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Lawyer Mental Health & Substance Abuse

You’re reading this because you’re an attorney and you’re freaking out. You’re not alone. No joke. We’re 全部的 现在处于不同的疯狂阶段,我们想提供帮助。 现在是时候了,我们应该以不同的方式看待律师的心理健康,并将解决这一问题作为优先事项。

首先,深呼吸。一个真正的。吸气七秒钟。保持三分钟。呼气八秒钟。再做一次。然后再做一次。

在律师事务所,我们一直都知道,律师需要把心理健康放在首位。多年来,我们一直与心理健康和药物滥用专家合作,为律师提供他们健康、清醒生活所需的工具。  

让我们深入研究这些工具。

如果你还没有开始考虑你的心理健康呢?

我们敢打赌,你一定知道在大案面前感到焦虑或害怕有问题的客户是什么感觉。但这可能是你第一次真正感到不知所措——关于这个世界(你无法控制)、你的生活(你可以控制)和你的生意(介于两者之间)。

看看这听起来是否熟悉:

  • 你感觉超现实。一切都像梦幻般或电影般——这一切真的发生了吗?
  • 你的肩膀很紧,注意到你屏住了呼吸。
  • 你的头脑在加速,试图一次制定875个计划。
  • 你正在摄入咖啡因或其他物质。
  • 你只是很害怕。这是你从未感受过的恐惧。

恭喜!你对异常情况的反应是正常的。事实上,这是一种痛苦的情况。(听我们与创伤专家雪莉·沃林的播客.) 你可能以前从未经历过全球大流行。你在如何处理这件事上没有情感蓝图。正如我们的一位实验室人员所说,这就像世界上每个城市都同时遭受飓风袭击一样。 

所以,你不会发疯的。你没有失去理智。你的大脑正在对巨大的压力环境做出应有的反应。你没事。

但这意味着你需要制定一个计划来照顾自己。想想看:如果你不照顾自己,你就不能照顾自己 clients. Or your family. It’s that old rule – put your oxygen mask on first. 

You can do this. And you will survive this. Read on. 

And What if You’re an Old Pro?

We want to sidebar with our community members who have spent their lives thinking about their mental health. You’ve dealt with depression, anxiety, ADHD, panic attacks — insert your issue here — for years. You’ve seen therapists. You’ve read books. You’ve meditated. You’ve exercised. You’ve done all the things. 

What makes you special during this particularly wrought time is that you might be having some surprising reactions. See if this sounds familiar to you:

  • You actually feel…calm. Like your brain has been preparing you for an outside crisis like this your whole life.
  • Or you feel extra ramped up. This crisis is triggering all your worst fears. 
  • You’re worried about leaning on crutches – alcohol, drugs, meds, your support group. 
  • Or you’re in Take Care mode. You’re furiously helping everyone else to avoid thinking about yourself.
  • You’re cut off from your usual coping strategies – in-person therapy, exercise, you name it.

We’re going to tell you what we told the other folks up there: this is still a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Keep repeating that. You will not go crazier. You will not get worse. You may feel like your symptoms are increasing — because they are! But you’re not going to lose your mind or be unable to take care of yourself or your family. 

You already know how to cope. It’s just a matter of reminding yourself of those strategies and pivoting them a little.

Let’s look at what those strategies are. 

7 Tips to Help You Through Your Day

Change Your Productivity

Your productivity has changed. Accept this now. As attorneys, you’ve worked through crises before – family issues, bad health, you name it – but you’ve never worked through one like this. You cannot keep the same level of productivity you’re used to.

This doesn’t mean your work will suffer. What this means is that you need to reconsider how you work. Your systems and lists are more important than ever. We’ve always believed your productivity hinges on your mental health. 

  • Reprioritize. Each day, pick three things that need to get done. Now isn’t the time for your Would Be Nice list. Put out the fires first and put your limited energy towards the most important tasks.
  • Plan for the future. But this doesn’t mean you’re living moment to moment. Spend some time sketching out possible futures. (And don’t freak yourself out in the meantime.) What happens if this world stays this way 6 months from now? 1 year? 2 years? Write down steps you need to take to insure your future.
  • Schedule breaks. We’ve always told you this, but now we’re really telling you: Schedule breaks. Every day. Your brain isn’t functioning the same. You need several, restorative breaks on the calendar every single day to get away from work, reset, and clear your head.

