New Year’s Eve, ten years ago, everyone kept telling me how great I looked. But I felt like I’d been run over by a semi.
I’d recently become a yoga teacher at a hot power vinyasa studio and naturally assumed that was the reason I’d been dropping so much weight. So I went out and partied that night anyways and very shortly afterwards was in my very first jury trial as a defense attorney.
By the time trial began I was feeling really bad. But as I’d been trained, I said nothing, and soldiered forward anyways. After we picked the jury, I was limping severely. No reason whatsoever, but my ankle had swollen up like a softball.
No bother. I kept on. At lunch I went to look at my leg and was horrified to discover that all the blood vessels in both legs had broken, and I was completely covered in tiny blood marks from both ankles to both knees. Still I said nothing. I tried that case to the absolute best of my ability, believing that the client and judicial system came first.
At the conclusion of the trial I drove myself immediately to the ER. They had zero clue what was wrong with me and sent me home with pain killers. That launched a several week long tour of specialists and the accompanying battery of tests, which revealed that my liver enzymes were through the roof.
Now bedridden and hardly able to feed myself, I truly believed I was dying. Ultimately it was a nasty virus and I recovered just fine. But the lessons I’ve learned have stood the test of time.
Putting others before yourself is no way to live. The judge I’d tried that case in front of was horrified once I got back to work and he discovered what had happened. He said that of course I should have said something immediately and we would have recessed so I could be taken care of.
But jeopardy had already attached? It hadn’t even occurred to me to be a possibility. Since then, however, I’ve gotten the message. You can’t give from an empty cup. And there’s nobody more deserving of your love than you.
You matter. Your health matters. Your well-being matters.
Shana Stein Faulhaber is a criminal defense attorney with offices in Athens and Corsicana and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org