Friday, August 25, 2017

Yay, a post!

It's been forever since I posted here. I want to try posting more often, I think. I have to be so careful on social media what I post, so I often don't get to really speak my mind. That will be for another time.

It's late, and I should be sleeping. I have a ton to do tomorrow and next week I have back to back trials and another mediation, so this will be a working weekend for me. I also have too many high maintenance clients right now. It comes with the territory of divorce and child custody, but it can get super annoying when I'm in trial mode and it's not their case. 

Oh, and I finally got a kitten. Adopted her from the shelter and she has had a respiratory infection since I've had her. The vet gave her antibiotics but she is still so sniffly and sneezy. I sure hope she feels better soon. Poor kitty...

Ok enough for now. Not sure anybody even knows this blog is still around since I haven't posted in so long. If you do happen by, drop me a comment.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Change of Plans

Well, I was going to move to a new blog titled Legally Challenged, but due to some recent events I have decided to just update this blog. The few posts I made to the other blog will be moved here soon. I'm not sure if I will keep the other blog to post different content other than my private thoughts, like I do here, or just delete it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Passed Florida Bar Exam on Second Try

I never updated here regarding the Bar Exam, probably because I failed it the first time. I failed both portions but the MBE portion was the worst.

When I studied for the second time I concentrated almost solely on MBE especially the subjects I scored the lowest on. It paid off. I passed the MBE with flying colors but still failed Florida. Since my average of the two was high enough, I passed the exam!

Anyone who wants to comment and ask me personally my study methods on MBE, I'm willing to share.

Anyhow I'm still waiting on clearing C&F so I started a new blog since I'm technically not a student anymore. The new blog is titled Legally Challenged and can be accessed via my profile so join me there.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bar Exam in 2 Days! I'm Freaking Out!

I'm officially starting to freak out now.  The bar exam is in 2 days.  Tomorrow I leave here to make the trip to Tampa, where I'll go on a convention center tour to learn where everything is for the next day.  Then a get together with other students from our law school to chill for a bit, and probably talk about how we are all freaking out.  After that, I don't know what happens.  I'm sure I'll still be looking at flashcards and one page outlines to cram as much rote memorization as I can hold for a short period of time, concentrating on state specific stuff for the next day.  But at some point, I have to go to bed and try to sleep.  Yeah, right, LOL!

I wonder what the percentage is of bar-takers who actually sleep well the night before the exam?  I'm a night-owl anyhow and have done most of my studying  late at night because it's quieter.  I've gotten to the point where I can stay up and continue studying through the morning.  So, basically my schedule is about turned completely upside down from what it should be.  Because of that, I'll be scoping out places to take a quick combat nap when we tour the convention center.  Our school is providing us with lunch, which is great, because we only have an hour and I won't have to go anywhere.  But even more important that food, will be for me to take a quick nap for 20-40 min. to recharge, unless of course, I DO manage to go to sleep the night before the exam.

Just like a good many of my classmates, I feel I haven't written enough, done enough questions, memorized enough law and am totally going to forget what I need to know in that exam room.  We've already been told we will feel like we failed the exam.  And that is actually a good thing, because if you feel like you did well on it, chances are you failed.  We were told about the one guy who was so convinced he failed the bar exam miserably that before he left Tampa, he actually made reservations at the same hotel for the Feb. Bar.  Turns out he got one of the highest scores on the Bar Exam.  But all I really care is get the passing score, basically a little more than half.  I may be feeling the same way and go ahead and make reservations for Feb., just in case.  As we know, the hotels really jack up the prices for the Bar Exam.

