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Am I the only complete failure here?

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Omph, I know you don't intend to, and it's just a byproduct of how intensely you feel about the subject, but sometimes you vaaaaaguely offend me (minus the vaguely) by how lecture-y you are about mental health. It sounds like you're saying "even if you've experienced it, go read up on it anyway because I understand it and you don't", which makes me feel like you're minimizing what I've gone through (without knowing any details) or subjugating it to your own experiences. I'm sorry but other people have been through hell too, trying to help themselves or loved ones. You don't get to be the only authority on this. Don't treat the rest of us like ignorant children please.

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4 minutes ago, kiamia said:

Omph, I know you don't intend to, and it's just a byproduct of how intensely you feel about the subject, but sometimes you vaaaaaguely offend me (minus the vaguely) by how lecture-y you are about mental health. It sounds like you're saying "even if you've experienced it, go read up on it anyway because I understand it and you don't", which makes me feel like you're minimizing what I've gone through (without knowing any details) or subjugating it to your own experiences. I'm sorry but other people have been through hell too, trying to help themselves or loved ones. You don't get to be the only authority on this. Don't treat the rest of us like ignorant children please.

Fair enough. It's not my intention to minimize other people's experiences (and for the record, I thought your comments in this thread were helpful). :)

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12 minutes ago, omph said:

Describing someone's depressive symptoms as "wallowing" is blameful. 

Probably someone who is feeling fine and dandy wouldn't interpret it that way and would shrug it off.

When you're dealing with someone who says they feel worthless, depressed, and alone, those comments often cut way deeper. That's because one of the features of depression is a constant feeling of debilitating guilt and shame that you are thereby reinforcing. People in this state can be extremely vulnerable. It's important to bear that in mind.

The reason I'm saying this is not because I want to be on a high horse. There is a time and place for Diplock's brand of reality check. That time is not when someone says they are experiencing symptoms suggestive of clinical depression. 

The OP expressed to me that they were so upset by some of the responses in this thread that they couldn't even bring themselves to look at it anymore. Another poster who was lurking expressed a similar sentiment to me.

I recognize that everyone here was trying to help. It's important to consider feedback about how effectual your advice is in different circumstances. I'm just trying to say, when a post raises the spectre of mental illness, moderate your tone appropriately if you want to offer constructive help.

Much as I don't appreciate the personal insult, Bob, you are right. I am looking at this issue from the point of view of someone who's been there. That absolutely informs my approach, and it should.

 

I agree with omph here, using pejorative terms such as "wallowing" (which I unfortunately did and now regret) is not appropriate for someone who is struggling. A person in difficulty does not need to be cut down further with subtle attacks. This is one of the major problems we have dealing with mental health these days, people are outwardly empathetic, but subtly nonetheless attack the victim. 

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In any event, I've said what I'd like to say here and probably further discussion is not helpful, especially if I am getting preachy. (Sorry about that!) I'll leave off for now, and thanks to everyone for their thoughts on this subject. :)

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13 minutes ago, Livinginamerica said:

I agree with omph here, using pejorative terms such as "wallowing" (which I unfortunately did and now regret) is not appropriate for someone who is struggling. A person in difficulty does not need to be cut down further with subtle attacks. This is one of the major problems we have dealing with mental health these days, people are outwardly empathetic, but subtly nonetheless attack the victim. 

Sure. That's a valid point, and you've made it without casting blame or suggesting that the people who used the word did something terrible (intentionally or otherwise). Not being extremely careful and considering every way one's words might be taken is something that can be improved upon, but not a moral failing.

But I can see how when one is already feeling guilt - a predominant emotion for the depressed - words like "wallow" might make it worse, even if they're used without harshness and judgment.

Edited by kiamia
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I'm not going to get into a tit for tat. The one thing I agree with wholeheartedly is that this is a great community by Internet standards, or even by real world standards,  considering the mix of personalities and backgrounds here. So on that basis, I acknowledge good intentions all around and if someone wants to get self-righteous and lecturey well, I may do it tomorrow on some other topic, especially if someone brings up economic class.

That said, however much you disagree with my advice and my approach, please don't imagine I lack for exposure to the sorts of people you claim to advocate on behalf of, here. I have a largely legal-aid criminal defence practice. Poverty, homelessness, addiction, mental health, you name it. Yes, I see and relate to those clients regularly. And they must like something about how I do my job, because they voluntarily come back to me for representation, and send their friends, rather than go to the more empathetic lawyer down the street. I'm not saying that proves I'm right in this or in all cases. Only that some people like how I approach them. And I reject the suggestion that as soon as anyone's life sucks the "tough love" approach is somehow insensitive. As in ... what? It's only appropriate to tell someone to knuckle down and deal with reality when reality happens to be great?

