Depression during bar prep

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jaydee2016

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Depression during bar prep

Postby jaydee2016 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 3:30 pm

I know that an online forum is not the place to go to for this, but I just want to see if anyone else can relate to what I am going through.

To make a long story short, during the last 3 years of law school I have sacrificed most -- if not all -- of my time (and personal life) to getting high grades in ls, getting a "biglaw" job in my hometown, and landing a clerkship. I did very well in school and achieved all of these goals. However, somewhere throughout that period, I realized that I began to suffer form a mild, chronic form of depression. Naively, I thought I'd feel enthusiastic again once I graduated, but it has only gotten worse. I don't feel like myself at all, and I am doubting my ability and desire to pass the bar, work as a lawyer, and move forward. I feel like I have lost all motivation or energy do get to the point where I can really do any of these things... I went to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with dysthemia -- a low grade, chronic depression. I realize depression is pretty common among law students/professionals, and I know the added stress of the bar isn't helping, but I just want to reach out to see if anyone else has gone through something similar to me or can relate somehow and would be willing to offer me their thoughts, experience, and how they overcame this period, since right now I am really struggling (and I say that --thank Lord -- not to imply that I am in any way a danger to myself or anyone else, but only with respect to keeping hope that I will somehow get back to my old, normal self)...

Any thoughts are welcome. And I apologize for making such a dramatic post; I just figure that some of you might relate and maybe can lend me some perspective about how to overcome this rut.

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Sprout

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Re: Depression during bar prep

Postby Sprout » Sat Jun 25, 2016 3:59 pm

jaydee2016 wrote:I know that an online forum is not the place to go to for this, but I just want to see if anyone else can relate to what I am going through.

To make a long story short, during the last 3 years of law school I have sacrificed most -- if not all -- of my time (and personal life) to getting high grades in ls, getting a "biglaw" job in my hometown, and landing a clerkship. I did very well in school and achieved all of these goals. However, somewhere throughout that period, I realized that I began to suffer form a mild, chronic form of depression. Naively, I thought I'd feel enthusiastic again once I graduated, but it has only gotten worse. I don't feel like myself at all, and I am doubting my ability and desire to pass the bar, work as a lawyer, and move forward. I feel like I have lost all motivation or energy do get to the point where I can really do any of these things... I went to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with dysthemia -- a low grade, chronic depression. I realize depression is pretty common among law students/professionals, and I know the added stress of the bar isn't helping, but I just want to reach out to see if anyone else has gone through something similar to me or can relate somehow and would be willing to offer me their thoughts, experience, and how they overcame this period, since right now I am really struggling (and I say that --thank Lord -- not to imply that I am in any way a danger to myself or anyone else, but only with respect to keeping hope that I will somehow get back to my old, normal self)...

Any thoughts are welcome. And I apologize for making such a dramatic post; I just figure that some of you might relate and maybe can lend me some perspective about how to overcome this rut.


This is a difficult thing to reply to because I don't have any true words of wisdom. I would just say that definitely try to reach out, if you get some therapy it always helps to have someone to talk to. Theres absolutely no shame in it, imo everyone in the world would be better off if they have the opportunity to see a therapist and work through stuff.

It seems like you've been putting an awful lot of pressure on yourself and understandably so, but maybe try to really force yourself to take some time for yourself now. I know bar prep time isn't exactly a period where you have a whole lot of free time but its important to still make the time to do things you enjoy. Literally schedule that time in for yourself. Whether its excercise, hanging with friends, getting a massage, or whatever, make sure you are taking the time to just relax and chill. So many law students and lawyers are over worked and over stressed and depressed.. it really is sad and I know from personal experience how shitty depression can be.

Im sorry this isn't more helpful, but I wanted to respond to just let you know you're not alone and to hang in there. Try to take care of yourself and definitely try to make the time for you. Grades and success and bar passage and career stuff is obviously important, but none of it means anything if you are miserable. Don't forget to put yourself first, and don't be so hard on yourself either. Things take time to get better so be patient with yourself. If you ever want to just talk to someone, feel free to PM me.

jaydee2016

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Re: Depression during bar prep

Postby jaydee2016 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:14 pm

Sprout wrote:
jaydee2016 wrote:I know that an online forum is not the place to go to for this, but I just want to see if anyone else can relate to what I am going through.

