I often say that people who suffer with mental illness are really the strong ones. I know in my own life, I look at my mother and her life and think wow, she did all that and she has bipolar disorder. She is amazing. In fact, it is fair to say that a lot of my strength comes from her (my Dad contributed my stubbornness). I also know that when other lawyers are depressed they too are strong and trying to be resilient. Sometimes, they fight their way out of it on their own but mostly they choose to suffer in silence for fear that others will think them “weak or a mess or worse, a failure.
The truth is no lawyer who makes it through seven years of education, one or more state bar exams and years of practicing law is a failure, weak or a mess. Just to make it in this business most of us work very hard, have personal pride, drive and some might say grit. For a few of us, we get tired, our brains may have a predisposition to depression or anxiety and we find our bodies are able to work but our minds are not. It is scary and we start fighting ourselves and this war has terrible consequences on the quality of our lives and the lives of those around us. In essence, it is a battle we can’t win without help from one another, family and in some cases the medical or mental health community.
For these reasons, I am sharing a blog written by Dan Lukasik who runs the website Lawyers with Depression. Dan, as I have blogged before, is writing a book and in this post on Psychweb.com called Be a Hero with Depression he discusses how people with this illness can look at themselves differently – AS HEROES. It is a great post from a Super Hero with Depression and I think the message is important for the entire legal community to read and understand.
Finally, for those interested, Dan is still looking for people to share their depression related stories for his book. You can find out more on his website.