How to stop my brain from getting me fired?
October 1, 2011 6:24 AM   Subscribe

Dealing with depression, and I went AWOL from work on Friday - Damage control? I'm suffering from extreme apathy/depression (ie it may take up to an hour to work myself up enough to go to the bathroom), and I didn't turn up to work on Friday. I have Saturday & Sunday to decompress, and savings I am willing to blow in pursuit of being functional 'enough' over the next few weeks to not lose my job.

My depression has been getting worse. I see a counselor, am on meds, get exercise, take a multivite, and eat well, yada yada.
It's still been getting worse over the last few months, but the kicker in the last week that led to this, was suddenly being tapered off my meds because of unusual side-effects.

On Friday, I woke up, and just sat around. Alarm going off every 7 minutes. Finally just before I was due at work I convinced myself I should ring and tell them I'd be late, so they had some warning. So I managed to ring, and mumble I'd be there at half past. Then I sat just around for another few hours, to the alarm. And I KNEW the sensible thing to do would be to call up - do damage control, tell them I'd have to take the day off. Or call a friend, just do something, and I couldn't do a damn thing. Finally lay down again and mostly slept for the next 24 hours.

The sort of depression I'm experiencing, is like extreme apathy - without sadness or feeling down, I just don't care, and can't move.
My intellectual brain still works, it just has no control over my body - it's like my mouth and my feet are being operated by two different brains. When I do feel emotion, it's searing panic that I'm screwing myself over, so in neither state do I get any work done. I'm now together enough to be able to write this post.

If it was a one off, it'd be ok - but in the last week, and a couple of other times in the two months, I've gone AWOL at lunchtime. Coming back two, three hours later - pattern goes I realise I'm running late back to work, and then I freeze up/panic. Sit somewhere trying to convince myself to walk back in there, which feels frozen-with-fear-terrifying. I have some emergency Benzodiazepines (Lorazepam) that help.

I don't know what to do. I wish I could go in on Monday, and tell them what I'm going to do, that I'm going to turn it around, that it was a one off, that I'm going to be on task from now on - but even in my best case scenario, I'm not going to be capable of that.
I have appt at Doctors next week, and even if they put me on some new med that turns me into Superman, it'll take a couple of weeks to kick in.
My productivity has been through the floor for the last couple of months. We're a small office, so I can't have someone can take over for me without it throwing everyone's work out, and a coworker is on holiday next week. I'm pretty sure I can't manage overtime, because I've tried that before, and recently (I was staying till 8pm-11pm), and it's even worse for my mental health and productivity. I have a friend ringing me in the evening and making sure I leave, because I'm so fragged I'll continue sitting around, hours after everyone is gone, not getting any work done, because the mental effort of getting up and going home, or acknowledging I'm done for the day, is beyond me.

It's a really good job, has understanding coworkers and good benefits. I have a few thousand dollars in savings. If there is *anything* I could do that would get me through the next few weeks with my job intact, no matter how mad, I would try it. I'd like to hire a 'minder' to go in to work with me, but that would probably look too odd.
I'm still thinking of hiring someone to ring and make sure I've gotten up and left for work in the morning (even though that's only gone wrong once, I can't afford for it to happen again), or... check in throughout the day.
I have almost no internal motivation, it's a very bizarre feeling, but I can get simple tasks done when someone tells me to do them. It's ridiculous.

I can't think what to do. I can't think. What can I do using money, or something else, that will translate into being functional *enough* to keep my job over the next few weeks.

I need a really simple list of instructions to follow.

That, or I need to hand in my notice. I like to think I'm an ethical person, and I can't in good conscience keep receiving a salary without earning it. At what point do I need to accept that? Other than it being a really good job, I'd actually feel guilty leaving at the moment without having 'caught up' on my work.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
You're ill, so don't blame yourself and don't quit out of guilt. Can you take any sick leave?
posted by BinaryApe at 6:35 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't speak to what you can do to motivate yourself, my son is suffering from the same crippling anxiety/avoidance/catastrophizing thinking patterns/apathy/depression (with outward expressions of anger too, its awful) and I would do anything I could to help him.