I'll leave off the rest for now. I'm not out to fight with anyone. I can deal with the fact that you don't agree with me. I can even deal with the fact that you believe my attitude towards solving problems emerges from some kind of out-dated anti-social-justice-cum-oppressive blame-the-victim mindset that perpetuates privilege and single-faceted narratives that don't adequately respect alternative experiences, or however you would care to describe it. At the extreme, you can make me sound like a testosterone-fueled troglodyte dismissing everyone's problems, and I can make you sound like a bleeding-heart ninny spouting nonsense and platitudes. Let's agree the truth is somewhere in the middle. What I don't like, is when in the process of dismissing my approach and opinions you assume i don't share your exposure to real people with real problems. I come by my perspective and my views as honestly as you come by yours. Doesn't make them right. Just makes them real.

---

P.S. I stopped partway through this reply, and it doesn't take into account the last several replies which came while I was typing.

P.P.S. Since it's become a point of some focus, when I described the OP as "wallowing" it wasn't meant to be a pejorative, though I can see how it could be taken that way. Speaking as someone who has at least some experience with depression (though not clinically diagnosed or treated - not sure where the OP falls there still) I consider "wallowing" as I use the term to be an unfortunate but probably necessary stage in working through certain problems. So it's bad in the sense that wallowing isn't particularly healthy or to be encouraged. But it's not bad in the sense that it's the person's fault when it's happening. It's just something to get through as quickly as possible, to the degree that it can be controlled.

P.P.P.S. I really don't want to fight with anyone, but what I just wrote above invites a certain kind of reply. Yes, I just suggested that a mental health state can be "controlled." And yes, that leads down all kinds of rabbit holes. I agree not every mental health state can be controlled. But I reject an all-or-nothing approach to such things, short of clinical treatment and diagnosis. I don't even know how to talk about a problem if we reject all possibility of even controlling one's own life. I agree I'd be a terrible person to seek advice from if someone was really in that state. But it's also not an assumption I'll use for everyday purposes. I assume the possibility of self-control in all of my advice. If that offends, so be it.

Edited by Diplock
Post script x3
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Fair enough. You're right, I was getting a bit overzealous in this thread, and that was out of line. My apologies. I definitely don't want to suggest that my experience is more important than other people's. :)

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I've got a couple buddies in the same boat as the OP, friends who I know are just as attractive candidates as me or most anyone else in my cohort. Of course they're not failures. They seem to have drawn the short straw and it's just the worst. Nobody thinks any less of them because most of us have a sense of "there but for the grace of God." It's just hard to know what to say that won't be redundant, patronising, or generally unhelpful. I hope people who find themselves in the same position as the OP understand that none of their peers view them as failures, even if they may feel like it (as any of us probably would, in the same situation).

Edited by Mountebank
Grammar
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You've got to keep some perspective. Complete failure would be drunk driving or neglecting your dependents or something. You're already doing so much better than the bottom tier of degenerates who are completely indifferent to people who aren't them. You are also superior to the goldbricking frauds who lead lives of parasitism and indolence. Finally you are free of major injustice and exploitation. No one is sticking a rifle in you or your kid's face because an American or Russian advisor so ordered them. So chin up, etc.

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Because the number one thing you want to hear when you feel like a failure is "no one is sticking a rifle in your face because you live in a poor, developing nation, chin up". 

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10 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Because the number one thing you want to hear when you feel like a failure is "no one is sticking a rifle in your face because you live in a poor, developing nation, chin up". 

I often console myself with the thought that things could be a lot worse.

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My main concern with what the OP is going through, and I'm happy to debate this or hear alternative perspectives, is that it's not your typical depression-leads-to-rejection situation. Rather, it's the reverse, and that's why I worry about only tackling the mental health side of things. I think in this situation the only solution to the problem is success (of some sort). We don't live in a world where we can convince ourselves that not having a job is okay - I mean, it is, really, in certain situations, but that's not the belief we're all engrained with. If the OP is in the middle of a crisis, then by all means stop and deal with it. Otherwise each day that passes will only make things worse. 