To make a long story short, during the last 3 years of law school I have sacrificed most -- if not all -- of my time (and personal life) to getting high grades in ls, getting a "biglaw" job in my hometown, and landing a clerkship. I did very well in school and achieved all of these goals. However, somewhere throughout that period, I realized that I began to suffer form a mild, chronic form of depression. Naively, I thought I'd feel enthusiastic again once I graduated, but it has only gotten worse. I don't feel like myself at all, and I am doubting my ability and desire to pass the bar, work as a lawyer, and move forward. I feel like I have lost all motivation or energy do get to the point where I can really do any of these things... I went to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with dysthemia -- a low grade, chronic depression. I realize depression is pretty common among law students/professionals, and I know the added stress of the bar isn't helping, but I just want to reach out to see if anyone else has gone through something similar to me or can relate somehow and would be willing to offer me their thoughts, experience, and how they overcame this period, since right now I am really struggling (and I say that --thank Lord -- not to imply that I am in any way a danger to myself or anyone else, but only with respect to keeping hope that I will somehow get back to my old, normal self)...

Any thoughts are welcome. And I apologize for making such a dramatic post; I just figure that some of you might relate and maybe can lend me some perspective about how to overcome this rut.


This is a difficult thing to reply to because I don't have any true words of wisdom. I would just say that definitely try to reach out, if you get some therapy it always helps to have someone to talk to. Theres absolutely no shame in it, imo everyone in the world would be better off if they have the opportunity to see a therapist and work through stuff.

It seems like you've been putting an awful lot of pressure on yourself and understandably so, but maybe try to really force yourself to take some time for yourself now. I know bar prep time isn't exactly a period where you have a whole lot of free time but its important to still make the time to do things you enjoy. Literally schedule that time in for yourself. Whether its excercise, hanging with friends, getting a massage, or whatever, make sure you are taking the time to just relax and chill. So many law students and lawyers are over worked and over stressed and depressed.. it really is sad and I know from personal experience how shitty depression can be.

Im sorry this isn't more helpful, but I wanted to respond to just let you know you're not alone and to hang in there. Try to take care of yourself and definitely try to make the time for you. Grades and success and bar passage and career stuff is obviously important, but none of it means anything if you are miserable. Don't forget to put yourself first, and don't be so hard on yourself either. Things take time to get better so be patient with yourself. If you ever want to just talk to someone, feel free to PM me.


Thank you, Sprout. It means a lot that you responded. I know I haven't given a lot of details here, but I assume most law students can pretty much envision how stressful the last three years might have been and what bar prep is like. I guess that is what is contributing (if not causing?) my depression. Thank you for encouraging me and giving me the best advice you could. You are absolutely right though about giving myself some "me time," because over the last few years I have seriously neglected doing so. It's just hard with bar prep. But I am and have been making a commitment to doing so. I guess the scariest part for me is feeling like I am not myself any more -- like somehow my personality and interests have permanently changed for the worst. I feel unmotivated and lifeless. And where this is scariest is when I am around loved ones, including my family and even my g/f of 5 years who I love incredibly, but now feel like I cannot even truly enjoy our time together or engage in the things we used to do together. I simply feel like a zombie. It really sucks. But, like you said, taking some time for myself, continuing to seek therapy, and forcing myself to do things I've always previously enjoyed should help.

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Sprout

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Re: Depression during bar prep

Postby Sprout » Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:29 pm

jaydee2016 wrote:I guess the scariest part for me is feeling like I am not myself any more -- like somehow my personality and interests have permanently changed for the worst. I feel unmotivated and lifeless.

Your personality and interests have not permanently changed. It just feels that way but it's a mind trick. You are experiencing depression, but you are not yourself depression. It can be hard to see the difference sometimes when we feel stuck or fixed in a space, it starts to feel permanent. But think about it, you are you, observing and experiencing your emotions and environment. You are the experiencer, experiencing some shitty weather. You yourself have not become the clouds. Your true personality is still there, it's just hidden under some other cloudiness right now. But I promise it is not gone forever. For me, knowing that this too shall pass really helps, because it is true, even when it doesnt seem like it. Try to have faith in the process
jaydee2016 wrote:And where this is scariest is when I am around loved ones, including my family and even my g/f of 5 years who I love incredibly, but now feel like I cannot even truly enjoy our time together or engage in the things we used to do together. I simply feel like a zombie.

