A few months ago, I actually wrote a short submission to an American website which features about lawyers/law students who suffer from depression. My submission did not get published (unlike how I got my posts published on 2 Hong Kong website before), but nonetheless I got an e-mail reply from their editor. Below is what I wrote to him at first.
幾個月前，我其實寫了一篇短文致一個有關律師/法律學生患有抑鬱症的美國網站。 我的短文沒有被發布（不像我之前在香港的兩個網站上能發布我的帖文），但是我收到了網站編輯的電子郵件回覆。 下面就是我寫給他的文章。
I am not that surprised to read that CNN reported that lawyers are one of those occupations being more prone to suicide.
I am a law student, and I literally felt that I had sold my soul to commit to legal studies, first during my undergraduate years in the U.K., then try to bring my soul back in place as I had to quit my master course due to my suicidal behaviours. I can echo to others who say that law brings about a great deal of loneliness. For many others, they think that as we choose to do law, which is always classified as one of those professional subjects to be listed alongside architecture, medicine, etc., we should be more stress-tolerant and more academic capable. There is also the idea that we are supposed to be more sociable and to demonstrate our so-called interpersonal skills, as how we will brag about our teamwork in training contract applications and when we attend those law events to impress the partners at law firms. We do so much legal debating and mooting to be verbally competent, but the sad reality is that we can rumble about many things, but we cannot explain our ourselves well. Before each exam and essay deadline, we tie ourselves to that desk, go into our own deep thoughts about how to finish all the work in time and get those grades, and quite often, I am one of those more sentimental ones who would go through this kind of processes in tears. I have other law student friends who provided me their personal accounts of emotional breakdown due to academic pressure, even way before I was diagnosed with depression.
The competition out there in the actual legal field is even more fierce, and it just adds an extra layer of stress. How are we able to confess to the health services that we are feeling that everything is too hard to take? We are supposed to appear bright, and we are supposed to do magic when we get that scarce place at a law firm as a trainee for those in the firm who are higher up in the hierarchy, and then perform magic again for our future-to-be clients when we are qualified, right? Worse, what if some spread the word, and then the whole legal field comes to know that I was once a depression patient, so they see me as a risky candidate to take? I have chosen to mask my emotions in front of every person, and only take down that mask when I am all by myself.
在法律界這領域，競爭一天比一天激烈，又增加了一層額外的壓力了。 我們如何能夠去向醫生承認，我們感到一切都太難應付了呢？ 我們應該表現得聰明，我們應該是魔術師，好好考得在一家大律師事務所的實習生資格，表現理想，然後再次在考獲執照後為我們未來會出現的大客戶變魔術，對吧？ 更糟糕的是，如果有人傳播一些話，然後整個法律界都知道，我曾經是一個抑鬱症患者，所以他們就會認為錄取我是為候選的實習生是一個冒險吧？ 於是，我就一直選擇在每個人面前掩蓋我的情緒，只有當我自己一個人時才取下面具。
Only after I become a depression patient, I realise, however competitive I am, I truly have to consider if law is really too much for me, whether it might really be better-off for me to opt for another career in the future. Then I go into a vicious cycle of self-questioning: maybe I will enjoy a legal career and find practicing law very rewarding (the why-do-I-love-law question)? I have always wanted this job title named lawyer, to get a certain degree of self-satisfaction in terms of social status, don’t I? Oh, but maybe besides my EQ and many other skills, I am not even physically strong enough to be able to endure long working hours day after day? Perhaps, even I am not as good as the other law students, I can make myself to become good enough to compete if I can increase my self-confidence?
只有在我成為抑鬱症患者之後，我才意識到，不管我有多麼愛競爭，我真的要考慮，讀法律對我來說是不是真的對我來說太難了，未來選擇另一個職業是不是真的會更好。 然後，我進入一個自我提問的惡性循環：也許我會享受法律事業，並發現做執業律師非常享受（這是個為什麼我愛法律的問題）？ 我一直想要這個名為律師的職銜，在社會地位方面獲得一定程度的自我滿足，不是嗎？ 哦，但也許除了考慮我的EQ和許多其他技能，我身體就以經不夠強，不足以能夠日復一日去忍受漫長的工作時間吧？ 也許，即使我不像其他法律學生一樣厲害，如果我可以增加我的自信的話，我就可以去爭強我的競爭力？
Am I right in supposing that qualified lawyers who get depression will not switch to another career as an exit of depression? What about law students then? I do not know the answer, maybe that’s because I am still under medical treatment by a psychiatrist. I don’t even know if I should go back to do my master course when I am fully recovered from my depression. I do not think that academic stress was the sole cause of my depression, but my 6th sense has warned me that I may put myself in the danger of triggering a recurrence of depression if I deliver myself back to law school. What will you do if you are in my shoes?
