Monday, August 2, 2010

Depression Scale

Every day, I like to rank my depression on a scale of one to ten.  It probably isn't healthy, but it's what I do. In a new section on my blog's sidebar, I'm going to share with you my daily number (though I may have to take it down if people start to worry about me).  To avoid confusion, let me give you a breakdown about what the numbers mean:

Depression Scale
1-3: Minimal - These are my good days.  They generally only pop up if I've made some sort of progress on my job search or if something, arguably, good has happened to me that day.  These days are few and far between.
4-6: Bearable - This is probably the average.  Obviously nothing good has happened in a while, but I haven't had time to dwell on things. I'm bummed out, but it's nothing I can't ignore.
7-8: Unbearable - These happen more than I'd like to admit.  I can get pushed into one of these days having a slow day at work, watching something good happen to someone else, not being able to work out, or any number of other things.
9-10: Crippling - These are bad days.  Usually, they're triggered by some sort of major event - being passed up for a job, being out of law school for two years, not having enough money for something, my impending birthday, etc.  But, unfortunately, sometimes they just pop up out of nowhere.

Now that you know what the numbers mean, you can fully appreciate how depressed I am on any given day.  You're welcome.

[Believe it or not, I used to be an optimist.  Seriously.]


  1. I've had a few 10 days myself, where I've struggled not to throw myself in front of the subway trains.

    And that's why I now tend to sit at home rather than ever work for free. I'd rather flip burgers or make copies for minimum wage than work for free. That has helped me tremendously.

  2. It might be healthier to not have "good days" be located on a "depression scale." You're basically saying from the start that you're going to be depressed, which isn't the best outlook.

    I'd suggest having the scale run from 10 (really great mood) to -10 (researching your state's fire arms laws). Even if every day ends up being on the negative side of the scale, at least you're open to the possibility of having a good day that's not at all depressing, as opposed to the best day being minimally depressing.

  3. Oh, I know it's not a good way to look at things. Unfortunately, my job situation is inherently depressing. Between 9am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, the best I've been able to muster for the past couple years is "minimally depressed."

    If it's any comfort to you, I'm still pretty optimistic the rest of the time. Seriously, I really enjoy the time I spend away from work.

    I spend my nights hanging out with my girlfriend, doing martial arts, taking a French class, etc. I've also been really enjoying my weekends - I just went to a great classical music concert in Millennium Park and I have big plans to go on a kayaking architectural tour of Chicago next weekend.

    But, I don't blog at night or on weekends. If I did, this would be a very different blog; worthy of an optimistic scale.

  4. Bravo, si vous nned à rejoindre la Légion, vous devez français

  5. Two words: crazy pills (a/k/a anti-depressants). Seriously man, there's no shame. Life's a bitch sometimes.

  6. D:

    I was once in exactly your situation, but in a better economy. I printed a business card and pretended I was a self employed lawyer, but I was really unemployed.

    What you really need is a genuine mentor. It doesn't look like your "boss" really is one.

    If I can make some suggestons:
    1. Don't work for him for 5 days a week. Work for 2-3 days a week and leave the rest of your days free.

    2. Go to court and watch. Its actually kind of fun. Don't tell yourself "those lawyers in court have jobs and I don't". Bullshit. Tell yourself "this is my profession and this is what I will do". Last week I was in front of Judge Zagel on a civil case. US v. Blagovech was also up. I stuck around and watched some argument regarding jury instructions. It was fun to watch a case followed by the NY Times, and I learned a few things.

    3. Use the 2-3 days when you are not at your job/internship to do something else. You can run to court and get status dates for lawyers. You can send letters/emails to lawyers offering to do legal research and writing at an hourly rate. You can start a practice in an area that you feel comfortable.

    4. Don't stop looking for a job.

    Don't be afraid to email me if you want to talk privately.


  7. D:

    You do martial arts? What style? I used to train at an MMA gym 6 years ago and became friends with the owner. (I got busy/lazy and quit) MMA has since exploded and he's sent me a number of cases. Whenever anyone at the gym has a legal problem, he sends them to me.

    Once you know what you're doing, its cool to be the lawyer for different groups that you are part of.


  8. Question: Is the scale adjusted to account for what you have learned since law school? Or does part of the baseline depression level stem from the fact that you now know you are not as smart and cool as you once thought you were?

    I'm not saying you should give up your sense of superiority, because what would you have left to blog about? I'm just saying that the scale should account for that baseline. The agony caused by the disconnect between your current lot in life and your belief that you are smarter than your bosses, your co-workers, and everyone else you meet probably inflates your overall score by at least two points.

  9. As a part-timer myself, I would definitely endorse Gus' suggestion that you keep a couple of your days free to focus on your career, since your job obviously does not, and will not, fit that bill. Knowing that I don't have to get up and go in every single day of the week, and still having some freedom to focus on my own goals and interests, is absolutely key to retaining my sanity.

  10. Wow, a lot to respond to here.
    1) Crazy pills - Like I said, I'm usually only depressed for eight hours of my day. I'm a generally happy person, I just hate my job.
    2) As weird as it sounds, I have always wanted a mentor. Ideally, he'd be very similar to Dr. Cox (Scrubs).
    3a) I can't drop a couple days of work unless I have something else lined up. I'm the kind of person who needs to be busy all of the time, or I start to lose it. I would actually enjoy going to work every day; provided it was something that I enjoyed or, at the very least, took some pride in. That's a big part of why I don't like my current job.
    3b) That being said, I'm hoping the recruiter I signed up with can find me some part time stuff. If that happens, I'll happily drop time at my current job to do some other work.
    4) Believe me, I haven't stopped looking for a job.
    5) If you want to know more about martial arts or anything else I do, feel free to send me an email. I try to keep the blog as vague as possible, but I'll elaborate a bit over email.

  11. It was nice to find your blog. Out of school for three years and can REALLY relate to what you are feeling.