Anxiety, Mental Health and Me

anxiety mental health photo of dad holding newborn baby and words daddy-ing with anxiety momcavetv

Every night before I go to sleep, I brush my teeth, comb my beard and take a little white pill that I self-deprecatingly call my “crazy pill”. Well, I used to call it my “crazy pill.” Recently I heard Kristen Bell describe her mental health medication as “broccoli for my brain.” She uses that to explain to her children why she takes her daily medicine and I simply love it.

Social Anxiety

When I called it my “crazy pill” it was another form of my mental illness. It has a way of creeping its way out and weighing me down. I’m not crazy. I suffer from extreme social anxiety and it’s caused me a lot of problems over the years. I missed out on a lot of moments of fun with my family and friends. It was easier to hide behind a wall of negativity than go out and play the part of someone everybody likes, which was exhausting.

But several years ago, I started making poor decisions that were no longer just affecting my happiness. They were starting to affect those around me. My anxiety, my illness, was no longer just mine. (Let’s be honest, it was never just mine. But now I could see the years of strain that I was putting on people coming to a head.) So I went to my doctor and was finally honest with him. I started seeing a therapist (again) and for once I didn’t lie. I just owned it all my insecurities, all the truths I had been denying myself, all of it.

Therapy and Little White Pills

It took months but a funny thing happened. Through therapy and a little white pill to help curb my anxiety and depression, I started to enjoy parts of my life that I used to dread.

I say all this because now I’ve got two boys of my own (7 and 4) with a third on the way. I have already started talking to them about feelings of anxiety, all the while not trying to project my feelings and anxiety onto them. It’s important for them to know it’s okay to not feel okay and that I understand and can relate. They should know Daddy cries sometimes when life gets hard. I want them to have the tools to work through big feelings. I want them to know they are not alone. We all deal with our private battles. We find tools that work for us; whether it be yoga, the gym, reading, quiet walks, or a little white pill that is like broccoli for your mind.

photo of dad with anxiety holding baby and words daddy-ing with anxiety momcavetv
Joe Williamson

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