Bad Year

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by NWAD, Jun 22, 2014.

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  1. NWAD

    NWAD Member

    So here goes.

    Basic background information - M, mid-thirties, married, kids.

    I lose my job. I either have to go out of state to find a new job in my field, or I have to change fields. I've always wanted to go into law, so I take the LSAT, get admitted into a local law school, and start attending with the goal of graduating and becoming a lawyer.

    The problem is that this shifts the income responsibility to my wife. We talked about law school (one doesn't "accidentally" go to law school), how difficult it would be for both of us, how we needed to do this in order to have long term financial stability for the family, etc. We went into this eyes-wide-open, or so I thought. On top of that, my wife and I were already having marriage problems.

    The first year of law school, what's called 1L, is a pressure cooker. The saying is that in 1L they scare you to death, in 2L they work you to death, and in 3L they bore you to death. People break down crying in the hallways or library. It screws you up. It breaks you down mentally. If you've ever seen The Paper Chase (1973), that's a good depiction. And the workload - the workload is 12 to 16 hours a day 6 to 7 days a week if you want to keep on top of everything. It was tough. Made it through first semester, got good grades (grades are everything and are curved in law school, another source of pressure).

    The marriage problems my wife and I had before law school were amplified by law school. The low point was late February when my wife had a massive verbal fight. I cried that night, letting out the pressure of law school and my disintrigating marriage. After that, my wife and I pretty much stopped all meaningful communication. She's angry and resentful that she has to work so hard.

    The other consequence is that my depression and suicidal thoughts, which had been in remission since my late teens, came back with a vengeance. I almost attempted that night, but a plan did form in my mind, and I carry that plan around with me. In the 4 months since that fight, that plan has become like an old friend, a fallback position. If I don't pass my classes (which at one point I was in serious jeopardy of doing), there's always The Plan. If I don't make either Moot Court or Law Journal, there's always The Plan.

    The Plan. It sounds like a bad movie.

    Thanks to my study group and some damn hard work, I managed to salvage some decent grades from this semester. Missed Moot Court, will find out about Law Journal in the next week or two. One year (the toughest year) down. Two more to go.

    But all of that doesn't change the fact that my marriage may already be over. I'm really broken up about that; I don't make friends easily at all. Maybe 1 or 2 that I would actually call a friend. I have plenty of acquaintances, no real close friends. I'm also terrified of what will happen when my wife and I do split up. She can be a mean and vindictive person, and I have no doubt what she'll tell our kids when she gets custody (she will, so long as I'm a law student). I don't think I could take my kids eventually seeing daddy as "the bad guy." I don't want to lose my best friend, but it seems that I can do no right as far as she's concerned.

    The ebb and flow of emotions is incredible during this time. I left my CrimPro final (last final of the semester), and all I could do is drink, then fall asleep for a whole day. I was certain that I had failed most of my classes - ConLaw, CrimLaw, and probably Employment Law. I just felt like ending it all right then. Then I found out my grades about a month later (just very recently), and I was on cloud 9. Right until I wasn't invited on Moot Court.

    All of this sounds like petty complaints of a student who didn't get the grade he wanted, but you have to understand that grades and school clubs like Moot Court and Law Journal have a tremendous impact on your ability to 1) get a job as a lawyer, and 2) impact your salary. Those on both Moot Court and Law Journal make approximately $20,000 a year more than those who were not their first year.

    There is a very real possibility that I could graduate in several years several hundred thousand dollars in debt, with no wife and kids who hate me. That's a horrible future to face.

    I just don't see the point of it all. Not right now, anyway.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2014
  2. Perfect Melancholy

    Perfect Melancholy SF Friend

    Hello NWAD, welcome to SF, I wanted to say how fantastic it is you are still trying with law school it sounds tough even without the added pressure of what is going on around you, and although they are not what you wanted massive congrats on the grades.

    You say you are on a summer break now? This might be the ideal time to start to focus on you and your family, although tough I know and yeah a shitty situation I think all of these things at once are impacting on how you feel mentally and adding to the suicidal feelings and thoughts.

    I think your end goal whatever happens between you and your wife, is to provide a better future for your kids, that and yourself, those are the important factors. You need to be a little selfish perhaps find what makes you happy with this, if you break up work out how you can see the children and continue your study's a lot to take on.

    You touched in the fact you have suffered these thoughts since your late teens, were you ever diagnosed or spoken to a doctor about these feelings?
  3. NWAD

    NWAD Member

    Thank you for replying Perfect. I appreciate it. Sorry you're feeling crappy today. Hope you feel better.