That's why I feel the OP's "I don't want any advice - I've heard it all" might not be the best approach (which is what I think Diplock was alluding to in his original post). It sounds a bit defeatist. I find it difficult to believe that nobody on the forums could possibly offer anything new. And limiting ourselves only to things the OP asks to hear presupposes that the OP already knows everything that could be beneficial to them. 

For what it's worth, I find it incredible that the OP is still hanging in there. I don't know if I could've. I tried to sit down this morning and type out how I deal with rejection/failure, and came to the disheartening realization that I've never really coped well with either.

But the one major thing I would've done differently is that I would've gotten as much help as I could, and used every resource at my disposal. Every person I meet, every successful friend, every alter ego doling out advice on the internet, every family member's connections, every free networking session, support group, therapist referral, every cheese sample being given out at the grocery store (I mean, not literally every one - limit yourself accordingly). I wouldn't have let guilt, shame, or a sense of defeat stop me.

That's the best advice I can give. Nobody is looking down on you. And don't feel bad about asking for and getting help either. Because once you feel better, I guarantee you'll pay it all forward.

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7 minutes ago, kiamia said:

My main concern with what the OP is going through, and I'm happy to debate this or hear alternative perspectives, is that it's not your typical depression-leads-to-rejection situation. Rather, it's the reverse, and that's why I worry about only tackling the mental health side of things. I think in this situation the only solution to the problem is success (of some sort). We don't live in a world where we can convince ourselves that not having a job is okay - I mean, it is, really, in certain situations, but that's not the belief we're all engrained with. If the OP is in the middle of a crisis, then by all means stop and deal with it. Otherwise each day that passes will only make things worse. 

That's why I feel the OP's "I don't want any advice - I've heard it all" might not be the best approach (which is what I think Diplock was alluding to in his original post). It sounds a bit defeatist. I find it difficult to believe that nobody on the forums could possibly offer anything new. And limiting ourselves only to things the OP asks to hear presupposes that the OP already knows everything that could be beneficial to them. 

For what it's worth, I find it incredible that the OP is still hanging in there. I don't know if I could've. I tried to sit down this morning and type out how I deal with rejection/failure, and came to the disheartening realization that I've never really coped well with either.

But the one major thing I would've done differently is that I would've gotten as much help as I could, and used every resource at my disposal. Every person I meet, every successful friend, every alter ego doling out advice on the internet, every family member's connections, every free networking session, support group, therapist referral, every cheese sample being given out at the grocery store (I mean, not literally every one - limit yourself accordingly). I wouldn't have let guilt, shame, or a sense of defeat stop me.

That's the best advice I can give. Nobody is looking down on you. And don't feel bad about asking for and getting help either. Because once you feel better, I guarantee you'll pay it all forward.

Thinking of a recent IRL discussion (and something I'd read), one of the reasons for discrimination or lack of understanding about mental illness is that for some things there's significant overlap to the external observer in terms of some behaviours, e.g. is someone depressed and literally can't go to work that morning, or (non-mental health) sad/tired/unhappy and doesn't want to? Or in other things, is someone alcoholic or just wanted to drink at lunch and didn't care about the consequences? Drug-addicted or just likes certain drugs? Etc.

When there's someone here who has gotten through law school, absent some indication that they have mental health issues, I tend to assume they don't have such or don't want any advice to be filtered through a, however well-meaning, filter. So while I'm definitely sympathetic - I don't practice law PT and have a non-legal FT job because the practice of law was all chocolate and rainbows - I also know that for some things (law and otherwise), someone giving me advice even when I didn't want it would have been helpful. So I'm inclined to offer such advice even if unwanted (and similarly, though I ask for the OK first, I'll even offer advice in addition to sympathy in real-life... :rolleyes: ).

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40 minutes ago, epeeist said:

Thinking of a recent IRL discussion (and something I'd read), one of the reasons for discrimination or lack of understanding about mental illness is that for some things there's significant overlap to the external observer in terms of some behaviours, e.g. is someone depressed and literally can't go to work that morning, or (non-mental health) sad/tired/unhappy and doesn't want to? Or in other things, is someone alcoholic or just wanted to drink at lunch and didn't care about the consequences? Drug-addicted or just likes certain drugs? Etc.

When there's someone here who has gotten through law school, absent some indication that they have mental health issues, I tend to assume they don't have such or don't want any advice to be filtered through a, however well-meaning, filter. So while I'm definitely sympathetic - I don't practice law PT and have a non-legal FT job because the practice of law was all chocolate and rainbows - I also know that for some things (law and otherwise), someone giving me advice even when I didn't want it would have been helpful. So I'm inclined to offer such advice even if unwanted (and similarly, though I ask for the OK first, I'll even offer advice in addition to sympathy in real-life...  ). [emphasis added]

I don't think there's any danger of you upsetting a depressed forum member. Even at full mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness, I can barely get through one of your posts. What are the chances they could?

