{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’ve been working to an unhealthy degree lately. And I’ve been making the excuse that I have a lot of work right now, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m addicted to it. Part of it is anxiety and perfectionism. But my behavior is now actively harmful to myself and starting to harm my marriage. \n\nHow do I stop? I’m not talking work-life balance. I mean, how do I say, “I don’t care that the client wants this tomorrow and I’m not close to done, I’m going to sleep tonight”?", "post_id": "5f52549c5503b4002487417a", "reply_count": 4, "vote_count": 9, "bowl_id": "5dd73abc232d3e001a6b4b31", "bowl_name": "Mental Health and the Legal Profession", "feed_type": "bowl" }

I’ve been working to an unhealthy degree lately. And I’ve been making the excuse that I have a lot of work right now, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m addicted to it. Part of it is anxiety and perfectionism. But my behavior is now actively harmful to myself and starting to harm my marriage. How do I stop? I’m not talking work-life balance. I mean, how do I say, “I don’t care that the client wants this tomorrow and I’m not close to done, I’m going to sleep tonight”?

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Hi there. I have been dealing with a similar issue since I started lawyering. In a nutshell, I have found relief through therapy, on-line workaholics anonymous meetings/threads (yes, this is actually a thing!), and doing internal work and questioning what actual issues/life circumstances have led me to become perpetually overworked/constantly working (poor boundaries, fear of sitting with my feelings if I am not busy, finding comfort in chaotic situations, etc.). If you can break down the “why” behind what is causing you to overwork, you will be more aware of it, and can start to self-police your tendency to overwork. Another thing I have learned is that overachieving and overworking begets more work. Meaning, if you kill yourself all the time at work, people will notice, and may take advantage of that quality. It ultimately can be self-perpetuating in that sense. At the end of the day, you have to be proactive about setting appropriate boundaries in order to safeguard your time, resources, mental health, and relationships. It’s not easy (was not for me at least), and I had to train myself to give myself permission to unplug and take care of myself and the other intangibles that make up one’s life outside of work. All that to say, there is no easy, quick fix, but acknowledging that it’s an issue that might be more complicated than just “being busy” is a huge step..

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8th year associate here. I've been struggling with this since day 1. For me, I picked up the habit when my dad passed; work was an easy way to step out of my head and apply myself productively. Not sure I have an answer or cure but can identify with the use of the word addiction. Maybe I am hooked on the pressure or feeling good in an odd way when I'm so overwhelmed with work that the only thing to do is to pick up my shovel and start digging and lose any sense of time or what's important. It does become too much. A few years ago I caught myself in a pattern of heavy drinking all weekend and telling myself it was pressure relief. These days I ride a bike very hard when I can. Although I still do love and enjoy a good bourbon. I hope you can navigate your situation productively. I agree with others that therapy can be helpful generally.

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I am currently working on this in therapy. I am slow right now so it isn’t an immediate problem, but it is something I’m trying to get a handle on so I don’t burn out

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Struggling with this as well. :( hoping you find the answers you’re looking for and take the time you need to recharge.

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