THE ADVOCATE 71
VOL. 77 PART 1 JANUARY 2019
assigned to me the Thursday before the trial, which started the following
Monday or Tuesday. I ran almost all the witnesses that first week. It was a
nightmare. For months, while I was still dealing (or not dealing) with my
father’s death, we worked six days a week, with every day ending late at
night with a large glass of scotch and little dinner. I missed my family and
I was really starting to hate where my work life had taken me.
I followed up that trial with another large trial, but at least it was in town.
That trial took many acrimonious turns before finally ending after many,
many months. I was spent. I was profoundly unhappy at work and struggling
to find a way to just get through every day.
My weekly crying sessions turned daily. Then, procrastination set in.
I was in a long period of being out of court, supposedly preparing for
upcoming trials. It was the ideal situation to get lost staring at a computer
screen. Soon I was getting little, if anything, done for weeks at a time. And
though I was no longer overworking, I was certainly not happy. I was now
crying even while commuting to work.
Then, finally, I got so desperate that I summoned the courage to go into
my friend’s office one day and for help. But when I entered her office, I just
cried some more. I knew my friend talked openly about her mental health
struggles and how she came back from them. I think I cried for an hour in
her office that day.
From there, I called Derek LaCroix at LAPBC. I saw Derek and quickly
left work for an earlier-than-planned vacation. During the next several
months I would see Derek regularly and do the readings and homework
that he asked me to do.
Four months later I would slowly return to work. It was hard, but I had
some skills, thanks to Derek and some reading, that surprisingly helped so
much. It turns out that my pattern of behaviour and destructive thought
processes were very common. These are common problems that had real
and manageable solutions.
Life is hard at times. I try now to take steps to smooth the edges before
the asteroid hits, and thereby make the crater less deep. But I still need to
know how to climb out from the bottom of it. That is sometimes a daily
In the end, I saw that my hourly, daily, weekly struggles are not a sign of
weakness, but a process that allows me to use my new skills to deal with these
inevitable pitfalls of life. Using these skills helps me—not only in the
moment, but also in the grander scale of life—to see what is really important.
I understand now that once you sink deep and then climb out, you still
have to be prepared to do it again. And again. You will always be hit by the