But seriously, I haven't been this stressed since I can ever remember.  Adding to it are other stresses, such as money, and a falling out with a couple of friends.  The one friend and I were seemingly getting along fine about 3 days ago and this person helped me calm down when I was having a day where I basically lost it.  Then the next day or so, they get annoyed at me because I didn't pay attention to the fact that my overbearing attitude was getting to them.  I was messaging them too much and not giving them enough space, so they cut me off from communication and blocked me.  They aren't totally avoiding me, but just basically blocking me from sending messages through social networks.  Still, it was a huge blow to me right now because of all the stress I'm under.  It's a huge pet peeve with me when people don't tell me when I'm doing something wrong before it gets to the point it jeopardizes a friendship.  Hello?  I'm studying for the bar exam and can't possibly notice or pay attention to everything, and figure out what someone is feeling or thinking.  My mind is cram full of stuff already. 

I know it's just me, too.  I'm feeling overly sensitive to criticism, to feeling left out, to being ignored. But pretty much all our mutual friends confirmed that I was behaving like an ass and was overbearing.  My mind is racing constantly and when I fire off questions, I'm expecting quick responses.  When I didn't get them, I kept asking the questions.  Then I start feeling like I'm being ignored, and I get panicky and really start messaging in all forms.  I hate being ignored.  I would much rather someone tell me 'nicely' that they were busy and give me an estimated time frame in which they would get back with me.  Then I know for sure they got the message, and they aren't ignoring me.  I'm not in the dark and I know what's going on.  I can understand being busy or having times you don't want to be bothered.  Heck, most of the time I don't answer my phone because I don't like to be bothered.  That and most of the time people only call me if 1) they are pissed off at me and want to yell or 2) I'm late paying a bill or they need something from me.  So I just usually don't answer and figure they can do either one of those on my voice mail and when I'm prepared to deal with it, then I will.  This particular friend actually did ring my phone that night, but when I saw who it was, I didn't answer because I was afraid they were calling to yell at me, since they had never called me before, but only send texts.  Turns out it was a pocket call anyhow.  So, yes, I understand not wanting to be bothered at times. 

I try to look at things from another person's point of view to gain the right perspective.  Right now, it's hard for me to judge perspective, though, because my emotions are way too close to the surface.  Would I have been annoyed or upset by receiving as many messages as I sent this person?  The thing is, I don't know.  I really don't.  It depends on how I was feeling, what I was doing, and whether I was glad to hear from them or not.  Generally, for me, when I meet a new friend, I tend to bombard them a good bit, because it is all new and exciting and then it tapers off.  I don't know if other people do this or not.  But being that I had a falling out with my best friend during my graduation and my other friend I felt comfortable talking to is too busy with their own business to respond to me much anymore, I was like a starving dog being thrown a scrap of meat in the fact that someone showed an interest in me and that I could talk to them.  And I guess that freaked them out.  I certainly didn't mean to though.  Chances are I wouldn't have gone so overboard if I wasn't under a ton of stress now and just trying to reach out to anyone.

We may be able to salvage the friendship, and I hope so.  I hope I didn't irreparably damage everything that I had.  If I did, I'll be kicking myself & hating myself for a while.  I always expect that I will screw up at some point so I just figure that most people will eventually forgive me, because I would forgive them.  While it looks like the friendship may be salvaged, they still have yet to unblock me from social networking sites or re-add me as a friend.  I checked several times yesterday and have checked several times today.  I wish they would unblock me.  It really, really bugs me they haven't.  I don't know if it's that they don't trust me to not message them constantly that way or what the deal is.  I just hate feeling so left out and 'exiled'.  Mutual friends are allowed to contact this person, but I'm not.  Not that I would necessarily choose to contact him right now, but at least they allow them the possibility.  I was hoping beyond all hope that they would unblock me before I go to take the Bar exam since they supposedly know how much stress I'm under regarding this exam.  I have a feeling I will be disappointed though. 