    Off for summer is a misnomer - it just means I don't have to go to class. I'm working 60+ hour weeks for a firm on a case that's scheduled to go to trial mid-July. Law school never truly ends until you graduate, it just doesn't require you to to go to class every once in a while. :)

    But your larger point is well-received - that is I need to make myself happy. Problem - I have no idea how to do that. As far back as I can remember, I'm only "happy" for very brief periods. The rest of the time, well, life is just sorta there. It's not happy, it's not sad, it just is. I suppose that I divide my life up into two feelings - in pain and not in pain. Mental pain - not physical pain.

    The issue is that my wife and I have lost the ability to communicate on any level deeper than the most superficial - like schedule coordination. Otherwise, it always ends in a fight. There was another poster saying about how his wife of 20 some odd years just left him and he feels empty. I feel the same way - like I've grieved over the death of our marriage in the last three months, but I don't know where to go now. A significant part of me just wants the pain to end.

    I take stock of where I'm at and who I've affected / will miss me if I leave. And that number is shockingly small. My kids, my brother, my parents. That's it. Nothing more.

    I do have a plan for taking the kids to Disney in a few weeks. I promised them and I'll fulfill that promise.

    I've been hospitalized twice in my late teens as a result of two near-successful attempts. I have talked to a doctor about some of my feelings back then, but nothing now. I'm petrified that if I'm committed again they won't let me pass the Bar. C&F (Character and Fitness) will bounce me out. I don't see that as an option right now. Which is why I'm here. I don't have the option of even breathing a word of this to anyone IRL. Even posting this is a risk.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2014
  4. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    NWAD Hi and pleased to meet you, thank you for reaching out on SF, and please allow us to help you as much as we can with helpful suggestions. Wanting to be a lawyer is a wonderful goal, wanting to save your marriage is a more wonderful goal. Lawyers like to arrive at the truth about situations, and I can tell that you really want to save your marriage, that is the truth, but have no idea how to do this given the current situation.

    I can do no better than to advocate(!) you get hold of a copy of "His Needs/Her Needs" by William J. Harley - it is a brilliant divorce buster. Firstly though, tell your wife this is what you're planning to do because what she is hoping and looking for from you (although she might not know how to articulate it now) is that you will make her wellbeing your first priority. That doesn't mean you have to ditch law school - but say to her that because she really does still mean so much to you (as she genuinely does), that you are prepared to do all you can to ensure you make it through as a couple - once she feels you do actually have her best interests at heart, she will be prepared to soften a little and at least hear you out (I would hope).

    All the very best to you and your family, you all are precious :)
  5. Hatshepsut

    Hatshepsut Guest

    I also hope you feel welcome here.
  6. JmpMster

    JmpMster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Aside from the fact that is completely confidential as medical is this directly from

    Untreated mental illness and substance abuse. The most common mistake among grads suffering from mental and substance abuse issues is the failure to get help. In recent years bar examiners have come to accept mental illness as exactly that—illness. There’s an excellent chance that your state will not even inquire about mild depression, anxiety, and so on. ( ) so it is pretty clear aside from making it less likely you will graduate if you do not get help with these things, the only actual disqualifier is for it to go untreated...

    (this is usually the same on pretty much all companies and professions where people claim they "cannot get help as it would destroy career" - it is not getting help that gets one fired or in trouble , it is choosing not to get help that brings up the issues as it shows exceptionally poor judgement.)
  7. NWAD

    NWAD Member

    Thank you. I'll get the book and read it, and telling her that her well-being is my first priority is a good one.
  8. NWAD

    NWAD Member

    The ABA is perfectly reasonable in its response.

    Unfortunately they're not the authority when it comes to Bar applications and admissions - each state's Bar association determines its own admissions guidelines. The state Bar association that I am under requires full and complete disclosure for each and every single diagnosis and treatment received regarding any mental illness or psychiatric disorder, including all doctors seen, medications taken or currently taken, or any other therapy received for the last ten years. Failure to do so is considered an intentional omission and may result in refusal to be admitted to the Bar or Disbarment.

    To clarify - I'm not stating that having a mental disorder is an automatic disqualifier to admission. I'm afraid that having suicidal feelings and idolization would render me an "Character Unfit" for admission to the state Bar regardless if I decided to seek help or not.
  9. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    So happy you've decided to do this NWAD - being a woman with a son your age and having been through stuff myself which required the reading of Harley - I might be QBE'd enough to perhaps foresee what will help your wife and restore her hope - because she will be struggling too, as you've pointed out - I know when the book was first suggested to us and hubby read it first, something in it spoke to him straight away which, actually started to turn everything around. This was 20-something years ago, and I promise you, it is worth it - where there is the will there is the way - and the first thing is to safeguard the will - the rest will follow :)

    [QBE = qualified by experience]
  10. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    Just imagining the benefit of you not needing to do this NWAD - because of finding insights to heal your marriage and keep your family together, the impetus that this will give you, once you know that your wife is fully there for you and your children, flying your colours, being fully supportive - what a wonderful scenario to envisage :)
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