Law and Depression: A Different Perspective

The LLB Law is a very complex degree, and it isn’t for the faint hearted. It is a lot of hard work and dedication but what spurs me on to continue is to achieve my goal of becoming a solicitor. I am now at my third university, yes you read it right. After a mini-breakdown in 2010 I gave up my LLB dream in the final year at my last university. The emotion that day when I was told I couldn’t continue or return to the same university again, due to time constraints and health problems, was devastating.

I am, you see, not a fresh, young ‘spring-chicken’ straight out of college; I am a mature student of 30 years old. I have a job as well. I cannot afford not to have one. The positive I take from suffering with this illness at my age is that I don’t think I could have coped as a teenager or a young adult with this illness.

It is a hard task when you have a mental illness such as depression, each person suffers differently. I have bouts of insomnia, sickness, worthlessness and just general effects associated with depression. However the one thing that motivates me is the knowledge that in September 2011 I gained a place on the LJMU LLB Law program to begin my journey of becoming a solicitor again. It was daunting at my age but my university has been outstanding with their teaching and support.

At 30 years old I should be a government statistic; married with a mortgage and have 2.4 children. Yet I took it upon myself to jump back in with a 90% average of 18-21 year olds to undertake, from scratch, my LLB again. Some people say I am mad and I can’t hold down a job, run a home and go to university full-time, however, I do. I think being a mature student helps me in that I have done what the 90% average age of students are about to experience. I thrive on being busy and sometimes I am borderline obsessive compulsive. But now being the age I am I wouldn’t change anything about my life. I am content and happy and have never felt so good.

Having depression does have its pitfalls but also its advantages. When I’m on a high everything is done and up-to-date. When I’m on a low I know that I have friends of all ages and family and tutors to get me through those dark days. But what I always will say and tell everyone whilst I am back at university is I am proud of how I have returned and I haven’t let my depression beat me. There are thousands of people who suffer every year.

Whomever you are, whatever your age, you can suffer with depression. But like me you can get help and continue with your dreams. Whatever age, if you have a passion for law or any other discipline, and suffer with an illness or are worried about your age, don’t, just go for it. There are more mature and disabled (seen or unseen) students attending university than ever as there are more opportunities now to study than ever before.

© E J Hamnett, 2013

Twitter: @Legallyb28

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