Tim* put his head in his hands and started to cry. “I’m so messed up; this thing controls me.” Clinical prowess means clinical timing, and mine was off that day. I looked Tim in the eye: “I think your anxiety is your superpower.”
Messed up? It was hard to agree with him. Tim’s life was what men hope for. He was 39 years old, in great shape, powerful and wealthy, and his wife and kids adored him. Yet inside he was a maelstrom of fear and worry. He’d wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat and review his sent emails for errors. Important meetings meant crampy bowels. He started drinking at night and couldn’t fall asleep without at least “a couple.” He’d get a weird tingling feeling in his fingers. Three times in the past year, a searing pain in his chest forced a trip to the ER and eventually a referral to me, a psychiatrist.
Anxiety makes us human. Our psyche is tuned to scan the environment for threats and to anticipate danger. And this is what frustrates so many of my patients: Their worries and fears often drive their success, but they can also overwhelm it. That’s where I come in. Harness your anxiety and it can clue you into what’s actually happening in your world, and you can use that information to raise your daily game.
Male anxiety is serious business. Untreated, it can be disabling, increasing the odds of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and depression, and doubling the