What I will say though is that considering quitting your job is another step down the same dark path you're on. Your job is your strongest connection to the rest of the world right now, and while you're not particularly interested in that connection right now, severing it will make things even more difficult for you. Talking yourself into quitting because you aren't earning your keep, or because you're burdening others, means you are off the hook w/dealing w/other people (public shame) but it adds so much more to your private shame (so much worse). Try as hard as you can to keep/increase your connections w/other people.
posted by headnsouth at 6:59 AM on October 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm so sorry you're going through this. Many of us have been there and know that particular agony. I once solved a very similar situation for myself by having a private talk with my boss. I told him what the situation was (obviously without too many details) and that I was beginning new meds to alleviate my dysfunction. I apologized for my lack of productivity and thanked him for his patience with my situation. Even though he was not known to be a very sympathetic guy he responded with full support. He offered me as much time off as I needed, told me not to worry about it, that he was sure when things were balanced out I would return to my former very productive self. All that came to pass and we continued to have a very rewarding professional relationship for years. Interestingly, once I told my boss and he responded so well, I gradually was able to clue in a few colleagues who were naturally wondering what the hell was going on with me. My entire work group became sympathetic support for me.
You say it's ridiculous...I said the same thing because that's how it feels. But you are not ridiculous, you're ill. the meds work when you find the right ones. Hang in there. Never give up. After all that is what we all have to do.
posted by txmon at 7:00 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


You may want to get tested for anemia.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 7:23 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been there and completely understand what you say.
It gets better.
Really, it does.
After struggling for over a year, I sent a really honest, purely factual email explaining what was going on.
I got a response along the lines, oh why didn't you say something? but never mind, here's what we can do now...

Could you do something similar?
Could you email your boss and tell him/her that you went AWOL on Friday and twice during lunchtime in the past few months because you're suffering from depression and find it very hard to cope?
Could you tell your boss what steps you're taking to get better but also that you want to keep your job but that you struggle to motivate yourself?
Also, that you are between medication and there will be a few difficult weeks ahead as that gets sorted so you need to be given explicit, clear instructions on what to do on a day to day basis.

I don't know if this could work for you but it has worked for me (it's been a few years now).
I think the turning point was that I got to the point where: I knew I was depressed, I was fed up being that way, and I was ready to completely give up.
I didn't give up but acknowledging that all I wanted to do was disappear really helped. (Does that make sense?)
For the first time I came out with: That's it, I don't want to do this anymore. I quit. I didn't quit of course, and I'm glad I didn't but the realisation that I could quit if I wanted was great. I didn't have to do this anymore. F* it.
Then, I decided to give it a final go not caring about the result so much anymore. It was very difficult but I think it became my choice again because I realised I did have a choice. I didn't have to do it, but I would give it a go.
I also realised that I needed to ask for help and support from those friends who could give it to me. I was fortunate to have some accepting and great friends that helped me out.

Another great advice I was given is to give myself a grace period.
You give yourself a week, a day, whatever and in that time period your allow yourself to completely indulge WITHOUT any guilt. Now of course, you may not be able to disappear or lie in bed or drink to stupor. But you might give yourself a day or two days off a week.
The key is to eliminate guilt when you're not doing any work. Let yourself just be at that time.

So I don't know if this is any help. But you do have choice. Quit and bear the consequences. Gather up what strength you have, use whatever resources available to you and just do it.

And then it was about taking it one day at a time even when some days I really didn't want to do anything. At all.

Sorry about the length.
Did I mention it gets better?
posted by mkdirusername at 7:24 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Could you email your boss and tell him/her that you went AWOL on Friday and twice during lunchtime in the past few months because you're suffering from depression and find it very hard to cope?

Don't know where you are, which would help, but most states are at will and if you put something like this to your boss, they will fire you right out.
posted by TheBones at 7:27 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


TheBones- are you sure? Wouldn't depression qualify as a disability, which would mean she is protected as long as she discloses?

http://www.bu.edu/cpr/jobschool/disclosing.htm
posted by bunderful at 7:31 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've also gone to my boss and said that I'd been having problems, and he was overly understanding. People are human, and despression hits everyone. I would just add that your are taking steps to heal. It seems like you are doing everything right, too. Good luck, and get well.
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:34 AM on October 1, 2011


A private service could definitely be hired to come to you home at a set time and help you get ready for work.

