{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I have minor generalized anxiety. Lately, I’ve had worse anxiety than normal, and as a result, I’m taking my second mental health day in a row. I didn’t tell my firm that it was a mental health day, I just told them I was sick with non-COVID symptoms. None of the partners I work for objected or said anything negative, but I’m now getting worried that they’re somehow going to find out it was just a mental health day instead of physical illness, and that it will somehow bite me in the ass . . .", "post_id": "6012da2379a8320029825614", "reply_count": 9, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5dba147dd2d8ac00223b11d9", "bowl_name": "Litigation & Arbitration" }

I have minor generalized anxiety. Lately, I’ve had worse anxiety than normal, and as a result, I’m taking my second mental health day in a row. I didn’t tell my firm that it was a mental health day, I just told them I was sick with non-COVID symptoms. None of the partners I work for objected or said anything negative, but I’m now getting worried that they’re somehow going to find out it was just a mental health day instead of physical illness, and that it will somehow bite me in the ass . . .

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Easy, I just add to my anxiety by being too afraid to take a day off because of the ridiculously short timelines I work under and the inability for any partner to talk to each other to realize I can’t do everything all at once then I start my billing clock to a project and end up putting my forehead in my palms and my elbows on my desk as I stare at the floor wondering why I became a lawyer

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It doesn’t functionally matter to the firm if you were physically sick or taking a mental health day. I’ve done this before and just told partners I was feeling “unwell” and no questions were asked. I reached a breaking point at one point where I told my partner mentor my mental health was really struggling and was encouraged to take days off if needed - they said “feeling unwell mentally is the same as having a stomach bug.” I bill them as sick days too. No one will find out and even if they did, there’s nothing they can do or say about it without looking like an asshole/ridiculous/insensitive.

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How would they find out? If you don’t communicate it to anyone I’m sure you’ll be fine. Regardless, there’s nothing wrong with taking a mental health day. Mental health is health. It’s not that different than a physical sick day. It is true that some people might not see it that way, but you shouldn’t feel any shame or worry about it.

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To be clear, I love my firm and the work I do, and the partners are all great, just typically demanding and no-nonsense. I’m just worried about not being forthcoming about the mental health aspect coming back negatively on me if they were to somehow find out. What have people in similar situations done? Was it the same as I did? What did you do differently? Thanks in advance.

You don’t have to tell them, and you are doing exactly what you need to do to address your issues. Another associate and I at my last firm had mental health issues we had to address, some related to work, some not, and we each just blocked time on our calendars that said “appointment” for therapy, etc. and no one asked us anything. Anxiety and depression are super common, especially in this line of work, and you should not feel guilty for addressing it. But it’s still stigmatized and you don’t know how your partners will react, plus, it’s none of their business so you don’t need to tell them.

I don’t see any issue. Don’t let your anxiety get in your head over this. You’re allowed to take mental health days. Go enjoy it. Meditate. Yoga. Eat a nice meal. Relax. Watch tv. You’ll be fine.

It’s not “just” a mental health day. There’s a difference between being irresponsible and taking care of yourself. Be well!

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