Edited by kiamia
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39 minutes ago, kiamia said:

I don't think there's any danger of you upsetting a depressed forum member. Even at full mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness, I can barely get through one of your posts. What are the chances they could?

So, it's only people without any mental health issues (save, perhaps, anger management issues) who I upset?

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I think it's a lot to ask for posters on an anonymous internet forum to take on the responsibility of recognizing when someone has a clinical, serious condition and when it is just the normal vicissitudes of human existence. We do our best, but without seeing anyone's face, hearing their tone of voice or knowing their backstory, it's almost impossible to really know what's behind the posts and which ones are truthful and which ones are in good faith. Yes, try to generally be respectful and conduct yourself professionally and be empathetic to everyone, but I think it is the mix of responses that is the greatest strength of this forum. I think it is important for a person to get both the nurturing, touchy-feely responses and the tough love responses, as well as everything in between. Then they can pick and choose what is most helpful to them. Also let's try not to take any of this stuff personally. The posters don't really know you and they're responding to the idea, not the person. If someone isn't healthy enough to recognize this, this probably isn't a good thing for them and they shouldn't be reading the responses.

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I think the points Diplock touched on are a great starting point  and are necessary in order to put things into perspective.

We all have moments where we question whether or not law was in fact a viable career choice. That being said, just because you see others succeed and it appears that they have the perfect life, does not mean that is the case by any means. You may know people that have just been called to the bar, taken back as an associate at a top Bay Street Firm, are travelling Europe for the summer, and appear to be living the Canadian  Dream.Looks can be deceiving. You cannot focus on the accomplishments of others because that will only make you feel more depressed.

If being a lawyer is your dream, you cannot quit and have to pursue this to the end. By being vulnerable and opening yourself up to criticism either here or with close friends, I believe you will better be able to hone in on the reasons why you have been unsuccessful to date. Failure is a part of success and if you really want to achieve your goal, you need to accept that there will be a few roadblocks along the way.

I am rooting for you, but you have to be able to root for yourself and fight for what you want.No one else can get you to where you want to be, they can only offer you assistance if you are so inclined to  accept it.

I hope that you find the strength in yourself to allow yourself some time to mourn your perceived failures, and then pick yourself up and try, try, try,again.

FYI: I  was also a June 2016 grad, who has just completed articling in Toronto, and went to law school in Toronto. Unfortunately, I failed both bars twice and do not feel good about my performance on the latest June re-write. I had to watch all my friends get Called this week and could not joint them. Although, I was deeply heartbroken earlier this week, I refuse to let my past failures prevent me from going at things again in order to achieve my dream.

Many of us here have similar stories about how we have fallen.What makes a person is how they handle the tough times. Resiliency is key. Are you going to let this process control you? Or are you going to take control of your own destiny and emerge victorious? The answers to these questions only you know the answer to.

Best of luck!!

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Just FYI in general.... sometimes the best way to deal with failure is to know when to walk away, and then walk away. Beating your head against a wall because you have a dream and don't want to give up on it is not always productive. There is a time to cut your losses and run, and translate what you learned from your mistakes into something else.

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Providence..  While I agree with you to an extent, based on the limited information provided, I  do not believe that  this individual has insurmountable barriers that will prevent him/her from every being able to practice law. At the end of the day, it all goes back to how badly each individual subjectively wants this career. To explore ways into this profession in the traditional sense may not work for everyone. If the ends do not justify the means  for a particular person, then there is nothing wrong with walking away from this profession.

However, many people have chosen alternate paths in order to become a lawyer in Ontario and across Canada that do not follow the traditional path. If the LPP program is not a viable alternative for someone, there is the possibility of articling out of province, or continuing to try until a position becomes available. 

I refuse to believe that if someone wants  something bad enough that they cannot achieve it. Call it wishful thinking or impractical, but I have encountered hundreds of people who had roadblocks along the way in this profession,and all managed to eventually reach their goal. I think the reason why they did was because they never quit. Again, these people had certain personality traits that enabled them to be successful and not everyone has the personal strength to continue on after facing rejection after rejection.

