After my health problems came to the fore, I decided quickly to seek as much guidance from mentors, loved ones, and health professionals as I could. But I was, for a period of approximately six months, resistant to the idea of taking anti-depressant medication. I think I viewed this as some kind of surrender to the illness, or thought that I could tackle the illness by myself. I was wrong on both fronts.
I struggled with medication in the initial stages, as it took me a few weeks to find a drug that was suitable for my physiological needs. But once I did, the pills had a significant calming effect upon me, just as my GP, Paul, had promised they would. What I found once I was settled into the routine of taking the medication was that not only did it stabilise my moods and keep me on track, but it also provided some security for me, in the sense that I felt I had a safety net to protect me from my own fears. This was, ultimately, a world away from those early terrors that I would somehow succumb to the illness…instead, it gave me another weapon with which to fight. Often, legal professionals tend to believe that given supposed above-average intelligence, competitive drives and a pragmatic approach to life, they can manage every issue that we face. Unfortunately that is not always the case. In fact, I learned this lesson the hard way. It is okay to accept help. Sometimes, help is exactly what we need in order to get better. And, if utilising valuable resources helps you get back on your feet, so that you can refocus your attention on achieving your goals, then why not seek as much relevant assistance as possible?
Listed below are a variety of helpful resources that you can explore, not just for tips of how to manage your health and wellbeing, but also how to proactively assume a holistic approach to your personal and professional existence, by caring for every facet of your being.
Note: accessing any of the resources below is not intended to be, nor should it be, as a substitute for consultation, diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional. They are simply pointers to help you on your own journey to recovery! The story I’ve told above should tell you how important medical professionals can be when one is unwell.
Lawyers with Depression
Oats and Sugar
Graeme Cowan – I am Back from the Brink
Danny Baker – Depression is not Destiny
Organisations and Networks
Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation
Wellness Network for Law
Australian Law Students’ Association (ALSA)
Mental Health First Aid
Charities & Depression Hotlines
Lifeline for Lawyers (1-800-085-062)
National Institute of Mental Health
Black Dog Institute
Suicide Call Back Service
Initiatives Founded by Lawyers
Bottled Snail Productions
Melbourne Lawyers’ Orchestra (Lawchestra)
There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer when it comes to seeking help for your health problems. But, there are a couple of things I would recommend to you:
Be open to suggestions from all trusted sources. Why? Well, because even an outlandish idea may hold the key that unlocks the mystery solution to your struggles! Always try to emember that people, who help you, do it out of the kindness of their hearts. In other words, do not dismiss or ignore people, who are genuinely trying to help you. Try not to expect to be miraculously cured from your struggles overnight…these things can take time! Also, don’t assume that by taking steps towards recovery, your problems will automatically be solved…it is not a matter of checking off boxes! There is a greater spiritual commitment to managing your wellbeing that you need to address. And make sure that you take the time to reflect on the progress you are making. Keep a diary, debrief with a friend, colleague, or confidant, meditate, or pray…whatever works for you. Lastly, it is important to acknowledge how far you have come.