Working through your problems so you can overcome any obstacle can be a really tough mental exercise. Whenever I struggle to find the solution to a problem, I always remember what my Equity and Restitution professor at law school used to tell us: the answer is in the question. To this day, I’m still not quite sure what this means. The way I have interpreted it is that sometimes you have to really think outside the box and come up with some creative solutions to your problems. Remember that real raw intelligence is where you can always come up with a solution no matter the problem, just like Yale have said in the powerful and moving article “Transcript v Potential”. To me, this goes to the very heart of education, which is about more than merely having a good job and earning lots of money. What is the point of dedicating so much of your life to learning if you can’t use your knowledge to resolve your own problems in every day life? Don’t forget that we bring nothing into this world and we take nothing with us, just like the Bible says. Don’t worry if you don’t own a house or are struggling to get by from day to day like me. The most important thing is that you have to keep working, just like Dempsey said, so you can overcome obstacles and continue to make progress in life.
In trying to find a way forwards, you will find that you are constantly weighing up different factors. In the end, you have to do what you think is right in the circumstances. You will probably find that there isn’t a precedent to follow and you have to delve very deeply to resolve difficult issues. I have been in this situation regarding my health. I suffer from three different health issues: (i) mild schizophrenia with some bipolar; (ii) depression; and (iii) Type 2 diabetes. Over time, I’d like to open up a bit about how I have tried to manage these different conditions so I can carry on and lead a healthy and full life despite the ongoing challenges I face from these illnesses. In a nutshell, medication hasn’t worked particularly well for me. My background in law helped me to understand exactly why and find a better way forwards.
Some time after I was diagnosed with these conditions, I felt this strange sense of déjà vu, as if I had seen this situation before, but where was the question. It took me back to the Dissertation that I wrote for the Honours component of my law degree. In that research paper, I analysed the three main interests upheld by defamation law as conceptualised by the legal scholar Robert Post. It became apparent that there is tension between these concepts and they cannot be easily reconciled. While the medication I was taking for schizophrenia and depression stabilised me they caused an enormous weight gain and eventually led to type 2 diabetes. I was diagnosed with a fatty liver and was experiencing tightness in my chest. Generally speaking, I felt incredibly unwell. In the interests of my overall health, I came off medication. Overall, I feel much better but I do run the risk of recurrent psychotic episodes, which occur from time to time. My medical issues reminded me of my research. I can only manage these three conditions; they cannot not be reconciled perfectly much like the three interests protected by defamation law.
While I admit that I suffer from depression, I also remind myself that how others behave towards you can affect your mood. It’s not just you, it’s everyone else. As I have said before, it’s therefore fine to distance yourself from others who are upsetting you, even if they are family members. Be careful though. If you distance yourself from others, mental health specialists will be quick to point out that you are isolating yourself and that there is therefore something wrong with you. It’s for this reason that I challenge not only psychiatry as a field of medicine but also the law of psychiatry, where the state has a lot of control over individuals. And as my public law professor told us at law school, there is always a risk that people in a position of power may abuse the exercise of that power.