Law and Resilience: Becoming a Lawyer living with Psoriatic Arthritis

Last updated: July 2023

I consider myself a competitive person. I find myself with a fierce desire for the truth and a drive to win. It's why the study of law and becoming a lawyer is so important to me. It feels very much a part of who I am and where my values lie.

Another big part of who I am is my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis. Living with a chronic illness is already tough enough as it is, more so if you are a person who thrives in a competitive environment such as the field of law.

A painful reality with an uncertain future

During my last year as a law student, and suffering from long-term chronic pain, I was diagnosed with psoriasis, PsA, and fibromyalgia. At first, just like other chronic illness sufferers, I felt relieved to have an answer for my pain but anxious, worried and scared that my life would be put on my hold.

My mental health spiraled trying to navigate how my dream of becoming a lawyer would be attainable while managing so much. The pain, inflammation, fatigue, and all the mental exhaustion that comes with it became my constant companions, threatening to derail and delay my ambitions.

However, rather than succumbing to despair, I managed to tilt my head up, move forward, and plod on despite all the adversities. One painful foot in front of the other.

Pushing through while respecting my body's boundaries

Law school definitely demands rigorous intellectual effort, countless hours of study, sleepless nights, and a high level of commitment. All of these, in addition to the physical and emotional toll of PsA, the journey became even more difficult and demanding.

All my law school friends were excelling and thriving as best as they could, while I constantly found myself stuck and hindered by flare days. Eventually, I was able to learn how to listen to my body and how to cope with my symptoms healthily.

There was a time in my life when I became exhausted from having the need to become resilient and strong all the time. Little did I know that, among other things, it is my resilience that would bring me to where I am today.

An accomplishment worth celebrating

After years of hard work and a constant process of trial and error to find ways to excel while managing pain, I passed the Bar Examinations. A few years back, I would not have believed anyone if they told me that I would eventually be here one day, a trial lawyer, advocating for the less fortunate and in pursuit of justice.

My journey to becoming a lawyer with PsA has been one of resilience, determination, and personal growth. By embracing my illness and not letting it hinder the dream that was planted in my heart, I have defied the limitations I feared it once imposed.

May this be a reminder to everyone that you have the liberty to achieve the dreams that you once longed for before you got your diagnosis. You just have to take it one bad day at a time.

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