Most people don't have a clue about the stress of taking the bar exam.  I can't explain it to them, or even give them a scenario where they would have the same amount of stress, because frankly, I don't know of one.  I seriously think if this person had even the vaguest idea of the stress I'm going through, they would not add even the slightest bit more stress into my life by continuing to block me.  When I was blocked it was like a heavy rock shattering my confidence. It is, in effect, the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.  I was already wound tight about to break.  Now I'm hurt, I'm angry, I'm stressed, and in a way, numb.  I don't think any of those is going to be beneficial to me taking the bar exam, although between those, I'll opt for numb.  I can't eat.  My stomach is a mess of butterflies and knots and burning.  My head, neck and shoulders hurt from the tension I have in my body and from reading so much.  I'm constipated one moment, have diarrhea the next.  My asthma has been flaring up.  Every single ache and pain that my body has is being magnified and made more noticeable, whether it rains or not.  And I'm shaky.  My hands are actually shaking.  I've gotten more pimples and acne than normal, and I've been itchy and pretty much scratched a bloody place on my back.  It's nerves. 

Because of this, I had to start back on anti-depressants so I can try to gain control of my wildly fluctuating mood swings.  Mostly I just feel like crying.  I've got ulcer medication for my ulcer, but still not finding it easy to eat.  I'm taking more asthma medication than normal, and of course am still on my ADHD meds.  I need something to calm me down.  I do have pills for that but have refrained from taking them, because of the other medications.  And I won't be able to trust myself with trying to take a sleeping pill or something to calm me down just to get to sleep for fear I will oversleep.  I know exactly what this feels like, though.  Anyone who has asthma may relate.  This feels like when I've had to go to the E.R. because of an asthma attack and they give you a couple of adrenaline shots.  You feel all antsy inside and like you're about to come out of your own skin at times.  You're shaky, darty, and basically geared for a major 'fight or flight' response.  That's pretty much what I'm feeling right now, and I have a feeling it will only stay with me or get worse until the exam is over.

I wish there was some way to relay how I'm feeling, or have my friend actually feel what I'm feeling right now.  I think if that was possible, they would unblock me in a second and actually have words of comfort and encouragement for me before the exam.

I'm trying to stay shielded at the moment.  I'm basically in survival mode.  My self confidence has already been crushed and the additional stress has been thrown onto me.  While it's possible that could be reversed, I know better than to get my hopes up for a miracle.  So at the moment, I'm very guarded and cautious, not wanting to allow anyone too close or to get to me too much.  I'm going through the motions on automatic pilot for now.  I'm trying to keep my feelings at the 'numb' level because screaming at the top of my lungs and pummeling everything in sight with my fists just isn't realistic.  But trust me, I'm pent up inside.  I cannot allow myself to lose control, though.  The only times in my life where I've gotten pushed too far and basically 'exploded', I somewhat 'blacked out', didn't feel pain, and gained some fairly superhuman strength.  It would be great if I could control it when it does happen and use it constructively, but with me 'blacking out', there's no way.  So I keep a tight rein on everything, especially the beast inside me.  Thankfully, it takes a LOT to get me to that point, but because the Bar Exam has already pushed me to that brink, I'm way too close and it wouldn't take much for someone to add to it and then end up being the recipient of a lot of pent up fury. 

Normally, I'm fairly easy going.  Stuff pisses me off, but I'm generally able to let it roll off without getting to me or holding onto it.  The bar exam is different.  Especially because it hasn't JUST been the bar exam in my situation.  Everything is a struggle.  Getting my bar app in was a huge right before the deadline struggle, signing up and paying for a bar review course, the mix up on my hotel room and consequently not having a place to stay until 3 days ago, my mother's estate being in probate STILL, bill collectors calling, trying to juggle bills, being turned down for several bar loans, unable to find anyone to co-sign a bar loan, trying to find time to do things that need to be done around the house, having to pay $60 to get fingerprinted all over again because the ones I did previously were too old, trying to sit still and not dread every single day of bar prep with boring 4 hour lectures that you can't speed up at all, then finally ditching that method of study and going to something else that works better for my style of learning, feeling you didn't study enough or memorize enough, and pushing away friends without meaning to, and being ashamed because I've acted like an ass in front of the friends I do have.

