Tiffany's Story

I’ve been an attorney for many years, and I live alone. While some people might not enjoy the solitude, I find it suits me well. For me, daily office interaction and activities within the community generally supply me with a healthy sense of belonging and purpose. Then come the evenings and weekends. That’s when I relish the stillness within the walls of home. My energy levels are restored. Home is like a little cocoon. It’s safe. It’s quiet. It's a place of preparation for another day or week of work and interaction with others. And it’s life-giving, at least for a while.

But, I’ve found that even the benefits of solitude have limits. I’ve observed this from struggling with frequent, debilitating headaches over many years. The symptoms routinely force me into bed for most of a day, leaving me without the energy to engage in legal work, clean, cook, talk on the phone, or do much of anything, even something as easy as watching television. These headaches may last two or three days and bring nearly all my productivity to a grinding halt. Following a headache, the effort to reengage in normal routines may feel daunting, tempting me to remain distant from others or depressed from lost time.

Because I have times in my life when my health has kept me distant from others, I’ve learned that too much solitude can become a lonely pit of isolation. The global pandemic has only added to these feelings. For more than a year, my daily office interactions and activities in the community were interrupted and less frequent. Whether due to circumstances within my control or out of my control, the awareness of how much I’ve withdrawn from others, physically or emotionally, doesn’t become obvious to me until I reflect and realize my life has lost its connectedness to the relationships that matter most. 

Practicing being present is an antidote to isolation in my life. The process of reversing the slow-growing pattern of isolation may feel initially jarring. Yet, small steps are victories. After a year of working remotely from my dining room table due to the global pandemic, I discovered that packing my lunch and enjoying it at the office with a colleague and friend felt remarkably lifegiving. On a recent weekend, despite facing a long list of chores and other responsibilities, I baked cookies and delivered them to a widowed friend, enjoying a brief opportunity for laughter and conversation. Seeing the gratitude in her eyes lightened my load. I realized again that I was made to be present with people. I need them and they need me. 

Are you feeling isolated and alone? Reach out to a mentor with Issues Lawyers Face who can walk beside you as a friend.


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