患上抑鬱症的律師是不是不會轉去從事另一個事業，以作為抑鬱症的出口呢？ 那麼法律學生呢？ 我不知道答案是甚麼，也許這是因為我還在接受精神科醫生的治療。 我甚至不知道，當我從我的抑鬱症完全康復後，我是否應該回去繼續我的碩士課程。 我不認為學術壓力是我抑鬱症的唯一原因，但我的第六感覺警告我，如果我把自己帶回法學院，我可能會使自己陷入引發抑鬱症復發的危險。 如果你是我，你會做什麼？
Within a week, I received a short reply from the site’s editor who gave me a few lines of response:
My sense is that law school and a legal career is not for you. While they don’t “cause” depression, they are a major stressor that can trigger depressions.
He then suggested I could go read a book named “Undoing Depression” by Richard O’Connor, Ph.D., which talks about depression, of course. I doubted his response, and for sure, I did not go get that book he told me to read as I could not bother. LOL.
然後他建議我可以去閱讀一本名為”Undoing Depression” by Richard O’Connor, Ph.D.的書，內容當然是說抑鬱症啦。 我對他的回答存疑，而當然，我沒有去閱讀那本書，因為我太懶了。LOL。
Today, I tell both myself and others, depression plays no role in stopping us in doing what we are doing already or wanting to do, it is about not letting what we do to be a stressor. As long as that thing we do dose not remain a strong stressor, even professionals like an American lawyer with a bar qualification has no right to say anything to stop us from sticking to that ‘stressor’. As mentioned in my previous posts, I am going back to law school provided that all goes fine in these coming months. I have decided that I would rather choose to train myself to unlearn ‘law’ as a stressor than to stay away from the legal sector.
今天，我告訴自己和別人，抑鬱症不會阻止我們做我們已經在做或想做的事情，是要讓事情不成為一個壓力源頭。 只要事情不再是一個強大的壓力源頭，即使像一個有美國律師資格的專業人士都沒有權利說任何東西，去阻止我們堅持在這「壓力源頭」上。 正如我在前幾篇帖文中提到，只要在接下來的幾個月裡一切都過得順利，我將回到法學院。 我決定，我寧願選擇訓練自己去不想成「法律」就是一個壓力源頭，而不是遠離法律。
Then one day, someone I know told me that her mental problems made her boss to question her ability in staying in her current post, and her doctor told her that she could have considered not only switching jobs, but switching to work in another completely different field. It goes both ways: you can say that it was by staying in this current sector of her job that made her build up her mental problems, or, you can say that this is nonsense since she had been working on her current job for years, so having mental problems should not defeat her from doing the same old job. This was just like my dilemma of which I wrote in my submission. I told her that it should be the latter, for she had the abilities as I had witnessed, what her boss did was an act of discrimination against mentally ill persons.
然後有一天，一位我認識的人告訴我，她的心理問題讓她的老闆質疑她能否留在當前職位的能力，以她的醫生告訴她，她其實可以考慮轉換工作到另一個完全不同的領域。 就用兩種方式去看這事情：你可以說，她是因為一直留在她當前的工作崗位，才造成她的精神問題，但你或者可以說這並不成立，因為她一直多年來都能夠做她目前的工作， 所以心理問題不應該打賭她做同樣的舊工作。 這就像我寫去投稿的短文書中所說的困境。我告訴她，答案應該是後者，因為我有目睹她的能力，她老闆所做的是對精神病人的歧視行為。
Even psychiatrists would not understand their patients completely, and trust me, they made mistaken or wrong assumptions about us very easily too, recalling the interaction with the first psychiatrist I saw…
I don’t want to let myself to be put off by what the different professionals say, unless it is me who in the future wanting to do something non-legal based, but again, it is my say, not their say just because I have depression.
I might sound too forceful but please stop those discriminating thoughts or acts against us with mental problems, that’s all I want to say.