Clinical depression

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Metaread
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Clinical depression

Postby Metaread » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:35 pm

Thinking of withdrawing from law school.

I've had clinical depression for about a year now. I've gone to see a psychiatrist and a psychologist, and taken medication. I'm still not coping well, though. I can get my work done, but I have almost no motivation, even when the occasional reading is very interesting. I think it's less that I dislike law school, more that I have depression and that is responsible for my disliking law school.

I got a relatively prestigious internship for the 1L summer, but like many others, I haven't found anything for my 2L summer yet. Mass mailing hasn't worked out for me, probably because most of my cover letters have the enthusiasm of a dead fish. My grades are ok, the law school environment itself is ok, but somehow things just aren't working out. I'm having trouble sleeping, eating, and I feel like I'm existing rather than living. When I wake up, my first thought is usually "Great, another day to endure."

I'm about 1/3 of the way through my 2L year. Should I quit law school? I'm reluctant to, because that would be acknowledging failure. I have some close friends here, but I don't want to disturb their busy lives by talking about my depression. Only one of my friends knows how serious my depression is, and she hasn't said anything to anyone yet.

What should I do?

Gorki
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby Gorki » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:04 pm

Get some help friend. Family, friends, doctor, your school's counseling center, if you are religious talk to people in your religious community too. It sounds like you are not disinterested in law, its your depression. Trust me, from personal experience, walking away from something w/o addressing your depression will not solve anything. It will slowly take control, no matter where or what you are doing, and will make you feel unhappy. If after you have tackled your depression you still hate law, that is one thing. But do not allow depression to make rash decisions for you.

Do not think your OCI/SA strikeout means you are a failure as a human being... I would wager a vast majority of law students are in this position right now. While that thought itself may be depressing, keep some perspective that you did not strike out b/c you are a failure at life.

Best of luck.

robocp01
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby robocp01 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:55 pm

I'm going to have to say that only you can make that decision. However, depression is nothing to be ashamed of and it's happens to many of us in our lives. Like the previous poster stated, get some help. Do you really want to be a lawyer, it may only make you more miserable. Remember law schools are graduating around 50% too many attorneys. Some will never practive law. It may be time just to cut your losses and do something you think you may like. You will be happier in the long run..

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mrtoren
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby mrtoren » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:57 pm

So you stumbled through OCI; buck up, shake off the dust, and get your head back in the game. You have a medical condition. A lot of people have medical conditions. You need to make this decision based on your passion for the profession, not your passion for law school. If you know you want to do something else...do it. However, this might just be a rough patch that you have to push through. Consult a doctor and discuss the situation with your family and friends.

Peg
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby Peg » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:57 am

Do not drop out. If your grades are okay, you still have a chance to get something, and clinical depression is not going to vanish if you change career paths. Stay with this and seek professional help. Twenty years down the road, you'll be happier you didn't give up now.

mrtoren wrote:You need to make this decision based on your passion for the profession, not your passion for law school.


Yeah, law school is not like the profession at all.

Professor_Rau
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby Professor_Rau » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:21 pm

Just like the OP...

For me, failure in OCI actually caused clinical depression that hasn't really faded more than a month later. I had previously had it--but had been free of it for nearly 3 years prior to law school. I am starting to think that some people try too hard to separate depression itself from feelings about law. I think the issue for some of us is that being in law causes depression or makes existing depression much worse. That may be a reason to get out. I haven't figured this out myself. I wish friends/family were more understanding of what a shitty profession law is at the moment....I will seriously punch someone if I hear "it looks good to have a JD on your resume" one more time.

For those who always talk about a "passion for law" - what exactly does that mean? What is it about law that you like that is universal enough to cover big law and shit law? How do you know you like law as a 2L?

Pokemon
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby Pokemon » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:25 pm

Take a leave of absence and then think about whether to continue or not.
Law school and depression might mean your grades might sink, and it will just be painful on a daily basis.
However, you do not want to be too rush... especially if the depression is a reflection of the recent difficulties with oci.

Professor_Rau
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby Professor_Rau » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:18 am

Not to hijack the thread, but I have a class that is graded heavily on participation but not on the mandatory curve. Due to my clinical depression, I have missed many classes and not participated much. Is there a way I can prevent this from being used against me since I have a documented clinical depression?

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Rocío
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby Rocío » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:56 am

Gorki wrote:Get some help friend. Family, friends, doctor, your school's counseling center, if you are religious talk to people in your religious community too. It sounds like you are not disinterested in law, its your depression. Trust me, from personal experience, walking away from something w/o addressing your depression will not solve anything. It will slowly take control, no matter where or what you are doing, and will make you feel unhappy. If after you have tackled your depression you still hate law, that is one thing. But do not allow depression to make rash decisions for you.

Do not think your OCI/SA strikeout means you are a failure as a human being... I would wager a vast majority of law students are in this position right now. While that thought itself may be depressing, keep some perspective that you did not strike out b/c you are a failure at life.

Best of luck.


This. Also, get a referral to a different psychologist, and, if needed, a psychiatrist, if your school's student health center counseling isn't cutting it or if you are unhappy with your current regimen. And look into taking a leave of absence. If you are depressed, you need to address that right now. Later, when you have a handle on your state of mind, you can address whether you wish to continue in law school. But your main concern right now should be on getting help and becoming healthy. Good luck.

Professor_Rau
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:03 pm

Re: Clinical depression

Postby Professor_Rau » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:02 am

Rocío wrote:
Gorki wrote:Get some help friend. Family, friends, doctor, your school's counseling center, if you are religious talk to people in your religious community too. It sounds like you are not disinterested in law, its your depression. Trust me, from personal experience, walking away from something w/o addressing your depression will not solve anything. It will slowly take control, no matter where or what you are doing, and will make you feel unhappy. If after you have tackled your depression you still hate law, that is one thing. But do not allow depression to make rash decisions for you.