Try googling "home health care aide" or "private duty nurse".

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:38 AM on October 1, 2011


Get thee to a doctor and get yourself a sick note. "I couldn't get out of bed due to depression" is as valid as "I'd be projectile vomiting all over the office- bad clams!"

Look, you're sick, as sick as if your kidneys were infected, you were suffering from joint inflammation or if you broke your ankle. The only difference is that the thing that’s sick happens to be the tool you use to monitor your environment and try to make value judgments with- so you’re trying to figure out how to walk on a broken leg.

You are not bad, wrong or naughty. This is not a moral failing; this is your body’s reaction to your brain’s degenerating under an excessive barrage of stress hormones. You’ve not lazy or suffering from poor self control- you’ve been poisoned.

Get contact with a doctor, because right now your treatment is not working and you’re in crisis. This weekend, notify what passes for a support group in your life. It could be your gaming buddies, your church or your mother. Make sure people are aware you need help. You need to get the chemical problem fixed, and at the moment the easy fixes like regular heavy physical activity are going to be a bit hard.

So basically, baby yourself the way you would with a bad head cold. Chicken soup, and stupid movies/games that take no concentration and whatever passes for your comfy hoody/scarf/plushie. I’m not saying it will fix your problem (because it’s a medical issue) but you can work on reframing the issue to something other than being personally made of fail.
posted by Phalene at 7:40 AM on October 1, 2011 [27 favorites]


Judging by some of the language in the question, I'm going to guess this person in not in the US, so US laws, statutes, and customs probably don't apply.

That, or I need to hand in my notice. I like to think I'm an ethical person, and I can't in good conscience keep receiving a salary without earning it. At what point do I need to accept that? Other than it being a really good job, I'd actually feel guilty leaving at the moment without having 'caught up' on my work.

This is your depression talking. You're a good worker who's going through a rough patch. I would first call your counselor - do they have an emergency number? - and tell them what's going on. Ask them to help you order your thoughts and impress upon them that, even though you're apathetic and checked out, this is a crisis because you fear your employment is at risk. Talk it through with them.

Then, I'd call a trusted friend or family member and explain your situation. Tell them you need them to come over Monday morning and sit with you while you telephone work. You need to reach out and ask for this kind of immediate support because you are having trouble motivating to take the basic damage control steps to protect your livelihood.

When your friend or family member comes over Monday, call work and apologize for your unexpected absence. Then explain to them that you're unexpectedly quite ill, you have a doctor's appointment within the week and, until then, you need to take some sick days. The business isn't going to go belly up in a few days time because you're not there. It just won't. Even if your boss or supervisor is curt with you or insensitive, everything you've said is true and you don't have to justify it. Just reiterate you need some time to deal with your illness and then take the time. Depression is as debilitating as any other chronic illness, you are responsibly treating yours, and it's reasonable for you to ask your employer to bear with you while you sort this out.

When you see your doctor, tell them everything you've told us here or, better still, print this out and show it to them. You need your meds adjusted and perhaps a few extra sessions with your counselor. In the meantime, after you call your counselor, take a hot bath and wash your hair. Change into some clean, comfortable pajamas or sweats. Warm up some soup and make some toast. Make tea. Get a little something in your stomach and then get in bed and rest.

Good luck.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 8:00 AM on October 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


In re: TheBontes ---

don't write an email to your boss. Do, however, get a note from a doctor explaining that you missed work because of an ongoing medical issue (depression is a clinical, medical diagnosis). This will be some damage control.

But you REALLY need to see your doctor. Call your counsellor. Maybe you could ramp those sessions up to twice a week-- that would burn through those savings! A medical leave really sounds like a good thing for you right now, and I think from what you've told us, it would be completely justified. Your doctor should agree and if they don't, get a second opinion.

And don't feel guilty. this is your not fault.
posted by custard heart at 8:23 AM on October 1, 2011


TheBones- are you sure? Wouldn't depression qualify as a disability, which would mean she is protected as long as she discloses?

