Editor’s note: TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance use or mental health issues. Call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP), text TLAP to 555888, or find more information at tlaphelps.org.

I have always struggled with the feeling of “not enough.” Not smart enough. Not nice enough. Not worthy enough. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. What is so interesting to me is that these feelings of “not enough” did not reflect what was objectively happening in my life. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from college. I had a ton of friends. I received various accolades for being an overall good kid. Still, no matter what validation I received that proved otherwise, that repetitive voice inside my head convinced me that I was a phony unworthy of love.

Despite the picture of success I may have presented to the outside world, all I felt on the inside were feelings of inadequacy. Something strange about my feelings of “not enough” is that the more I accomplished—the more professional success I experienced, the more my personal life flourished—the more worthless I felt. Still, I set goal after goal (maybe if I finally buy a home, I’ll be happy…maybe if I get the car of my dreams, I’ll be happy) and achieved goal after goal, only to fall deeper into despair. Until finally, these feelings of hopelessness almost cost me my life.

After I made an attempt on my life, I finally got the help I needed. This surrender of putting my well-being in the hands of licensed mental health providers and a finding a program of recovery saved my life. A continued devotion to individual counseling, prescribed medication, and group support through my program of substance use recovery has offered me freedom I could never have imagined. My new wellness regimen has helped to reprogram that hateful, awful, lying voice in my head. Instead of steeping in thoughts of self-loathing, I am able to give myself grace, love, and understanding. For this, I am infinitely grateful.