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Eh Nonymous

Two good books:

Stress Management for Lawyers, by Amiram Elwork, Ph.D. (with two coauthors, a J.D. and a J.D./Ph.D.)

Feeling Good, by David Burns, M.D.

The second one is if possible even more on point. Dr. Burns is the best out there for cognitive therapy, which is a sort of silver bullet, drug-free, for depression. I was skeptical. He's not just persuasive; the stuff is clinically proven. Heck, most of the stuff lawyers use against their depression (drugs, alcohol, gambling, exploiting other people) aren't clinically proven. The only things that work are: doing something about it; getting help; breaking out of the depression (e.g. diet/ exercise/behavior). Since a depressive can't do it alone, or they wouldn't be stuck in their incorrect thinking, there's things like this book.

I cannot recommend Feeling Good enough. It works in conjunction with therapy, or with prescriptions, or all by itself (so-called book therapy). If you or someone you know is depressed, whether or not they're a lawyer, do them a favor and make sure they have this book. It's bright cheery yellow and the '99 update is available in paperback, of course.


The California Bar Journal is running an article "Depression and its Heavy Toll on Lawyers" so no, we're not imagining that often our fellow lawyers really are more hostile than, say rocket scientists (who are at least as smart lawyers, but in different ways and vastly different work environments.)

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Depression is highly associated with overwhelming pain including the pains of loneliness, a miserable marriage, childhood trauma, poverty, unemployment, physical incapacitation and a variety of significant hurts and losses. Instead of viewing depression as either a character defect or a biochemical defect, depression is better seen as a strategy for shutting down overwhelming pain. Similar to the shutdown strategy of substance abuse, depression can also get out of hand and become a compulsion.

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