Most Lawyers Would Not Admit This (TFLP 065)

I’m calling this week’s episode, “Most Lawyers Would Not Admit This.” Today, I’m talking about my experience with clinical anxiety, and why it’s so often mistaken for “typical” lawyer stress.

For most lawyers, it’s hard to admit that we’re struggling—even to ourselves.

I’ve actually written about the topic of this episode before on the blog. I thought it was the perfect topic to kick off a series of shorter episodes that I’ll be releasing in November talking about some of the things that I think unhappy lawyers really need to know.

Most lawyers feel like they can’t admit when they’re struggling, which is why we’re starting here.

For a long time, I would not admit that I was struggling—even to myself.

When I worked in Biglaw, I was incredibly unhappy.

I was objectively doing well, but the job felt crushing, and I couldn’t understand it. 

Eventually, it became clear to me that I needed to get out, even though I still didn’t completely understand why

Most lawyers can’t tell the difference between lawyer stress and clinical anxiety.

It wasn’t until after I left Biglaw that I was diagnosed with an anxiety and panic disorder and things started to make more sense.What I had previously discounted as just typical lawyer stress was in fact clinical anxiety.

Leaving Biglaw and learning that I had clinical anxiety was the start of me learning how to actually listen to myself. Ultimately, the ability to listen to myself made it possible for me to see that I needed to leave the law for good.

Why lawyers need to know about the difference between “typical” lawyer stress and clinical anxiety.

I share about my experience with anxiety because there are so many lawyers out there who think they’re just stressed out and that it’s normal, when in fact they are suffering from clinical anxiety.

Despite the fact that chronic stress is normalized in the legal profession, it is not, in fact, normal, and it is particularly debilitating for people who have clinical mental health issues.

My goal with Former Lawyer is to help lawyers learn to listen to and trust themselves, which includes raising awareness about the realities of practicing law while experiencing clinical anxiety.

In today’s episode, I share about:

  • How my experience in Biglaw was affected by my then-undiagnosed anxiety disorder.
  • Why it’s important to me to talk about clinical anxiety and the problems with normalizing lawyer stress.
  • My best advice for you to help you start assessing whether your stress is something more (hint, it’s therapy!).
  • Why it’s important to remember that you are not just a walking brain.
  • Why I think every lawyer should do these things (even if they want to stay in the law).

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