Do not think your OCI/SA strikeout means you are a failure as a human being... I would wager a vast majority of law students are in this position right now. While that thought itself may be depressing, keep some perspective that you did not strike out b/c you are a failure at life.

Best of luck.


This. Also, get a referral to a different psychologist, and, if needed, a psychiatrist, if your school's student health center counseling isn't cutting it or if you are unhappy with your current regimen. And look into taking a leave of absence. If you are depressed, you need to address that right now. Later, when you have a handle on your state of mind, you can address whether you wish to continue in law school. But your main concern right now should be on getting help and becoming healthy. Good luck.


I personally stayed in law school because I have a stipend, and I was too depressed to go out and find a job. Also, I can get cheap health insurance through my school, which covers things like psychological testing. And I absolutely think like a member of the lower class (always cutting corners to save money). Maybe that is why law firms didn't think I would be a good fit for the legal profession.

Metaread
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:57 pm

Re: Clinical depression

Postby Metaread » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:33 pm

I hate to say it, but I haven't found the psychologists and psychiatrists all that helpful. I find myself wishing I could cancel meetings with them just to save time so I could exercise or just study harder. The pills I've been prescribed aren't really helping either. At best, they make me feel neutral. I guess there's no pill that can make a person happy.

As for my friends, they're too busy to hang out much, and we never talk about my issues because that would be kind of awkward. I think the attitude of some of my friends is that if we don't talk about it, and focus on other things instead, I'll be happier. I'm not sure how to proceed. I haven't had as many nightmares or brooding spells lately, but as finals get closer and I get more agitated I think I'm going to start getting deeper into depression. I haven't had suicidal thoughts in a while, but I have trouble convincing myself I should wake up and face the day rather than just stay in bed and enjoy the bliss of not thinking about or having to deal with depression.

Unfortunately, I don't have cheap health insurance. Those pills are expensive. How should I proceed as finals get close? I just don't feel motivated to go through the whole outlining process, and I've been distracting myself from studying on purpose, with movies, TV shows, and working out, to make myself feel happier and deny the obvious. I've only had mixed success so far. I guess right now I should focus just on doing well on finals, but I don't see how that's possible when I can't ward away my depression. I always wished my depression would force me to focus on studying and only studying, so that I can do well, which would be good, because that academic success would maybe make me happier).

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dingbat
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby dingbat » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:36 pm

ABA rules require you to complete your degree within 7 years, so if you were going full-time you can take 4 years off.
Ask your school about going on extended leave / taking a sabbatical. That way you still have the option to return at a later date, if you feel up to it and want to continue.

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whatisthewhat
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby whatisthewhat » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:52 pm

so sorry you are not feeling well op.

i am a 0L, so this is just my two cents from the experiences of friends in college. a break can be good if you're unhappy, but make sure you're doing something with that time that will keep you occupied and help move you toward getting better, ex. travel, a job you think is interesting, etc. not having stuff to do can make things worse and actually be pretty stressful.

also is important to be around people who are supportive. just have to go with your gut when it comes to who that is. you don't have to make excuses for people, this isn't personal or even necessarily a reflection of how much they care about you or how well-meaning they are--you just have to spend time with people who are going to be good for you at this time. (edited to add: also don't let yourself pull back from everyone if you are prone to that. sometimes you might not want to be with other people, but you have to get yourself to do it regularly. i think that's important.)

in any case, i would say: make a decision about what you will do next, draw an endpoint for yourself, and just keep pushing until you reach that point. don't let yourself slip into the purgatory of "i'm figuring this out, so it's okay to be a gray blob until then."

hope you feel better soon.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:57 pm

Exercise. Every day without fail. Also, ask to be assigned to a new doctor if you aren't making progress with your current one(s).

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:07 pm

How long have you been on your medication? I have had CD for over a decade (hereditary unfortunately), and I dropped out for a semester in undergrad to get back together when it got too bad. I have never got much out of therapists, but it works for some. I would see another psychologist and see about getting on another medication. Furthermore, if your medical insurance is tied to you staying in school, it might be wiser to stay. Also, talk to those who you are close with emotionally/socially. It helps way more than talking to a professional compassionate stranger. Best of luck to you in your situation. :)

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:08 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Exercise. Every day without fail. Also, ask to be assigned to a new doctor if you aren't making progress with your current one(s).


Easily the best thing you can do. Exercise has the potential to by itself make you feel so much better.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:28 pm

Vigorous exercise releases endorphins (happy juice) in one's brain. Exercise also builds self-esteem through a sense of accomplishment, improved appearance & improved concentration abilities.

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mqt
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Re: Clinical depression

Postby mqt » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:47 pm

The one thing you should ask yourself is whether or not dropping out of law school will really help you. If you're dealing with depression like this, it's likely that you'll still find yourself depressed no matter what you're doing. The real thing to do is to treat the condition. Find a counselor that truly helps, exercise more, figure out what dosage/type of anti-depressant you should be on, etc.

However, if you think the depression is being brought on or worsened by your schooling, it would become a very difficult decision for you. Note that most instances of depression are not going to go away if you drop out, unless school is the cause. You're not just going to magically find motivation by taking a FT job or being unemployed. If you've able to maintain good grades in law school through this process, you might just be in the right position. If you don't think it's law school that's getting you down, then I would not suggest dropping out, as you'd likely regret it. Find the underlying cause, and make your decision from there.




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