You’re leaving the office at 8:30 p.m.—for the seventh day in a row. It’s the fifth day in a row you’ve had dinner while staring at your computer screen, alone. You can’t remember what you had for dinner, you didn’t really taste or savor anything, and you threw it away half-eaten anyway. As your ride approaches, you huff inside, slam the door, ignore the driver’s “hi” and try to shut your eyes. Your phone buzzes, sending a quick jolt to your heart and anxiety to your mind. Of course you check it right away—more work.

You start to list everything you have to do tonight, tomorrow, Saturday, the next week and forever. You haven’t seen your friends in weeks (maybe months), you’re avoiding your parents’ calls, and you might be hoping your kids are already in bed so you don’t have to expend more energy. Getting out of bed to go to work has become exceedingly difficult, if not emotionally painful. When you finally head to bed late at night, you lie awake, thinking maybe if you had an accident, you’d have to be hospitalized and you could take a break from your cases. Not a serious accident, maybe a broken arm or leg. You’ve become cynical, even by lawyers’ standards. People generally bug you and rub you the wrong way. Weekends aren’t long enough to recover fully (even when you don’t work), and vacations (when you take them) only provide temporary relief.

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