872 THE ADVOCATE VOL. 75 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2017 and knew what I was talking about but my anxiety at the thought of speaking was so great that I would begin to shake. So I sat quietly. I got through and did well but that was a concern. I did drink and party quite a bit and continued to play sports and generally kept busy, and I think that helped. When I began articles I started off really well with a great deal of enthusiasm, but that started to fade as the year went on. I was terrified of going to court and I had signed on as a litigator so was sent to chambers and even Small Claims Court frequently. I had to learn techniques to keep my shakes in check and to even be able to speak—ways of standing and holding the podium, phrases that I memorized in order to begin presenting. I was able to get through but it was very stressful. My work started to slip; the fear crept into all my work, I became afraid to make even simple decisions, and I couldn’t even do a conveyance as I became more and more paralyzed with fear. I was afraid to go to work; I thought of quitting and doing something else, though I didn’t know what, since I had only ever really considered being a lawyer. I had heard of LAP and was aware that help was available but I was reluctant to admit I had a problem I couldn’t fix myself and I was afraid people would find out I needed help. Finally, I became desperate and called LAP. Right from the start they were friendly. The person who answered the phone listened and was very engaged and respectful and interested. She assured me that everything would be confidential. I made an appointment and went in the next day to meet with her. With help I began to pay attention to my thoughts and to challenge some of my beliefs. I have come to know myself better and have more control of my thinking. I finished articles and I got help finding a new job. My anxiety and constant negative self-assessment have greatly diminished. I really enjoy going to court and am happy being a lawyer. I get a sense of satisfaction helping my clients and a sense of achievement preparing and presenting my cases. I continue to touch base with LAP periodically and have even done the “Boundaries” course they offer. I am beginning to meditate regularly and today I am happy to go to work every, or almost every, day. The Lawyers Assistance Program is an independent organization of members of the legal community (lawyers, judges, families and support staff). We provide peer support and referral services to help people deal with personal problems, including alcohol and drug dependence, stress, anxiety and depression. We are volunteers and staff committed to providing confidential, compassionate and knowledgeable outreach, support and education. We seek to foster collegiality among our peers and to promote health and well-being in our community. You can reach LAP by telephone at 604-685-2171, toll-free at 1-888-685-2171 or via the LAP website: <www.lapbc.com>.
Nov Advocate 2017
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