The Bar Exam is just plain evil, I tell you.  If you're reading this and you have a family member or a friend preparing to take the Bar, you can help them, or at least not add to their stress level, with a few simple rules:

  1. Don't ask the bar-taker to make any decisions, including what's for dinner.  Their brain hurts.
  2. Plan on spending time with other friends, and don't make the bar-taker feel bad about not going somewhere or doing something.
  3. Try to minimize interruptions.
  4. Be supportive.  If they just feel like venting, let them.  Don't try to solve their problems; Just BE THERE.
  5. Also, don't reassure them that they will be fine and that they will pass.  If they don't, they will feel worse because they will feel like they disappointed you.
  6. If they act like an ass or erratically, cut them some slack.  Ask if you can help them in any way.
  7. Don't ask them a ton of questions about the Bar Exam or about law, unless they've asked for your help to memorize stuff.
  8. Don't try to engage their attention to learning about something that isn't law/bar exam related.  They have a lot to learn as it is.
  9. Don't try to get them to watch TV or movies with you.  Most bar-takers will be in a commercial course and most courses require the viewing of several hours of boring videos each day.  They will be sick of watching videos for a while.  Maybe play a video game, get some exercise, or do something other than sitting and watching something.
  10. If they freak out; if they constantly message you, do or say something offensive, or cause you to freak out, stay calm, cut them some slack and realize they may not be aware that they are acting unreasonably so don't assume they do.  They may just want to vent or talk to someone.  If you can help in this way, great.  If not, then either suggest a time you would be available or let them know that they are causing you angst and you can't help them at the moment, but do this clearly and kindly.
  11. Expect that the bar-taker will take EVERYTHING personally, so understand your actions may be misinterpreted.  Try not to think anything personally that the bar-taker says, though.  Their mind is jumbled and they again may not realize what they said.
  12. Encourage them and tell them you think they are awesome.  
  13. Don't expect your bar-taker to pick up on social cues or take hints.  Be upfront with them; they'll appreciate it in the long run.
  14. It is inevitable that the bar-taker may alienate or push away some friends, but try not to be one of them.  
  15. Offer to help around the house, by cooking, shopping, running errands.
  16. Don't demand too much of their time or their attention.
  17. Give them something to look forward to after the exam.
  18. Be there to reassure them that they did the best they could when they get out of the exam.  Chances are, they will feel devastated and certain they failed.
  19. Help them accept that it's over and not to worry about it until the results come out.
  20. Go have fun and let loose with your bar-taker friend.  They need it.
These are basically rules I'd have everyone that had to deal with me studying for the bar exam read beforehand.  Unfortunately some of this I've learned the hard way.  But maybe someone will get some use out of it.  Seriously, though, there hasn't been anything in my life that I've encountered that has come close to the stress I'm feeling from this upcoming exam.  I've taken plenty of exams, and always did well under pressure for the most part.  This time the pressure has built up to dangerous levels inside me and it's not good.  I'm in a constant 'fight or flight' feeling 24/7 right now.  I tried physical exercise, I've tried some yoga, and I've tried some meditation.  All have given me brief temporary relief, but nothing lasting.  I don't know what else to do at this point.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Day I've Been Dreading, Part I

Today was one of those Days People Dread.  Last week, I knew it would be here much sooner than I'd hoped, but it couldn't have picked a worse time.  I'm in my 3rd year of law school & far enough along that if I withdrew, I'd lose my financial assistance & not get a refund on my tuition.  I'm depending on my financial aid to live on & pay my bills because I'm not working & my husband was laid off in June.  I was late paying my phone bill on top of that, so it was cut off most of yesterday & this morning.  

Before noon, I got the ominous, urgent email from my brother to call him right away about our Mom.  Naturally, both he & my mother's caretaker tried to call me, but couldn't get me until around noon today.  Thanks for your prompt reconnection of my line, AT&T.  An hour, my ass.

