Anxiety and SA

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Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:22 pm

I'm going to be summering at V5 firm in NY. I've recently been dealing with anxiety issues that affect my interpersonal skills, e.g., I get short of breath, smile awkwardly, fidget, and fear oncoming panic attacks. If I were in an office just doing work by myself, I'm fine. I'm wondering if I should let my firm know this, assuming (although it may be a pipe dream) that, given the correlation between lawyers and anxiety/depression, they might be understanding.

Any advice/similar experience/wisdom would also be appreciated. Thanks

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm going to be summering at V5 firm in NY. I've recently been dealing with anxiety issues that affect my interpersonal skills, e.g., I get short of breath, smile awkwardly, fidget, and fear oncoming panic attacks. If I were in an office just doing work by myself, I'm fine. I'm wondering if I should let my firm know this, assuming (although it may be a pipe dream) that, given the correlation between lawyers and anxiety/depression, they might be understanding.

Any advice/similar experience/wisdom would also be appreciated. Thanks


I wouldn't tell your firm this. Try and make some close friends that you are more comfortable with and that are more willing to carry on conversations, etc. so it's easier for you. Avoid some social events if you can (you can't avoid all but you can definitely avoid some without it being an issue).

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:32 pm

Ativan. Seriously. It's saved my life when I'm put in high pressure situations.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:35 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Ativan. Seriously. It's saved my life when I'm put in high pressure situations.


+1. See if you can get prescribed anti-anxiety medicine. It helps a shit ton. At social events, just hang out with the people you've met and sort of blend in. I'm super quiet and managed to do this all summer.

Definitely do not mention this to your firm. It'll make you unstable and unreliable, regardless of whether that's true.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby thesealocust » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Definitely do not mention this to your firm.


+1.

Keep in mind there aren't really central authorities/hierarchies at firms. Even if it made sense to give them warning, it would be hard to find a way to get that message to the right people in the right context.

You might check in with your career services office.

Lastly, since you're going to a V5, you're going to a firm with an insanely high offer rate that's probably trying to wine and dine you over the summer much more than it's trying to test you. Focusing on that might lessen some of the anxiety that would otherwise be added by the summer job process.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:03 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Ativan. Seriously. It's saved my life when I'm put in high pressure situations.


How long have you been taking it/how often do you need to?

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:18 pm

I know a lot of people that take xanax for social anxiety and performance anxiety. A low dose will definitely reduce the symptoms that you exhibit.

The above reply is also credited. Do not tell the firm about this. Also, you're going to get an offer, so concentrate on that.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:25 pm

.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Ativan. Seriously. It's saved my life when I'm put in high pressure situations.


How long have you been taking it/how often do you need to?


I only take it when needed. I've been taking it for five years. The only side effect is a somewhat increased susceptibility to anxiety right after you stop taking it, but your body recovers quickly.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:20 am

Luckily the tolerance at law firms for somewhat awkward social behavior is generally pretty high, so you ought to try not to worry about coming off badly. In my experience, fearing whether you're handling yourself well enough in a social situation can be a real anxiety trigger, which makes things worse, which makes you anxious, etc. etc., so try to be confident about it heading into the summer—the truth is nobody else, especially someone who barely knows you, will probably even notice if you're having anxiety symptoms.

Even if you're afraid you'll get anxious and do something stupid, DO NOT use your anxiety as an excuse to skip firm social events. Make an appearance, chat for a bit, make a gracious exit if you just can't take it and have to leave early. Like I said, there are some weirdo lawyers out there so you will probably find yourself well within accepted norms of behavior. But people will notice if you just blow off the social stuff altogether. Just put in the face time at events and then do good work and you will be fine.

Edit: Also, you don't mention if you're in treatment for this, but you really should seek it. Drugs work, but CBT can also be really helpful.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:54 am

Don't want to hijack the thread but would you guys suggest similar stuff for interviews? I'm a 2L who struck out at OCI despite good grades at a T6 least partly because I was having huge anxiety issues in my interviews. I actually have an appointment with the school psychiatrist coming up about this specific thing.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:Don't want to hijack the thread but would you guys suggest similar stuff for interviews? I'm a 2L who struck out at OCI despite good grades at a T6 least partly because I was having huge anxiety issues in my interviews. I actually have an appointment with the school psychiatrist coming up about this specific thing.


OP here. OCI broke me in lots of ways, but I did get through them plus callbacks w/ multiple offers only by doing some serious cognitive behavioral therapy. If you were at one of the NY schools like I was, doing it in that hotel was also awful for anxiety: claustrophobic and hot as fuck, especially in summer w/ suits.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Don't want to hijack the thread but would you guys suggest similar stuff for interviews? I'm a 2L who struck out at OCI despite good grades at a T6 least partly because I was having huge anxiety issues in my interviews. I actually have an appointment with the school psychiatrist coming up about this specific thing.


OP here. OCI broke me in lots of ways, but I did get through them plus callbacks w/ multiple offers only by doing some serious cognitive behavioral therapy. If you were at one of the NY schools like I was, doing it in that hotel was also awful for anxiety: claustrophobic and hot as fuck, especially in summer w/ suits.


Thanks. My mistake was not realizing it was a problem and dealing with it quickly enough.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:21 am

One thing that really helped me with my anxiety was reading about how many people are affected by it. Med students, law students, lawyers, etc. Once I realized how common it was, it lessened the frequency of my symptoms and made me more confident in high pressure situations. It also helps to remember that we're all going to be dead someday and none of this shit really matters. Just do the best you can. If it works out, great. If not, who gives a fuck. It's highly likely that you're going to be fine in the long run.

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.

Postby Myself » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:53 am

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Last edited by Myself on Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:45 am

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:One thing that really helped me with my anxiety was reading about how many people are affected by it. Med students, law students, lawyers, etc. Once I realized how common it was, it lessened the frequency of my symptoms and made me more confident in high pressure situations. It also helps to remember that we're all going to be dead someday and none of this shit really matters. Just do the best you can. If it works out, great. If not, who gives a fuck. It's highly likely that you're going to be fine in the long run.

SO MANY high-achieving people have anxiety. My university's center for mental health counseling is often overrun with students from the law school. I agree that it is reassuring to know that chances are you're surrounded by people who experience similar things—in part because, just as you wouldn't be able to pick the ones with anxiety out of a lineup, they likewise probably don't know from looking at you that you are suffering from it. Knowing that makes it easier to "fake it til you make it."

keg411
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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby keg411 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:10 pm

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Start ASAP. Does wonders for anxiety attacks and no meds needed.

Also, PM me for more detailed advice.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby hookem14 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:16 pm

Realized last year that I'd been struggling with anxiety all my life (before that I just thought my "issues" were more or less what everyone else experienced). Saw a psychiatrist, got on medicine (150mg zoloft), and it has seriously changed my life.

I'd say seek help ASAP, and if possible, go directly to a psychiatrist (as they can prescribe medicine, unlike psychologists). My partner used to see a psychologist, but then he'd have to go to a psychiatrist every time he needed medicine. Made everything take a lot longer.

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Re: Anxiety and SA

Postby SHIA » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:30 pm

To the OP, thanks for having the courage to write about this. I just want to pitch in and say the following: working at a V5 firm is very stressful (not during the SA, but after once you're working full-time) so I would think about long-term solutions to your anxiety and not just a solution for this summer. The anxiety will also continue to grow during other times like bar studying, etc. The thing to remember is YOU GOT THE V5 firm and you can take a breath you're doing really really well and you should be proud and happy for yourself. Try to enjoy the summer as much as you possibly can because it will be the most enjoyable time around your future coworkers.




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