I’m a 9th year in Big Law and have been struggling to get much work done the last 1.5 months. Mentioned this to my doctor at my recent visit, and she offered to increase my Vyvanse dosage, but I told her I wanted to see if it got better soon. I’m wondering now if it’s burnout. Anyone else experience burnout and see a decrease in the effectiveness of your meds, and if so, how did you overcome it?

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My favorite description of the ADHD brain is comparing it to a phone battery that we just never think to check the charge on. Without a full recharge, it’s operating at red (rapid draining of energy) or in battery saver mode (still running but not as efficiently).

I haven’t experienced energy drain for that amount of time, but I have had weeks where I drained my energy the weeks before and needed extra recharge time to get back up to my normal performance levels. I use things I like but know I won’t hyper focus on to recharge (gardening, cooking, going for walks, listening to an audiobook, etc.) since hyper focus drains me even if it’s fun. If I don’t recharge, the performance decrease lingers.

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I experienced burnout and it wrecked my ability to do nearly anything. That is going to happen to anyone - even those without ADHD.

If you think you are in burnout then I recommend talking to a therapist. I did not. I ended up parting ways with my firm (mutual decision) and starting my own firm. I limped my way through burnout recovery on my own, but I think counseling would have helped tremendously.

It’s been nearly two years now and I am just now feeling like I am getting my old stamina back. I’ve had to take it easy up to now, go slow, and take lots of breaks (sometimes for a few days at a time even).

Get help because breaking your brain has a slow recovery process.

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A1: I did not seek a therapist. I am considering finding one now because I realize they really are a benefit (for anyone, really).

I don’t know how to find one, but I have had friends with long-term mental health issues that required counseling for maintenance purposes and they have advised that you may not find the right one for you right away and that that’s ok. Keep trying different people until you find someone you feel comfortable working with.

How did I recover? I have an incredibly supportive husband who let me sit on the couch playing video games all day not making any money on some days if that’s what I needed. I didn’t push myself the first year. As long as my expenses were covered that was good enough for both of us.

I took long walks at parks, started working on things around my house that I had neglected for 7+ years while working ridiculous hours, and I took naps. Lots and lots of naps. I also reconnected with friends and family.

I did do work and good work, but I didn’t beat myself up if I had a day where there wasn’t a lot of substantive work to do and I took a break.

Now, I work WITH my brain. Some days are ultra productive. Some are not productive. On ultra productive days I go all in and get as much done as I can. If I wake up and start and stop several things over and over after my meds have kicked in then I accept that and go grocery shopping or do other personal things that need done that are faster in the middle of the day when everyone else is working. Accomplishing that will typically give me that happy feeling from accomplishing something and then I will be able to sit down and do work after that.

Some days I feel super productive in the mornings. Some days it’s the evenings. I don’t fight it. I work when my brain feels ready to work. Since I am a solo attorney with no employees I have the flexibility to do this.

I have an office at home and I have a tiny, tiny office at a co-working space. So, sometimes I work from home. Sometimes I work at my tiny office. Sometimes I work on my porch.

That helps me always be working at the place where I want to be.

I started my own firm partly so there would be no CV gap. But, I also started my own firm because I knew how to do the work and had been handling a lot of marketing, firm management, etc. already and I knew I could handle all of that. I wanted to run things my way instead of trying to fit my operating process into someone else’s system (that I didn’t like and that no longer worked for me).

Again, I want to emphasize I am not a therapist. I don’t know what the best way to get over burnout is. This is what I did and may not work or be best for you.

I wish you the best of luck getting through this. It is tough, but you can work through it and be better than you were before at the end.

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Are you me? I’m going through the same thing but also coupled with some increasing depression. I am considering a leave of absence bc limping along billing 5-6 hrs a day isn’t cutting it. I have my first vacation in 3 years coming up in a week and I’m hoping that helps. I need to find a therapist too but you know, that also takes time and effort…

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Oh, I also ended up with the depression (and anxiety over resulting low billings) too, so it becomes the devil's trifecta. It's a spiralling black hole you must avoid at all costs! It's too late for me - but SAVE YOURSELF FRIEND!!! 💟💟💟

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Thanks for sharing your stories. It’s at least nice to know that I’m not the only one experiencing this!

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