THE ADVOCATE 69
VOL. 77 PART 1 JANUARY 2019
I WAITED A LONG TIME TO ASK FOR HELP
A couple of months ago, Derek LaCroix, Q.C., executive director of the
Lawyers Assistance Program of BC (“LAPBC”), asked me to write something
about my journey through poor mental health and out. I readily agreed. I
would be happy to do anything for Derek and others if it would assist them
in dealing with life and all it throws at us.
However, shortly thereafter, work started to become quite unsatisfying
and highly stressful. I felt I could not speak from a place of strength about
mental health. I started to dread work, and the stress, and started exhibiting
some of the signs of poor coping, mainly procrastination.
Then I tried to do as Derek has reminded me: just do the next right thing.
Do not be discouraged when facing tasks where you cannot see the whole
arc of it, nor understand all of what needs to be done. Just start by doing
what you can. Start doing what you know. Remove those things that stand
in your way and identify what is preventing you from starting. So now that
I have started this task with a little healthy confession, let me say where I
have been and where I am.
It is hard for me to realize how far down the rabbit hole I had sunk, and
not that long ago. At my lowest, I finally gathered the courage to walk into
a friend’s office and tried to ask her how she once dealt with her issues of
depression. I will get to how that went, but before I do, some background.
I have wanted to be a practising lawyer for a long time—since I was nine
years old, to be precise. I never wavered or questioned my decision or
thought that there was another profession for me. I always knew I wanted
to help people and, in doing so, be a part of the conversation about what are
the norms and values that we hold as a society. Those are still the reasons
why I am a lawyer.