This is a really common feeling in depression, a sort of dyshedonia or apathy. Personally I have experienced it as well a number of times and it sucks. Does your girlfriend know what's going on with you? Can you talk to her openly about it so she is at least informed?
You're going to feel like you're not making progress at first but I swear if you continue to do things you sometimes don't feel like doing (going outside, working out, going to do an activity/attending a party or event) instead of just saying fuck it and staying in, it's almost always a good call. Isolation is the worst idea, even though sometimes it feels like all you'll want to do. Again,working with a therapist is a really good call if you can swing it financially. But definitely make you time. You should be your own first priority. Your job or anything else comes second. And remember, you're not alone at all and there's nothing wrong with you. Unfortunately this profession has one of the highest rates of depression out of any.

jaydee2016

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Re: Depression during bar prep

Postby jaydee2016 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 5:08 pm

Sprout wrote:It just feels that way but it's a mind trick. . . . But I promise it is not gone forever. For me, knowing that this too shall pass really helps, because it is true, even when it doesnt seem like it. Try to have faith in the process
jaydee2016 wrote:
The mind trick is the worst part. Objectively I know that whatever the depression is making me feel or think is not sincere, but it feels real -- especially the thoughts, despite knowing they're erratic and ridiculous.

This is a really common feeling in depression, a sort of dyshedonia or apathy. Personally I have experienced it as well a number of times and it sucks. Does your girlfriend know what's going on with you? Can you talk to her openly about it so she is at least informed? . . . . Again,working with a therapist is a really good call if you can swing it financially. But definitely make you time. You should be your own first priority. Your job or anything else comes second. And remember, you're not alone at all and there's nothing wrong with you. Unfortunately this profession has one of the highest rates of depression out of any.


Thankfully she is and has been INCREDIBLY supportive -- I really can't put it into words. But I am just scared shitless I won't be able to return the the person I was fer her, and that's what I so badly want to do. And you're right about job coming second; the one thing this depression or "rut" has given me, is perspective: I stupidly put career goals first and kept chasing shiny stuff that I thought would make me feel more fulfilled; yes, I am grateful for the opportunities I've been given, etc., but man do I regret giving up so much to just arrive here, at this state. When I get out of this (!!), I hope to use this period as a reminder that career goals and the like are not what will bring me joy, in-and-of-themselves. It's the other people in my life who I care most about that will. I just want to (and will!!) overcome this and get back to where I was before, emotionally and as a person. (But man does this really feel horrible while going through it....)

Thanks again for your support, Sprout. And again, I apologize for this mopey thread. But if any of you also can relate or maybe too want to vent here if you're going through something similar, I hope you don't hesitate to do so.

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Re: Depression during bar prep

Postby Neve » Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:10 pm

jaydee2016 wrote:I know that an online forum is not the place to go to for this, but I just want to see if anyone else can relate to what I am going through.

To make a long story short, during the last 3 years of law school I have sacrificed most -- if not all -- of my time (and personal life) to getting high grades in ls, getting a "biglaw" job in my hometown, and landing a clerkship. I did very well in school and achieved all of these goals. However, somewhere throughout that period, I realized that I began to suffer form a mild, chronic form of depression. Naively, I thought I'd feel enthusiastic again once I graduated, but it has only gotten worse. I don't feel like myself at all, and I am doubting my ability and desire to pass the bar, work as a lawyer, and move forward. I feel like I have lost all motivation or energy do get to the point where I can really do any of these things... I went to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with dysthemia -- a low grade, chronic depression. I realize depression is pretty common among law students/professionals, and I know the added stress of the bar isn't helping, but I just want to reach out to see if anyone else has gone through something similar to me or can relate somehow and would be willing to offer me their thoughts, experience, and how they overcame this period, since right now I am really struggling (and I say that --thank Lord -- not to imply that I am in any way a danger to myself or anyone else, but only with respect to keeping hope that I will somehow get back to my old, normal self)...

Any thoughts are welcome. And I apologize for making such a dramatic post; I just figure that some of you might relate and maybe can lend me some perspective about how to overcome this rut.


I would recommend a discussion about antidepressants with your health care professional or doctor.

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justtrying

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Re: Depression during bar prep

Postby justtrying » Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:46 pm

Neve wrote:
jaydee2016 wrote:I know that an online forum is not the place to go to for this, but I just want to see if anyone else can relate to what I am going through.

To make a long story short, during the last 3 years of law school I have sacrificed most -- if not all -- of my time (and personal life) to getting high grades in ls, getting a "biglaw" job in my hometown, and landing a clerkship. I did very well in school and achieved all of these goals. However, somewhere throughout that period, I realized that I began to suffer form a mild, chronic form of depression. Naively, I thought I'd feel enthusiastic again once I graduated, but it has only gotten worse. I don't feel like myself at all, and I am doubting my ability and desire to pass the bar, work as a lawyer, and move forward. I feel like I have lost all motivation or energy do get to the point where I can really do any of these things... I went to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with dysthemia -- a low grade, chronic depression. I realize depression is pretty common among law students/professionals, and I know the added stress of the bar isn't helping, but I just want to reach out to see if anyone else has gone through something similar to me or can relate somehow and would be willing to offer me their thoughts, experience, and how they overcame this period, since right now I am really struggling (and I say that --thank Lord -- not to imply that I am in any way a danger to myself or anyone else, but only with respect to keeping hope that I will somehow get back to my old, normal self)...