Not an employment expert, and I'm not even sure if this person is in the US, but I don't think so.

Although clinical depression is a mental impairment under the ADA, not everyone with clinical depression will qualify for coverage. In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled ( Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc., Murphy v. United Parcel Service, Inc. and Albertson's Inc. v. Kirkinburg) that the determination of whether a person has an ADA "disability" must take into consideration whether the person is substantially limited in performing a major life activity when using a "mitigating measure". This means that even though clinical depression is a permanent condition, if you are able through medications and therapy to perform major life activities without difficulty you will not meet the ADA's definition of "disability."

Some feel that these decisions weakened the ADA as it applies to those with depression. Those diagnosed with depression will no longer automatically fall under the ADA's protection. This does not mean, however, that persons with depression are without recourse. Instead, it means that they must prove that they continue to experience limitations despite their medications and therapy. If your job performance is compromised by your illness despite the fact that you are in treatment, you would still be protected under the ADA.
posted by TheBones at 8:43 AM on October 1, 2011


Depression is definitely not your fault. It SUCKS, I know, I've been there and back... and there again. But please don't take advice from people on the internet without talking to a real professional about this stuff and making sure that your actions won't cause you more issues.

You are already compromised in a big way, please do you due diligence and talk to a labor lawyer about this.
posted by TheBones at 8:47 AM on October 1, 2011


It's crazy, isn't it? I mean the feeling that you're not living up to your (or other's) standards, and what's happening has got to be someone's fault, and since you can't point to another person, it must be yours.

But it isn't your fault, and you don't have to go throwing yourself on your sword by handing in your notice to appropriately 'punish' yourself. Please listen to everyone here, and get yourself to a doctor, and/or a good friend to get yourself a note, and some support from a clear headed person.

Please remember that many people aren't particularly good at correctly assessing if they should take a sick day - and that includes everyone from folks who woke up to find they have a bad cold/cough to people who woke up to find themselves in the grip of depression. Both ought to take the sick day if they have it, and take care of themselves at home. But they don't, because unreasonable guilty feelings overwhelm their good judgement. And so folks call in and say they'll be in at noon, and then suffer for a few hours as they try to work up the acceleration energy to move when every fiber in their body is telling them to pay attention and stay the hell home, or they come in on time and try to agonizingly, and unproductively try to 'tough' it out.

It's not supposed to work that way - sick leave is for days just like what you went through. Consider if you do feel that lousy and you have sick leave, that this is what sick leave is for, and to use it to take care of yourself. Call work to say that you are ill and scheduling an appointment with your doctor, and call your doctor to tell them that you can barely get out of bed - the meds aren't working.

You wouldn't tell a friend going through something as miserable as you are right now that they are lazy and need to buck up and get their ass to work, so don't do that to yourself. Accept that for right now (but not forever!), you're in the grip of a crappy depression and seek out the help of those who can help you get through it. A chipper, get up an go get 'em at work, tiger! attitude is not a reasonable expectation for someone who is sick - either with a cough/cold or depression. Stop holding yourself to that standard (of what you can accomplish when you are healthy when you are sick), because as long as you do, you're not accepting the fact that at least in this moment, you're not well, and you're not directing all of your energies towards taking care of yourself. Your depression is kicking your ass well enough on it's own. Don't help it by beating yourself up with 'I should be at work right now' lies.

Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself.
posted by anitanita at 9:03 AM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


First off, echoing what everyone above says, try to dispense with the guilt for now. It sounds like you have the kind of job with flexibility that allows you to disappear for a long lunch or even a whole day without anyone really noticing, so you actually may not have truly jeopardized your position.

But you asked how you can spend $ to get through the next few weeks, until needed meds might kick in to help the situation. And one idea would be to formally reduce your hours for a few weeks, using your savings to cover the reduced salary. if you can, just going down to 5 or 6 hours per day could give you the space you need to try to take care of yourself without the accompanying guilt of no facetime at work (eg now you can show up late, leave early, or take that long lunch without feeling bad about it). I definitely would encourage you to still go to work all 5 days-the structure is probably necessary. How you present this to your boss depends--you can frame it as just "personal" or "health" (and depending on your situation and benefits, you can do the latter formally as a disability leave with a doctor's note, or just more casually between you and your boss). Good luck, and good for you for figuring out that you need to figure this out!
posted by gubenuj at 9:16 AM on October 1, 2011


Don't ya wish we were your boss! I would totally understand if you told me what happened. I might be a little miffed that you didn't just call in for the whole day, but I would understand (as long as it wasn't a constant thing).

