Waiting for an Ending

I’ve been working towards an ending for a long time. Months now. I started blogging in search of an ending and here I am– still searching. Maybe I can’t start from the end because I don’t know what the end looks like. Maybe I don’t have an ending. Or maybe I’m afraid of what the end looks like.

Or maybe this is my ending. Today. The stupid, ugly, tiresome present. The end, my end. I’ll tell my story from the end, and, in doing so, give you a picture of my present.

Here’s what it looks like: anxiety stretched out to the max, no substances to lean on, living in limbo– I’m dying for an end.

The Bar Admissions Committee is breathing down my neck. Hard. “Other information obtained by the Committee reveals certain information that raises some concerns including your treatment for Bipolar disorder. As a result, the Committee has determined that further inquiry will be necessary in order to make an appropriate assessment regarding your fitness to practice.”

Every time I read it, it makes my stomach turn, my anxiety rises in my gut, and I feel empty. I’m waiting for an ending.

My naked records, hospitalizations and all, have arrived at the Committee and are awaiting judgment. The things in those records– things said, admitted, disclosed under the thick and protective cloak of confidentiality— those things are what haunt me.

I’m terrified. Terrified that the Committee will look at my arguably ugly record and do their worst– Admission Denied. I’m terrified that the ending, the conclusion of the Committee’s investigation, will be my end. The conclusion of my law practice, a practice so short lived it was never given a chance to take flight.

Will the eyes of the Committee be sharp enough to see my scars? These scars, scars left by periods of instability, left by leaving lovers, left in the wake of hospitalizations gone awry, will the Committee see these scars? Will this be my end?

So here’s my story, from end to beginning: I know how this all began. And it’s not the beginning I’m scared of. It’s the end.

The end. (Or the beginning?)



8 responses to “Waiting for an Ending

  • Gretchen Getsinger

    Sorry about the angst; it sounds really painful. I’m hoping for the best for you.

  • cabrogal

    As you may have noticed, I’m a kind of combative guy.

    If the Bar Admissions Committee refused my entry on the basis of mental illness – especially if informed by confidential medical records – that would not be the end to me. It would be the beginning. Of a godawful shit-fight that I may not be able to win but which would leave the BAC in no doubt they had been in a battle.

    I’d be looking for local human rights lawyers, especially those who have worked on mental health issues, who might provide some pro bono advice or help. If you don’t know where to start you could try contacting MindFreedom or the Icarus Project. There’s some pretty staunch mental health activists in those groups who love a fight.

    Seems to me you are in a particularly good position to work with such an organisation on your case. If you can organise a good legal attack on the BAC yourself they’ll be looking pretty silly if they keep insisting you can’t function as a lawyer.

    I have no idea how the legal system in the US works with regards to anti-discrimination on the grounds of mental illness (“Kendra’s Law” type legislation makes it look pretty bad from here), but though I have no formal legal qualifications myself I have won three of the four battles I’ve taken up on those grounds against the NSW and SA mental health review tribunals on behalf of others, in spite of being opposed by highly qualified and experienced lawyers. In two of those cases I was supported by aggressive rights activist organisations who are willing and able to use the media if the legal fraternity get obviously perverse (and isn’t that most of the time?).

    Best of luck but start arming up (metaphorically speaking of course).

    • gmercier4388

      Well the terrible thing about all this is that if you don’t initially cooperate you get a big denial and then you probably have to sue. While that uphill battle is being fought your job offer can be revoked bc lots of them are contingent on passing the bar (I should be ok on that though). So while you’re suing, you’re out of a legal job AND your loan payments come due. Mine is $1500 a month. Which, without a lawyer income (or loan forgiveness programs if you’re working in public interest like me) is a death sentence. The whole process is truly a nightmare. I’m bring very cooperative now in hopes that it will all go away… If not, then the fight begins.

  • riselikeair

    Sometimes endings are just wonderful new beginnings cloaked in disguise. Just keep breathing. It’s the transition that’s the most hellish.

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