Some days I feel like Atlas. Today I definitely feel this way. I’ve been working on a lot of complicated legal cases at work, and two of them have come to ahead recently. One was a trial, and while I was well prepared and confident, the trial experience in general with its innate uncertainty of outcome is a very stressful experience for any attorney, but especially me, with this fucking anxiety disorder that I have. The trial went well, and I know I did the best I could, and was much more confident and organized that my opposing counsel. I also know I asked the right questions, and scored some points. But even good outcomes don’t always resolve the stress in getting there.
Today’s hearing did not go so well. This one was much more iffy, and I think we probably lost our motion today. The results of this are not the end of the world for my client by any means, and I know I did the best I could by her.
But this morning I had to fight down anxiety again to get through the hearing, and after this, it was like I just BROKE. I started shaking like a leaf and I couldn’t eat much and was immediately ridiculously tired and headachy and all that. So I had to leave work for the afternoon and medicate, and I still feel off even now.
This shit scares me. I hate how fragile and weak these episodes make me feel. It makes me feel like I cannot do what I have set my life’s work to be, and that I am just going to fail. It makes me feel like I am already a failure, even though objectively this is not the case. I feel like I am failing my partners and my staff too when I have to leave work, because I am not bringing in more billings to help keep us afloat.
It terrifies me that I could have to change careers someday. I have worked so hard to get where I am, and to un-wind all of this would be difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. And then what? Where I live and what I have created here has centered around this job and I don’t know who I would be without it. I also feel angry that anxiety threatens to take this away from me, that it could have that power someday. It makes me fear what else it could take from me.
I have a hard time accepting that there may just be hard days. I’m trying not to catastrophize what could be a blip for me. I don’t want to give this more power than it should have. I just hate that living my life feels like such a damn marathon some days. I hate the insecurities and fears that bust out of their cages and run around like meth-tripping gremlins when the panic hits. I hate being hijacked by my limbic system and forced to shut down.
What has come to me during recent navel grazing over such things is that I still have a deep seated sense of deficiency, of unworthiness, worthlessness, unloveableness that I don’t yet know how to heal or make some sort of fragile detente with.