aware of your depression. I had registration services call me on a Sunday and they knew about my situation this semester and were willing to adjust the timing of my take-home and see about pushing back the deadline on a paper due tomorrow. The responsiveness really impressed me and I feel like they really have my back here.

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rayiner
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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby rayiner » Sun May 06, 2012 2:09 pm

One of the things I might add... if you don't dislike being a lawyer, I would seriously consider taking two semesters of clinic next year. I hated writing research memos, blew them off during 1L, got median/below median in LRW, etc. The last two semesters I took an environmental law clinic with an amazing professor. She knows a ton about everything (former GC at an F100), and at the same time was willing to spend a lot of time with me improving my writing. I'm finishing up a 7th Circuit appeal for her and it's been just an awesome experience knowing that what your writing is going to have real consequences for people, going up against a bigger, more well-funded opponent, etc. It totally changed my perspective on litigation and being a lawyer.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby AffordablePrep » Sun May 06, 2012 2:11 pm

OP i just want to say the fact you've achieved what you have while experiencing these symptoms shows that you are a goddamn genius. I don't know much about depression or psych outside of a psych minor, but it sounds like a lot of your problems root from anxiety and may not be organic in nature. Maybe you need a cognitive behavior psychologist who can help you lay out a plan to make you feel more in control of your future. The poster who wrote about self fulfilling prophecies is right. You may not have conveyed any kind of confidence in yourself at oci.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby cdbanana » Sun May 06, 2012 2:27 pm

There is a lot of excellent advice already in here for OP, and I never post on TLS but it's finals and I'm being a distractoid, and I really want to emphasize a particular thing: antidepressants. I've had crazy depression/anxiety for YEARS. Like, since I was 16 and had a few traumatic incidents combined with bad genes. I saw "psychologists" and "counselors" a couple times but always got over it quick. I refused to consider medication until I was like 20. Once I got over my pride about it and came to really understand it was a chemical imbalance, taking medication changed everything. Some people will tell you to just hit the gym or change your perspective, but that won't work when apathy is at a level like yours. I know where you're at - when you just can't make anything matter and you just can't convince yourself you're worth anything to the world. Consider seeing a psychiatrist and trying out some anti-depressants. Since I began meds, I've felt like a normal human being - with standard highs and lows, but my baseline is finally normal. I really think it could help you loads.

Good luck.

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby apl6783 » Sun May 06, 2012 4:27 pm

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Re: Depresssion, Apathy, & Unemployment from a CLS-2L (Long)

Postby apl6783 » Sun May 06, 2012 4:38 pm

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