I second getting a doctors note. Maybe go to medassist and claim bad allergies and get a note.

I've done that before to cover my ass. Good luck and you are not an awful person.
posted by Sweetmag at 9:32 AM on October 1, 2011


I'm guessing that you're in the UK based on your language - have you ever heard of "stress leave?". Your doctor can sign you off of work for your depression - you shouldn't wait for your appointment, go now to a doctor and tell them how you feel. A lot of surgeries keep morming appointments open for emergencies - you just need to call them as soon as they open on Monday morning and say its an emergency. They can give you the note for your employer and sign you off for a week or two, and can start to help you.

If you had a broken leg, you would never expect to get sacked for it -- depression is no different. Just try to think about it as a broken leg.

(I'm saying all of this from experience -- I was signed off on stress leave a few years ago, and my employer was nothing but supportive and understanding)
posted by ukdanae at 10:52 AM on October 1, 2011


Don't know where you are, which would help, but most states are at will and if you put something like this to your boss, they will fire you right out.

Not to derail, but I'm seeing this a lot lately. That's an awful lot of confidence in what *will* happen. Especially given the multiple people in this very thread who said they told their boss and he was very understanding.

I mean, yes, he probably has the *right* to fire you, or can get away with it. But guess what? He probably noticed you've disappeared a few times. Either he believes it's because you're flaky and lazy, or he believes it's because you have a medical problem you can't control on your own, and are seeking professional help for.

The latter would certainly sound better to 99.9% of the bosses in the world. I'm as anti-Hr/"The Company" as the next guy; much more so anyway. But bosses are human beings and most of the time you really can talk to them reasonably.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:01 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


My dad had a bout of depression like this. He almost lost his job but when he was honest with his employer about what was happening, they were very understanding. They shifted his responsibilities somewhat and he kept working there for 15 more years. You should tell them what's going on. You should tell them that you are struggling to find the right medication so that they know that your condition will likely improve when you do find it.

In the deepest depths of this depression, My dad wasn't really able to fend for himself very well. My mom had to advocate for him with his doctors a lot - to tell them that his medicine wasn't working and keep trying to get him better meds. Eventually his condition improved significantly enough that he can now take care of himself.

He also had my brother and I to keep him company and I think that helped. Who do you have to support you through this tough time? Reach out to people. You may not want to, because it seems like you don't really want to do anything, but I promise you that the important people in your life care and will want to be there and support you.

It also seems like you are being really hard on yourself right now. Depression is a very difficult thing, I know from experience. Do not feel that you need to maintain a perfect life. Give yourself credit for the things you are doing - trying to get better with medication, trying to stay employed. Let go of your guilt. Everything else will get easier eventually.
posted by mai at 11:02 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


From my (British) husband (and the language in the post makes me fairly confident that you're in the UK, which is a GOOD thing in this scenario):

Get a doctor's note - that, with a bit of explanation, should be enough. Don't wait until mid-week. Go in now and see what they can do for you.

My thought when reading your post is chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. I know depression has many of the same symptoms, but the "psyching yourself up just to stand up and walk to the bathroom" sounds SOOOO much like CFS/fibro.

Good luck - you will get through this.
posted by guster4lovers at 12:28 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kay first of all I am so so sorry you are going through this. Hang in there.
My depression is a lot like yours in that I can't bring myself to move...I've sat on buses and metros before as they passed my stop simply because I didn't have it in me to ring the bell and walk home.
This is maybe a bit of a risque answer, but one thing that really helps me is just having a little puff or two of a joint. Important not to have more than that. I can be lying in bed with absolutely zero drive or motivation, and I have a puff, and suddenly I'm able to do things. A study with rats showed that in small doses marijuana is a powerful antidepressant, whereas in larger doses it has the opposite effect.
Anyways, it's natural (mostly), has less side effects than most anti depressants, and seems to really really work for me.
posted by whalebreath at 1:29 PM on October 1, 2011


Not all drugs take weeks to work. A benzo like xanax can help you deal with the anxiety so you can function, virtually immediately. So when you're at lunch and feel overwhelming anxiety about going back, or because you're now a few minutes late from lunch, you take a Xanax and go back to work.