Seriously, Get Outside

Outside is liquid gold right now. You might’ve been an outdoors person before this hit or maybe you were your family’s resident vampire. Regardless, outside is an elixir. It’s going to restore you in a way you didn’t know was possible.

  • Take it easy. Even if you’re a marathon runner, use your outside time for restoration — not breaking records. Take a slow, meditative walk in the sunshine. Stay away from crowded areas. Listen to music you love. Clear your head.
  • Learn birds. OK, hear us out: you will find incredible comfort knowing the birds are business as usual. They’re oblivious to our chaos. Learn a couple of your neighborhood birds and make a game out of finding them.
  • Plant. You don’t need a yard for this. Get some seeds and start planting. Start with the easy stuff – easy-to-grow flowers, lettuce, root vegetables. Seeding and seeing your labor grow is magic.

Schedule Quiet Time

This is where a lot of lists will recommend meditation and we do 建议冥想。即使是那些认为自己不可能静坐超过几分钟的人也应该试试。但最重要的是,安排安静的独处时间。有配偶和孩子在家,有客户打来电话,这可能感觉不可能。但即使是几分钟也会对你有所帮助。

  • 把你的安静时间记在日历上。 在理想的世界里,一个小时是完美的。但我们知道这并不总是可能的。无论时间有多长,都要在日历上安排好这段时间,并让家人知道。然后去一个安静的地方——即使是浴室——静静地坐着。实践 感激.
  • 玩五件事游戏。 为了在安静的时候分散你的大脑思考,玩5件事。问问自己:我现在能听到哪五件事?我看到的5件蓝色的东西是什么?我注意到哪五种气味?我能想到哪五种水果?等等,给你疲惫的大脑一个游戏。
  • 不要打电话。 在此预定时间内放下手机。别理它。在这段时间里,除了静静地坐着,你什么都不用做。认真地一切都会等待。 

制定时间表

快乐的大脑喜欢例行公事。你的日常生活现在颠倒了。重新聚焦。花点时间把你新的工作和家庭习惯写在纸上。 

  • 做几个选择。 在精神健康状况更糟的日子里,你需要一个更紧凑的时间表。这可能意味着每天每隔30分钟或15分钟安排一次,直到睡觉时间。听起来很极端,但有任务要回顾会让你平静下来。为了更好的日子,坚持每小时一次。
  • 安排你的周末. 如果你像我们中的一些人一样,你喜欢悠闲的无计划周末时间。最终,你仍然可以拥有这段时间。但现在,也要安排你的周末。这可以防止你的大脑在非结构化的时间里旋转。
  • 灵活变通. 作为律师,我们有点a型。我们制定了一个时间表,如果不遵守,我们就会痛打自己。时间表是一种应对工具,它不是一成不变的。用它来帮助,而不是惩罚。

找到一个爱好

我们知道很多律师没有业余爱好。你的工作是他们的爱好。你需要的不是工作,而是让你的手和大脑长时间处于忙碌状态的东西。这可以是编织、视频游戏、拼图、烹饪或填字游戏。尝试一些让你全神贯注的事情。

  • 发挥你的竞争精神。 我们的意思是,你是个律师。你可能很有竞争力。使用此驱动器(合理!)为了你的爱好。为自己设定目标。下个月学两道新菜。完成每天的填字游戏。给自己一些努力的方向。
  • 学习新东西. 嗯,但真的:无论是一种新的语言、软件,还是宇宙的奥秘,给你的大脑一些新的东西来咀嚼。你会感到更快乐,更少无助。
  • 把业余爱好远离工作。 我们的意思是选择一种与律师无关的爱好。不要花这个时间去学习伊丽莎白时代法律的历史。学习如何用钩子钩住地毯。

利用在线治疗

无论你是治疗老手还是从未考虑过治疗,现在都是时候了。你 有你需要处理的狗屎。在你把压力发泄到家人、同事或更糟的客户身上之前,你要先处理好它。现在是让中立党站在你这边的时候了。

  • 克服你对治疗的假设。 如果治疗对你来说是新的,你可能会有一些成见。这是给疯子的。这让我很虚弱。我的家人可以支持我,我不需要治疗。这些都不是真的。治疗适合每个人,它会让你变得更坚强。
  • 杂志 为了最大限度地利用时间,大脑会在会话前转储到页面上。您将能够提取紧迫的问题,以便充分利用时间。
  • 不要害怕治疗师购物。 治疗一开始可能很难,让你感到不舒服。但不要坚持与你不感兴趣的治疗师在一起。他们是专业人士,如果你需要更换,他们会理解的。 

HALT

There’s an old Alcoholics Anonymous saying: you’re most in danger of slipping when you’re too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT). The same applies to mental health. Keeping an eye on these emotions is a fast way to keep yourself in check.

