THE LAWYERS WEEKLY
August 6, 2010 | 25
It didn’t happen all at once. It sort of
snuck up on me because of my belief and
those of the legal profession that I could not
have a problem because I solved them.
Depression and recovery have become a
way of life for me. So it might help you to
hear what and how this illness started.
I was a contented lawyer happily practicing matrimonial litigation. Don’t get me
wrong, I didn’t like the senseless conflict
and the damage inflicted on families, but I
felt comfortable and competent in my practice. I was happily married for 18 years with
two wonderful children, I was the chair of
the board of a children’s mental health facility, I led the fundraising drive at my church
and I sat on the Board of the Boys and Girls
Club. Life was good but then over a span of
two years, things started happening.
My sleep was the first thing to go. I began
to have early-morning wakening, getting up
anywhere from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. after a
nightly nightmare of burning to death. I
would get out of my death bed, shower, get
dressed and go to the office. I averaged
about 4 hours of sleep a night. And I started
to get tired physically. Niggling things went
on. I had strange back pains and phantom
heart attacks. Tests showed nothing. I got a
migraine every afternoon at 3 p.m. I took
Tylenol every day increasing my dosage
almost weekly until I had a huge daily
intake. I tried to cut back but I got rebound
headaches. Tylenol and I became very good
friends that took me a time to stop.
Emotionally, I became a wreck. I would
cry easily. I isolated myself by closing my
office door when before it had been an
open-door policy. My temper flared and my
composure was spotty. There was no fun in
life. Everything was tinged with black.
Spiritually, I was dead. I didn’t believe in
God anymore. I let my relationships with
other people lapse. My relationship with my
wife was strained. I had nothing for my kids.
What happens to a practice when this
goes on? I tried my best to carry on. I
devoted long hours doing what I used to do
in shorter time. My files became messy and
disorganized. My handwriting became lazy
and scrawly. This was big for me because I
prided myself on my penmanship. Another
sign of decay. Phone calls went unanswered.
Billings were not made. Money became
tight. Staff were concerned and shunned.
Court results were poor.
Eventually, I was afraid to close my eyes
and go into the nightmare of burning to
death again. I did not sleep for four days.
When I went to my doctor, I collapsed in
tears. I stopped practising and my business
fell apart. I went bankrupt.
But the good thing that came from all of
this is that I went to treatment in a series of
hospitals for the next three years. I learned
a great deal about depression, its causes
and its treatments. I learned to refocus my
life in three areas — physically, emotionally
Physically, I learned that my mother was
right. Eat three meals a day; get eight hours
of sleep a night; and get exercise three times
a week. Cut out or cut down on alcohol,
nicotine and coffee. My doctor advised me
to get a dog — it would make me walk and at
least someone would be happy to see me
when I got home.
ISTOCKPHOTO. COM/ PINOPIC
Depression can strike anyone, including lawyers, and the recovery process can be complex.
Sandev was called to the bar in 2001 and has gained
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
We are pleased to announce the following
associates have joined our team
dedicated to achieving the best results for his clients
SANDEV S. PUREWAL
significant experience over the years in serious personal
injury, disability insurance and product liability litigation
while also having addressed a wide range of civil and
commercial litigation matters. He is a Director of the Brain
Injury Association of Peel and Halton (BIAPH) as well as
being actively involved in other community activities.
E M A I L l firstname.lastname@example.org
PHONE l 416.408.4252, EX T.228
passionate advocate for her clients and their families
Jan received her J.D. from the University of Western
Ontario and was recently called to the Bar in June 2010.
Before joining Gluckstein & Associates LLP, Jan completed
her articles at a prominent personal injury firm.
E M A I L l email@example.com
PHONE l 416.408.4252, EX T.246
John Starzynski is the volunteer execu-
tive director of the Ontario Lawyers Assist-
ance Program and a director of the Can-
adian Bar Association’s Legal Profession
& ASSOCIATES LLP
l PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS l 595 BAY STREET, STE. 301, TORONTO, ONTARIO, M5G 2C2 l