That is, until Tuesday. On Tuesday, I learned that a case that I've had for several years - that I am just the "front man" on for a big-time interstate property attorney - is going to trial - next Thursday. AND that the lead counsel, who knows everything about it, is not going to be at the trial-so I have to do it all by myself. Now, I don't talk about it much, but I have a situational anxiety disorder. When I am faced with a situation or a person that I don't have any experience with, I literally get sick to my stomach, my brain freezes up and I go into full-on flight mode. I NEVER go into fight mode. Flight mode for me usually entails huge amounts of avoidance - avoiding the file, avoiding the names on the file, avoiding the persons involved with the file... you get the picture.
I've not had an issue like this one for a long time, so when I learned of the trial I would have to do by myself, all confidence and control went out the window. But this time, it happened gradually. I was able to make all the necessary decisions yesterday about filings, etc. that go along with trial prep, but when I got home I was in a horrid mood, exhausted from all the stress. Last night I was so completely freaked out that I couldn't sleep; and when I did I had terrible nightmares.
I've had a bad cough for several months it seems, and with it progressively getting worse and my need to avoid life, I called in sick today. Of course, with smartphones and internet, I haven't been able to avoid the thing altogether, but at least I have been able to do what I need to without everyone I work with seeing me so crazy. My staff and partners are smart, though. They know that I can't go too far off the beaten path before I start to loose it. And generally, they are really helpful at trying to get me through whatever drama there is.
The irony is that I spend a significant amount of time at home convincing my kids NOT to be scared to try new things and to accept challenges. and the worst thing is that no matter how many things like this come up, and no matter that I know it can't be avoided forever, AND that when it's over, I'm more confident and assured in my abilities, it's still a struggle. This afternoon, I got a reprieve. The outside attorney for the trial next Thursday had a last minute change of plans and will now be here to try the case. I am ashamed about how relieved I am and that once again I was unable to rise to the occassion. I am a scaredy cat, plain and simple.