I think I was maybe 6 or 7 the first time my mom made me talk to a therapist. And when that one didn’t cure me, she tried another and another and another until one night, when I was 14, she let a doctor put me on a locked psych unit as a threat to make me do a 2 week intensive outpatient therapy program. Because of that short, 4 HOUR, stay in a hospital, I was on probation with my state’s Bar for the first 5 years of my career as a lawyer.
I have suffered from anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. I have cut my own skin with knives, staples, and my fingernails because the pain would be so intense that it felt like it needed a physical exit path.
My profession doesn’t talk about these types of things. It far more acceptable to self-medicate with alcohol (or worse) than it is to see a psychiatrist or therapist. Lawyers don’t take mental health days or leaves of absence, unless we want to risk a set back in our career advancement. We’re taught from day 1 to keep going, push on, don’t stop. And don’t talk about it. Put on a happy face.
Well, no more. I got my semicolon tattoo today as a physical reminder of all that I have overcome and all that I will overcome in the future. And if anyone wants to ask me what it means or why I have a punctuation mark on my wrist, I’ll tell them! I’m tired of hiding the dark and twisty parts of me. THIS IS ME and my story isn’t finished.