Nonetheless, better to have exhausted ALL of your options and then bow out, then quit when there are still opportunities left. In the case of the individual who began this topic, I believe that they still have the power to see this through to the end; especially if they utilize the resources provided to them and reach out to others. 

As a final remark, I thought it appropriate to summarize the struggles of many others I have talked to in this field who have shared their struggles with me to demonstrate that MOST of us in law at one point or another do experience failure.

Many of us have experienced failure at some point or another whether we would like to admit it or not. Hundreds of us have chosen to go overseas because we were unable to get into schools in Ontario or in other provinces. Furthermore, many of us had to apply to law school not once, but twice before we got accepted. Others, had to write the LSAT more than once to get an acceptable grade in order to even be considered by any single school here in Canada. Those that made it into law school may have had difficulties finding an articling job, and then chose to do the LPP program.Following the LPP program, they managed to find a job at the firm they interned at. Another student may have articled at a Bay Street firm, and then now cannot find work as a first year associate. Plenty of smart people also struggled and failed to pass the bar. 

The examples above, demonstrate that this profession is NOT an easy one. As soon as you climb one ladder, there is always a new one to climb with new roadblocks and issues that arise. It never ends. The constant ups and downs may not be for everyone, and that is OK.

If you want this bad enough, you cannot be discouraged by a minor setback. At the end of the day, once you are a lawyer, the fact that you struggled to find an articling job will not matter.

 

 

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Joanne25 said:

Providence..  While I agree with you to an extent, based on the limited information provided, I  do not believe that  this individual has insurmountable barriers that will prevent him/her from every being able to practice law. At the end of the day, it all goes back to how badly each individual subjectively wants this career. To explore ways into this profession in the traditional sense may not work for everyone. If the ends do not justify the means  for a particular person, then there is nothing wrong with walking away from this profession.

However, many people have chosen alternate paths in order to become a lawyer in Ontario and across Canada that do not follow the traditional path. If the LPP program is not a viable alternative for someone, there is the possibility of articling out of province, or continuing to try until a position becomes available. 

I refuse to believe that if someone wants  something bad enough that they cannot achieve it. Call it wishful thinking or impractical, but I have encountered hundreds of people who had roadblocks along the way in this profession,and all managed to eventually reach their goal. I think the reason why they did was because they never quit. Again, these people had certain personality traits that enabled them to be successful and not everyone has the personal strength to continue on after facing rejection after rejection.

Nonetheless, better to have exhausted ALL of your options and then bow out, then quit when there are still opportunities left. In the case of the individual who began this topic, I believe that they still have the power to see this through to the end; especially if they utilize the resources provided to them and reach out to others. 

As a final remark, I thought it appropriate to summarize the struggles of many others I have talked to in this field who have shared their struggles with me to demonstrate that MOST of us in law at one point or another do experience failure.

Many of us have experienced failure at some point or another whether we would like to admit it or not. Hundreds of us have chosen to go overseas because we were unable to get into schools in Ontario or in other provinces. Furthermore, many of us had to apply to law school not once, but twice before we got accepted. Others, had to write the LSAT more than once to get an acceptable grade in order to even be considered by any single school here in Canada. Those that made it into law school may have had difficulties finding an articling job, and then chose to do the LPP program.Following the LPP program, they managed to find a job at the firm they interned at. Another student may have articled at a Bay Street firm, and then now cannot find work as a first year associate. Plenty of smart people also struggled and failed to pass the bar. 

The examples above, demonstrate that this profession is NOT an easy one. As soon as you climb one ladder, there is always a new one to climb with new roadblocks and issues that arise. It never ends. The constant ups and downs may not be for everyone, and that is OK.

If you want this bad enough, you cannot be discouraged by a minor setback. At the end of the day, once you are a lawyer, the fact that you struggled to find an articling job will not matter.

 

 

 

 

I'm sorry, but this is just not true. "Wanting something badly enough" isn't sufficient. Plenty of people want to be lawyers very badly but never make it into law school. Should they spend the rest of their lives "refusing to give up on their dreams" or should they just find something else they like to do? There are plenty of actors, musicians, artists, athletes who want it very badly but never make it.

I am not necessarily saying that OP, as someone who has finished law school, is at that point of never making it. But if the expense and stress of the wait to get a position is too much, it's OK to walk away, temporarily or permanently. It doesn't mean you don't want it or you are giving up. It can be the healthy and self-protective choice. For some people, being without employment for months and months or longer, or having to try to find and keep paying employment while at the same time looking for a law job, is more than a minor setback.

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