  • Stay connected. Hanging with friends or family is different now, but in some ways — it’s easier. If you’re lonely, send a quick text. Set up a video call so you can see a face. Reach out in the way that makes the most sense to you. But reach out.
  • Sleep. Nothing will rot your brain faster than no sleep. As attorneys, we’re used to working through the night, but now isn’t the time to prove you can do this. You’re extra stressed. Get as much rest as you can. Make it an absolute priority.
  • Schedule your meals. Remember we when said you should keep a schedule? Schedule your meals, too. Write down what you’ll eat and what time you’ll eat it. Stick to it, even if you aren’t hungry. Keep your blood sugar even.

5 Resources to Use Right Now

Here are a few resources we found helpful.

MoodPath

Tracking your daily moods is a good way to catch a decline before it starts. We love metrics here and this app does it well. MoodPath asks you questions to asses your mood three times a day, then tracks how you’re feeling.

Youper

Youper is an AI therapist. And it’s incredibly effective. In a texting format, the app conversationally asks you how you’re feeling and digs into why you’re having those feelings. It also offers meditations, breathing exercises, and gentle sleep music. 

Talkspace

Talkspace has been in the online therapy game long before this crisis began and they do it exceptionally well. Easy to use, fast to respond.

Online Zoo Cams

For your moment of zen, most zoos around the US are offering live cams. We like the San Diego Zoo cam, but your local zoo probably offers it, too. Watch the penguins. They’ll save your soul.

自杀热线

听着:你不一定要自杀才能拨打自杀热线。但是如果你感到低落、孤独或处于边缘,你应该给他们打电话。您还可以发送文本。热线上的志愿者都很善良,富有同情心,会立即帮助你。

药物滥用和律师

精神健康和药物滥用是不可避免的伙伴。一方在各个层面上通知另一方。无论你是在恢复中还是对它感到好奇,危机都会揭示你的痛点。 

近21% 律师中有三分之一是问题酒客,近9%是吸毒者。 我们更容易滥用药物 因为工作时间长、压力大、风险高。

所以,你可能会挣扎也就不足为奇了。多年来,我们一直在与社区成员讨论药物滥用问题。我们一直认为,透明和真实地了解使用对我们行业的影响是很重要的。

如果你不确定自己是否有问题怎么办?

大多数人都不确定。你并不孤单。有一种媒体的刻板印象是,醉酒的人不能保住工作,酒后驾车,最后无家可归。也许你的一些家庭成员甚至客户都符合这种刻板印象。 

事实上,大多数药物滥用都不是这样的。你可能会在工作中失去它。你可能没有法律问题。你可以在前一天晚上喝酒或使用,早上6点起床,没有问题。 

但是如果你开始有一个唠叨的想法 可以 需要减少,听从你的直觉。一些成瘾专家说,有这种想法是你有问题的证据。

但让我们看看:

  • 您以前已经停止使用,但从未能够完全停止。
  • 你和自己讨价还价。“今晚我只喝三杯啤酒,明天就喝完。”
  • 你对你的家人或朋友撒了谎,说你喝了多少或用了多少。 
  • You kind of feel like shit. Just a little bit. All the time. 
  • You feel low-level anxious all the time — and you reach for your substance to calm your nerves.

This isn’t a complete list. It’s a guideline. Substance abuse is personal to you. Your standards are yours — and your rock bottom is yours.

For example, one of our team members is an alcoholic. She excelled at work. She exercised. She never missed an appointment or woke up late. And she was only drinking 3-4x a week. Couldn’t possibly be an alcoholic, right? One day, she drank enough to pass out and missed an important phone call. She wouldn’t have missed this call had she not been drinking. 

