Fall down 7 times, get up 8

Name: Stephanie Chaissan
Pronouns: She/Her
Instagram: StephanieChaissan

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.

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