What you're experiencing feels insurmountable but is in fact pretty common. It can be dealt with and the little break you get can be enough breathing room to get the rest on track.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:29 PM on October 1, 2011


In the US you have your doctor file Family Medical Leave Act paperwork, and it doesn't even mention the diagnosis or reason for taking time off. You can take up to 12 weeks totally off (without pay) or work a reduced schedule. The problem is that small companies are exempted from this law. Your human resources person should be able to help you. Even if they are an exempt company, they may have some existing policy regarding temporary leave.

You do need to come clean with your supervisor, though. The kind of depression that keeps you lying in bed while the alarm is going off all day is not something you are going to be able to power through and maintain yourself as a fully productive employee. It will be far better for your coworkers to know what they can realistically expect from you, than having you disappear at random times. All you need to tell your boss is that you are dealing with some medical problems that have made it impossible to maintain a full schedule and that you are under care of a doctor and you hope to be back to 100% in X number of weeks. "I've been uncomfortable talking about my personal medical problems at work until now and I'm sorry I had to take to some unplanned time off last week but I want to be upfront about things now."

If it's true that your office can't get along with your absence and you have no legal protection against being fired, it is far, far better to get fired because you had a medical condition that needed attention than if you got fired because you were frequently absent without permission. Future employers will want references and will want to know why you left your last job.

And yes, you definitely need urgent medical help. Go and get it ASAP.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:58 PM on October 1, 2011


Also,

having a little puff or two of a joint...

A benzo like xanax can help you...


Good lord what terrible advice. The OP is in crisis and already has a benzo on hand.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:08 PM on October 1, 2011


This sounds a little silly but maybe it would work for you - can you try being your own minder? At a time like now, when your mind is clear, write out your own instructions for the workday. Imagine how you want the day to turn out, and write down the instructions step-by-step, as if you were telling an alien visitor how to get through your day. Tape this to the snooze button on your alarm. When you go to hit that button Monday morning, you'll grab the instructions, and it will say: 1. Stand up now. 2. Walk to bathroom, empty bladder. 3. Put on clothes. 4. Walk to kitchen; eat 1 apple, 1 slice of cheese, 1 piece of toast. And so on. Make it specific enough so that you don't need to make any decisions at the time; just do what the paper says. The trick, of course, will be to actually take the instructions seriously; you'll have to talk yourself into that ahead of time.
posted by Corvid at 5:09 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had similar problems and the partial hospitalization program I went to has been tremendously helpful. It's about a month off work, all told, and I go home every night. It's very expensive ($1500 a day,) but partially covered by insurance, so I suppose the NHS or whatever you have would cover whatever things are similar. I highly recommend it to anyone having the kinds of trouble you're describing, which seem to me way beyond the help of a few pills and positive self-talk alone. I'm trying to figure out how to slip information about the program I'm in (I'm almost done) to a fellow employee without letting them know it came from me.

If nothing else, you can spend that cash on private and group therapy. Going every single day has been one of the most important things for me. Plus the whole 5 hours a day bit, but you do what you can.
posted by Fee Phi Faux Phumb I Smell t'Socks o' a Puppetman! at 7:13 PM on October 1, 2011


In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled ( Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc., Murphy v. United Parcel Service, Inc. and Albertson's Inc. v. Kirkinburg) that the determination of whether a person has an ADA "disability" must take into consideration whether the person is substantially limited in performing a major life activity when using a "mitigating measure".

That Supreme Court decision was undone by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (I actually just learned a few days ago that when the Supreme Court interprets not the Constitution but federal law, Congress can overrule their interpretation). One of the things the act explicitly prohibits is the consideration of mitigating measures.
posted by tepidmonkey at 10:02 PM on August 26, 2012


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