And that was her wake up call to get help. It might be something as small as that.

We’ll walk you through some steps to figure this out.

What if You’re Already in Recovery?

We want to talk to our attorneys already in recovery. First: congratulations. We know firsthand how hard it is to reduce or stop using. This is a battle you fought and won — and it can never be taken away from you.

But this pandemic is a different battle and it’s going to trigger your cravings. How could it not? It hits so many fears: feeling out of control, helplessness, a chaotic outside world. These are the things we tried to escape by using in peaceful times.

Pay attention to these feelings.

  • Your anxiety is creeping up. You might not be thinking of using yet, but you know it’s coming.
  • Your friends and family are drinking more and using more. It’s harder to avoid triggers.
  • You’re cut off from your support: in-person meetings, your sponsor, or other coping strategies.
  • You’re starting to bargain again. “Coronavirus doesn’t count — I could use right now when things are tough and stop later.”
  • You’re (literally) dreaming about using.

Again, not a complete list, but you’re a veteran. You probably know what your relapse triggers are. The point is: You must be more vigilant than ever. This is an unprecedented time.

But you can do this.

5 Tips to Help You Reduce or Stop Using

Make Lists

Whether you’re new to considering reduction or you’ve been through treatment, making lists you can review as you go through the process is crucial. Don’t let these thoughts run off-leash in your head. You’ll just get more anxious.

  • Create a Use Matrix. Grab a sheet of paper. Make four connected boxes. Label the boxes: Advantages of Using, Disadvantages of Using, Advantages of Quitting, Disadvantages of Quitting. Then fill in the blanks. Review this list each day. 
  • Track your use. When we drink or use too much, we don’t want to track. Tracking makes it real. So you often don’t know exactly how or when you’re using. Write down each time you use or drink, what happened right before you did, and what you were feeling. If you’re sober, track each time you crave.
  • Journal, journal, journal. Substance abuse isn’t about the substance. Sure, you might genuinely love a peaty Scotch or the taste of a tart red wine — but if you’re overusing, you’re not doing it for the taste. You’re doing it because you’re having emotions and thoughts you want to suppress. Brain dump every single morning, furiously. Don’t judge yourself.

Get Support

Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t for everyone and it isn’t your only option. It can be helpful — it’s the original model and they know their stuff. If AA sounds right to you, use it. But some people shun AA because they don’t like the religious aspect or it feels cult-ish or too rah-rah. But you can’t white knuckle substance use alone.

As attorneys, we’re used to self-sufficiency. We don’t ask for help. But you’re going to break this pattern.

  • Join an online group. You can’t meet people in person right now, but there are online support groups that have been running this way for years. They have messageboard or video meetings. You’ll feel a 巨大的 知道自己并不孤单,感到如释重负。 
  • 找一个有责任感的朋友。 你的家人和一些朋友可能不理解你在这里的旅程。没关系。不是每个人都会,也不是每个人都注定会。但你可能会想到一个人正在经历这一切。也许他们在脸书上发布了一条关于戒酒的帖子,或者在会议上发表了一条简短的评论。与他们联系。每天登记入住。
  • 潜伏在留言板上,倾听 播客. 即使你不发帖,也会有人分享他们的故事的留言板。只需滚动浏览其他人的恢复胜利、挣扎和日常活动,就会给你自己的灵感。(或加入教练组,如 实验室. 你会发现我们的社区成员中有很多人都站在你的立场。)

慢慢来

一些专家说,要想成功,你需要完全停止你的物质。对你们中的一些人来说,这可能是真的。这是你的旅程,你会明白的。 

其他人认为 适度 是一条更现实的道路。你可以从慢慢减少开始,然后意识到你需要完全停止。这里没有什么规则,除了保持健康。(如果你已经清醒了,你可能已经找到了自己的路线——所以让这句话作为提醒。)

  • 了解复发和滑倒之间的区别。 一旦你设定了减少或停止的目标,如果你滑倒了,不要惩罚自己。一次失误就是这样,而不是一个借口或一个彻底复发的理由。如果你决定每周减少饮酒两次3倍,而本周又减少了4倍,那就回到正轨吧。滑倒不是复发。
  • 给自己设定现实的目标。 作为律师,我们设定了富有挑战性的目标。我们之所以成功,是因为我们做到了这一点。但当谈到减少习惯时,你要慢慢开始。不要试图每周跑6英里,停止饮酒,停止吃糖。如果你打算减少你的物质,那么暂时把它作为你唯一的个人目标。
  • Delay. If you want to use, set a timer for 20 minutes. Clean your kitchen, go for a walk, play a game on your phone, whatever. After the timer goes off, see if you still want to use. Then set another timer. And repeat. 