Any thoughts are welcome. And I apologize for making such a dramatic post; I just figure that some of you might relate and maybe can lend me some perspective about how to overcome this rut.


I would recommend a discussion about antidepressants with your health care professional or doctor.


But I wouldn't start antidepressants now. The side effects can be pretty annoying, and it's only a couple weeks out from the bar exam. May be something to consider starting right after it, though.

jaydee2016

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Re: Depression during bar prep

Postby jaydee2016 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 7:07 pm

I was prescribed 50mg of an ssri (Zoloft). But I decided to hold out for exactly that reason. I'm also terrified of medicine, as I'm scared it may make things worse or that I'll depend on them forever. Obviously this is all something I need to discuss with my psychiatrist, but I felt like she was a bit dismissive with my concerns, tho did agree that I could wait until after the bar.

Anyone else begin antidepressants as an adult, specifically for dysthemia or other form of depression, and can maybe speak to their experience? Ive read other threads on this, but I can't relate to most of those posters. I'm assuming ill share more in common with ppl on tls.

Thanks again for the responses. Insincerely appreciate it.

Neve

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Re: Depression during bar prep

Postby Neve » Sat Jun 25, 2016 7:13 pm

jaydee2016 wrote:I was prescribed 50mg of an ssri (Zoloft). But I decided to hold out for exactly that reason. I'm also terrified of medicine, as I'm scared it may make things worse or that I'll depend on them forever. Obviously this is all something I need to discuss with my psychiatrist, but I felt like she was a bit dismissive with my concerns, tho did agree that I could wait until after the bar.

Anyone else begin antidepressants as an adult, specifically for dysthemia or other form of depression, and can maybe speak to their experience? Ive read other threads on this, but I can't relate to most of those posters. I'm assuming ill share more in common with ppl on tls.

Thanks again for the responses. Insincerely appreciate it.

I have been on Prozac twice. Starting it always made me sleepy and fatigued. Then after a few weeks, the side effects disappear. I started Celexa after I passed the bar while hunting for a job. Celexa was great. My doctor started me on the smallest dose and stepped it up. As a result, I experienced no negative side effects. I would discuss the side effects with your doctor as well as an option to step up the prescription. A good doctor won't give you a large dose right off the bat. I don't see any reason to wait on starting the medication if it's done the right way - step up a small dose.

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Re: Depression during bar prep

Postby justtrying » Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:05 am

jaydee2016 wrote:I was prescribed 50mg of an ssri (Zoloft). But I decided to hold out for exactly that reason. I'm also terrified of medicine, as I'm scared it may make things worse or that I'll depend on them forever. Obviously this is all something I need to discuss with my psychiatrist, but I felt like she was a bit dismissive with my concerns, tho did agree that I could wait until after the bar.

Anyone else begin antidepressants as an adult, specifically for dysthemia or other form of depression, and can maybe speak to their experience? Ive read other threads on this, but I can't relate to most of those posters. I'm assuming ill share more in common with ppl on tls.

Thanks again for the responses. Insincerely appreciate it.


I've been on a bunch of stuff. Was originally diagnosed with depression, then they determined it was bipolar (which is why the SSRIs were terrible for me) and put me on a mood stabilizer eventually. Was on meds for a total of probably 10+ years. The time on the mood stabilizer was the best I've felt. It helped with everything. Not just the depression, but also anxiety. Other forms of antidepressants helped too, though not as much. But eventually I decided to come off the mood stabilizer because I'd been symptom-free for years and just didn't want to be on them longer than I really had to be. Coming off of it was horrible. Had to very slowly wean off over the course of about 9 months. But I do think it was worth it for what it got me through before then.

If you think your symptoms are interfering with your ability to work, enjoy life, and have relationships, I think it's definitely worth trying out. As much as I said coming off of the mood stabilizer was rough, that's also because I was on it for so many years. Additionally, all meds are different. Coming off the regular antidepressants was much less severe. You can always stop once you start. But trying it out in that time between the bar and starting your job might be ideal.



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