From early on in my academic career, I was always the kind of student who fared better in subjects like English and History than in Math and Science. I suppose words just made more sense to me than numbers; to this day, I’d still prefer to write an essay than do long division.
I was also the type of kid who was occasionally reprimanded for “talking back.” It was never my intention to be disrespectful, but more to do with the fact that when something struck me as unfair, I felt compelled to speak up. My childish inquiries were usually met with “because I said so” or some other phrase that did little to satisfy my curiosity. I wanted the logic laid out for me so I could better understand and decide for myself whether it held up.
My preference for classes that centered around reading and writing — coupled with my tendency to question rules and instigate arguments — caused many people in my life to predict that I’d grow up to be a lawyer. On paper, law seemed like a path I could be well suited for, but I wasn’t sure it was the one I wanted to take.
by Jim Warner ’92
In support of the well-being of lawyers across the professional spectrum—from students in the classroom to attorneys in all walks of legal life—we are launching a Mental Health Impact Blog Series, in partnership with alumnus Jim Warner ’92. Comprising deeply personal essays by community members who have struggled with mental health issues, the series provides restorative insights and resources to fellow lawyers in need. Read them all here.
The Mental Health Impact Blog Series coincides with a Law School-wide initiative, which will include lectures and workshops to support and promote mental well-being. To get involved in the activities or to write a guest post, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“You are no more likely to suffer from depression now than anyone who has not suffered from depression.” And with those words from my treating psychiatrist, I was cured.
Until I wasn’t.
In the months leading up to this optimistic sign-off from my psychiatrist, I had lost my job after plunging into a major depressive episode in my late 40’s. I had undergone therapy, taken a course of antidepressants, and rebuilt my emotional and physical health in about three months. Job done. I chalked up this unexpected and traumatic period of my life to a high level of stress at work. I was the General Counsel for a company that had just gone public.
Four years later, my old friends, Anxiety and Depression, knocked on my door again. This time, they hadn’t booked a return ticket. They intended to stay for a while.
If you’re reading this article, you’re likely gearing up for your first year of law school — something that might feel really new, exciting, and possibly terrifying. One year ago, I was in the same exact position. Now, I’ve been reflecting on all the things I was doing at this time that turned out to be really helpful, and all the things I probably should have done differently. To make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running in just a few weeks, follow these tips.