Summary: Find out why being an attorney causes many to be depressed and feel like they are never good enough.
- Many attorneys have self-esteem issues.
- These lead to depression, unhappiness, and sometimes even suicide.
- Your happiness needs to come from within so that you do not get torn down by being an attorney.
Like it or not, the way you think about yourself and the world around you will create not only your happiness but the sort of life you live as well. It will determine the quality of your life while you are alive, how long you live and the happiness of your family and those with whom you share your life. Nothing is more important than your psychology, and nothing will do more to determine how happy you are than the way you process your world around you. Our self-esteem is “one’s overall evaluation of the self and the feelings engendered by that evaluation” (Crocker, 2001). When we judge ourselves harshly, our self-esteem suffers. When we surround ourselves with people who are constantly generating feelings of inferiority, we are likely to also feel poorly about ourselves. Your self-esteem will be affected by your environment to a great extent. Large law firms are “an environment” and can have a profound effect on our self-esteem.
Lawyers—especially big firm lawyers and the best lawyers—have a way of thinking about the world that involves twisted psychology and low self-esteem, which often guarantees not only their unhappiness—but also the unhappiness of those around them (their families). According to the American Psychological Association, lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers. Attorneys motivated by the highest levels of achievement can become incredibly unhappy, unfulfilled and alienated from those around them in the process. When they start achieving the results they are looking for, they realize they are still unhappy and depressed. When they fail to achieve the career results they believe they should (which is likely most of the time), they use that as a reason to be unhappy and depressed.
Do you know any depressed attorneys? Have you ever been depressed or unhappy? How did you get through it?
See the following articles for more information:
- Why Most Attorneys Are Depressed and Unhappy
- Why You Are Unhappy Practicing Law: Soldiers and Generals in Law Firms
- The Only Way to Be Happy Practicing Law
This week I found out another attorney I know died—likely by suicide. This is the second attorney I know who died of suicide in the past few months. The first one I learned who had died was someone with whom I lived in college. The most recent one was an attorney with whom I went to high school. Both of these attorneys were attorneys who were very motivated and concerned about how they appeared to others, succeeding and making the most of their careers. Both of them found themselves coming up short.