Well, my mother is back in the hospital now and she's not doing well. It's a matter of time & that time is very short.  From what I could gather, they have her on life support pending the arrival of family members because the caretaker is not authorized to make any decisions that we will need to make.

My brother is probably there now as he got on a plane today.  I'm stuck here because I have $1.19 to my name until tomorrow when I will be getting my financial aid.  Of course, by that time, it may well be too late to see her before she's gone.  You can't even imagine how bad I feel right now.  I can't be where I should be & I wonder if my Mom has wondered why I'm not there with her.

At least when my Dad passed, I was young enough not to have to worry about how I will get there or the financial implications of his passing or handling many of the administrative matters that I will be dealing with now.  I guess no one picks a 'convenient' time to die for the ones left behind.  I just realize how strong my mother was to be able to take care of things that had to be done when my Dad passed.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Dealing With Self-Doubt So It Must Be Finals Time Again

It's been forever since I wrote a post here.  That's what Facebook, Twitter, and law school will do to you.  Tonight, I felt the need to write more than I have felt in a long, long time.  I guess it's because I don't have anyone (well, maybe one or two people) that I feel comfortable talking to about what happened today.

Some of you know me from other blogs I've had, some of you may know me personally, and others of you don't know me at all except for what you read here.  So some of you may know this about me:  I have ADD or ADHD (whichever one you want to call it).  I found out when I was 39 and it helped me make sense of things that happened before.  It also helped me to get on a treatment plan and get where I am today.  But ADD is a struggle every single day.  Forgetting simple things, like where I put the car keys when they are in my hand, or putting the ice cream back in the fridge and the milk in the freezer, are funny when they happen once in a while and because everyone has moments like that, we can laugh at them.  

The problem is that I have those moments EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE, and after a while, they are not so funny, they are annoying, frustrating, and they waste a lot of my time.  My smartphone is annoying to most everyone else because I generally have 2 & 3 reminders for every important task coming up bugging me on my iPhone, my computer at home, and my laptop.  I have 3 alarms to wake me up in the morning.  Each one means something different.

I try to do the best I can to accommodate my ADD and keep myself on task, which, by the way, I'm not doing well at tonight since I should be studying for my last final exam this semester.  But I'm having a very difficult time concentrating and that's why I'm writing a blog post.  Sometimes getting things off my chest helps me to concentrate on other things.  I have a hard time talking about some things as well, but often can write about these things.  It's a form of therapy and fortunately one I can afford as a poor law student.

Now, I never have received any 'accommodations' for my ADD when I was in undergrad, took the LSAT, or since I've been in law school.  I probably should have at some point, but I've also read that it can be looked down upon if you receive 'accommodations', especially for ADD because many people still think it's a made-up condition to cover up for bad behavior.  That's unfortunate because it isn't a made-up condition, but because there are people out there that think that way, I felt it best to try to make it without accommodations from some student disability office.  Heck, I don't even like the title of that office.  Yes, I know ADD is considered a disability, but I also think that people tend to focus on people's disabilities and shortcomings a lot more than they focus on what people do well.

I know I've had a lot of people focus on MY disabilities and shortcomings and when you go through life hearing about it so much, you get cynical.  It also makes it harder to be able to accept actual constructive advice because you raise your defenses at the slightest hint of someone discussing what you did wrong.  My husband and I get into arguments a lot of times because I tend to be hyper-defensive and always rebutting everything.  I get tired of hearing what I didn't do or what I should have done and I'll point out everything positive I did do or that I got done to counter-act the criticism.  "Yes, I know I didn't get the dishes done or the trash out, but I did remember the trash last time..." You get the idea.  I think the reason we do tend to be defensive is that when we do forget things, it's usually never intentional by any means.  I just forget, plain and simple.  Now, I've been told that the reason I forget is because I don't care or it's not important enough to me.  I don't know if that's the case.  I know I just forget and often I forget the same things.  And I'm sure if those things were infinitely more interesting, I probably would forget them less.  But I know I don't forget things, especially house chores, just because I don't care.  I DO care, but I have 20 million things on my mind and my mind just isn't going to hold all of those ideas.  Some days it can hold more than others and those are the days I do remember to do the dishes, take out the trash, etc.  But other days, it comes up short and so I forget.