Note: If you’re a heavy drinker or user, don’t stop abruptly or by yourself. This is dangerous and you’ll end up in a bad place. Fight through your embarrassment or shame and call a treatment center to get guidance. This doesn’t mean you’re going to get forced into treatment. Counselors answer calls like this every single day and they’re there for you.

Find Replacements

Let’s be real: nothing will replace the (artificial) high of drinking or drugs. But it’s just that — artificial. It’s not real and you can’t find an exact match in real life.

But you can find close substitutes. 

  • Drink fizzy water. No joke, drinkers find themselves switching to La Croix. Sounds silly, but this seems to be the universal substitute for a cold beer or a cocktail. Buy a case or two and drink them during your usual using times — dinner, after work, whenever you’d usually treat yourself. 
  • Find your other-escape. You cannot emulate the initial relaxation and escape alcohol and drugs give you. You never will and it’s best to accept that now. And you wouldn’t want to emulate the hangover and the shame that 而且 come with using. So, make a list of things that make you feel relaxed, connected, and most like yourself. It might be hard at first. Try more than once. 
  • Seek other friends. Not everyone is a social drinker or user, but if you are, your drinking/using buddies are an important part of your life. Here’s a hard truth: you can’t stop or reduce and hang with the people who keep using. At least, not at the beginning of your journey. So, take this time to make a list of people who don’t use. Who are the people in your life who will encourage and support your new goals?

Play the Tape Forward

Treatment counselors will tell you to scare yourself. This is different from punishing or shaming. In fact, shame is a user’s worst fuel. Shame is useless in this situation. 

But you do want to understand what the future looks like if you keep using at the same pace. Or, if you’re sober, what the future looks like if you relapse. 

  • Write out your possible paths. If you’re at the point where you’re worried about your use, imagine what your future looks like if you don’t quit or reduce. If you don’t take the right steps, you’ll need more and more of your substance to feel good. So, grab a notebook, and write down what 6 months, a year, 2 years look like for your career, your family, your health. 
  • Figure out your status quo. But not every future is cinematically bad. What happens if you keep using as you are now? What does life look like? What goals won’t you achieve? How will you feel? How will your family feel? Your colleagues? Your clients?
  • Sketch a happy future. No one knows the future. But your previous future plans might look different now. You cannot control coronavirus or your government. But you can control your day-to-day future. What’s your happiest future look like now, in our new virus reality? How does your use fit in?

5 Resources to Look Into Today

Here are a few resources we found helpful.

The Naked Mind

Annie Grace has two books, a podcast, and resources on cutting down drinking. You can sign up for her 30-day program (for free) right now. Also, check out this interview we hosted with Annie. 

SMART Online Recovery

SMART has been hosting online meetings through message boards, chat, and video for years. They’re a warm, agnostic, abstinence-based support group for all addictions. 

Reddit Recovery Groups

Reddit has a reputation for being a strange place to hang out, but it’s wonderful 用于查找各种恢复组。有一吨在那里-你不必张贴。您可以滚动查看以获得建议、同情和支持。 

律师帮助律师

ABA致力于消除物质使用带来的耻辱。他们成立了一个委员会,提供机密支持。 

图书馆

现在是熟悉从图书馆借阅电子书的时候了。事实上,有一个应用程序叫做 利比 这使得这很容易。对待你减少或停止使用的承诺,就像你在上大学课程一样。 读,读,读。 

保持理智,让你的律师事务所继续运作

当你考虑你的心理健康和物质使用时,你可能 而且 想知道在这场危机中,你如何才能让你的公司维持生计。你并不孤单——几乎我们所有的律师都感受到了同样的压力。我们制定了一个名为Pivot的30天计划,帮助您在切换到remote时保持理智,为财务衰退做好准备,并帮助您的客户摆脱困境。 在此处了解更多信息。

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