The Hidden Lawyer

Every morning I wake up and then immediately want to go back to sleep. I try to see how many times I can hit snooze to delay facing the pain and problems. It’s not that I am tired nor am I lazy but it’s because the dream world is so much better than reality.

I am a top lawyer in one of the best firms in Manchester. People see me outside and inside work as this confident, driven and unstoppable lawyer but that’s not what I see or I feel. It’s not reflective of the darkness and pure sadness clouding my mind.

It’s the same routine every day: I drag myself out of my bed in a sluggish and slow manner, I grab the smallest bit of toast, put on my suit, then try to convince myself that I am ready for the day and that I will make it through the day. I then set off on my walk to work which takes me twenty minutes with the additional time for my coffee, which sadly, is the most exciting part of my morning.

One thing that gets me down is seeing everybody else rushing to work in the morning; it puts many questions in my head and makes myself question life in general. Is this all that life is? Am I just here to wake up, go to work and repeat? What is my value in the world? Then the most frightening question… will I ever be happy again?

When walking down the street, I feel as if I am invincible to everyone else. Nobody necessarily seems on top of the world nor happy, as they stare at their mobile phones or read through papers for their first meeting as they all focus on getting to work but they all seem a lot happier than I feel. My thoughts aren’t on what I have first thing but more on how I am going to get through the day.

Eventually I will arrive at work. It’s a large vertical building by the river, roughly fifty floors high. So many people surround it every day, mostly going in but a few coming out. This is the point where I grip my briefcase so hard and freeze, before I, too, go in. Thoughts rush to my head of the coming events of the day; then the anxiety begins to kick in, accompanied by the sadness in my mind.

“Have I done all the paper work I needed to?”

“Have I got a meeting with a big client this morning?”

“Will I get in trouble with my boss?”

Not the kind of questions to boost my mood but I can’t help it. I’m forever trapped in this mind- set.

As I enter the building I alter my facial expression and body language. I make sure my posture is upright, I make sure that my eyes are focused and that my lips are half smiling (which is challenging). I don’t want to show how I really feel, I don’t want to look weak.

I proceed to the lift to go up to the thirty- sixth floor; it is crammed with smartly dressed people. The lift often stinks of strong aftershave and perfume. Although there are so many people in there, usually nobody utters a word, they are all focused on work and what they have to do, I guess. There’s always someone I recognise, who may give me a quick nod or a “good morning”. I’ll reply with a half-hearted nod or half a smile.

When the lift eventually gets to my floor I know that’s it. It’s time for me to face the true reality and pressures of my job. I go straight to my desk in our open -plan office, which is always really noisy, on the way passing people saying, “good morning” etc etc.

When I get there, I take a seat and try to think what I have to do. I then start to write down my tasks, which at least takes away the thoughts of sadness in my mind. Then I usually realise exactly how much I have to do and how tricky the tasks are going to be; that’s when my heart starts racing again.

I didn’t always used to be like this. I used to have ambition, passion and energy running through my body as opposed to just trying to fake this to the outside world. I can’t afford to show any weakness though, as I believe they’ll think I’m weak, that I’m not up to this job; then I’ll have to leave this job and be jobless.

So how did these feelings start? How did I become so low? Feel so worthless? I guess a few things triggered off these feelings. It started when I first moved here for my job promotion. I used to live down south with friends and family. I wish I had never got that promotion now.

Since moving up here, I have lost contact with my friends and I have been far too busy to make new friends. In terms of my family, I have a large family and so often my parents are visiting relatives all across the country, as well as in other countries. I assumed they were too busy, as was I. I didn’t want to tell them how down I’ve been feeling; why would I? They see me as a highly successful lawyer; why would I want to say anything to change their perceptions?

That feeling of loneliness and not being able to reach out to people, combined with my lack of purpose is where it all began. Yes, I found I was in top form when I got the job and then started work there but then that dramatically changed. I found being a lawyer was something I did not want to do, but what else can I do?

I guess until now it’s been easier to take the easy option of continuing my same life style, being on the rush and acting like a robot. I’ve decided no more though! I want to take that risk and try to change my job, change my life and ultimately change my level of happiness.

 

Important notice:

If you or anyone you know, are experiencing any of the symptoms or issues experienced in the story today, please encourage yourself or the individual to talk, and to see a professional if necessary. In lots of cases, people hide or keep their mental health challenges to themselves and it gets worse. I know from experience when faced with difficulties, that when I’ve talked to people it has always significantly improved my well-being each time.

Speak to family and friends where possible but there are some other sources available if you wish to talk to someone independently. There are many but a couple of key ones for the UK:

https://www.samaritans.org/

https://www.mind.org.uk/

 

Jonny Pardoe

 

Jonny Pardoe © August 2018

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

 

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