Anyhow, back to dealing with people criticizing our shortcomings.  I know all ADD'ers have difficulty here, and I'm certainly no exception.  I did well in school growing up because I had a mother who was very committed to doing her job as a mother 24/7.  She made sure I went to bed, got up early, ate breakfast, did my homework, brushed my teeth, etc.  She gave me lots of structure.  When I didn't have that and went off to college, it was a disaster in the making.  But I didn't know at the time that I had ADD.  After aimlessly going with the flow and landing here in FL, and then finding out about my ADD, I felt I've had a lot more direction in the flow of my life.  But one thing remains:  I still have a difficult time not getting defensive or seriously depressed when other people criticize me.  It consumes me and eats away at me.  I start thinking of all the things I do wrong and then instead of trying to stay positive, I end up focused on everything negative about me.

That's where I am right now and why I can't study.  You see, I received an email today from a person that I respect and admire (not that they know that I do, really) and this email said some very unflattering things about me because I had failed to do something when I was supposed to do it.  I did finish what I was supposed to do, but not at the time I should have and the email called me out on it.  I can't say I disagree with anything that the person said.  Even though what they said was true, it still hurt.  A lot.  I've cried about it for hours today and tonight, unable to put it out of my mind.  I know this isn't how I should react to something like this.  But I'm emotional because of my mom's health not doing well and possibly facing some difficult decisions a lot sooner than anticipated, it's that time of the month, and it's final exam time in law school.  So receiving this email just knocked me to the dirt and has me completely doubting myself in everything I do right now.  I begin to wonder if I'll even make a decent lawyer or if I'm just fooling myself.  Will I ever be exceptional at anything?  How do I keep from disappointing others?  Should I just give up now? 

I know that lawyers can't be thin-skinned and we have to be able to take the heat at times.  Generally this wouldn't affect me this much emotionally.  It would affect me in that I would be hurt and I would bend over backwards to make it up to them or rehabilitate myself in their eyes.  And I'm still wanting to do that, but this has gotten me really upset emotionally and it's very difficult to think logically when you're emotional (did Spock say that?).  I don't know how to handle the emotional part right now and the wave of self-doubt that has washed over me.  It's come at a bad time with an exam looming over the horizon in about 8 hours from now.  Once I'm done with that exam, then I'm technically 2/3 done with law school.  Obviously I am not going to quit now, but with all this self-doubt in my mind, I have to say this is the first time I actually contemplated it.

Right now I'm just basically accepting that I probably won't be able to concentrate and study material for the exam.  I did some studying for this exam earlier in the week and that may have to do.  All I really feel like doing is curling up with my Pug and 2 cats because they don't judge me, criticize me or point out my shortcomings (unless they can see the bottom of their bowl, of course).  There's nothing else I can do because I HAVE to suck it up and take the exam tomorrow no matter what.  But I'll see how I feel after finishing this post.

Thankfully I found an iPhone app that enables me to copy/paste text and it reads it to me.  That means that now when I have class notes or outlines I want to go over while I spend 3 hours each day in the car, I can do that by listening to it.  I'm going to copy/paste my outline for the class that I have the exam in tomorrow and listen to it and maybe that will help some.

So, on that note, I guess I'm off to fix me some hot tea (Earl Grey sounds good) and take some Benadryl as my allergies have gone completely off the wall bonkers today, and some Advil because I'm cramping terribly.  Maybe that will help me sleep and maybe tomorrow will be better.  Let's hope so.

This is your sad, self-doubting, ADD, 40-something law student signing off for the night...........................................................................................................................

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Test Post from iPhone

Just want to see if this works...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone