I’m in the kitchen, it’s 1:12pm, and I haven’t taken my morning meds yet. They’re the meds I need to reduce my anxiety and help me concentrate (for anxiety and ADD). Why do I do that?

My wife Laura and I had been married a couple of years at that time, and things were going alright.

No kids yet.  

We’d just got back from a trip I won as a sales rep for a healthcare company. We’d stayed in Maui at the Grand Wailea, an amazing resort, on my company’s dime.

It was a great trip, but I got agitated a lot, or at least that’s what my wife kept saying. I didn’t really notice it much, but I did notice I was amped up a lot.

She mentioned on the plane ride home that she was not looking forward to getting back home and my stress level and grouchiness increasing.

When we got back, I called my doctor, set an appointment and went to it. I brought Laura with me, as she was seeing a lot of what I didn’t. It didn’t take long for my anxiety disorder to get diagnosed.

I took it as a blessing and a curse. Good to know what it was and that meds could make it better, but bad as any label for me, especially the male me, made me feel deficient.

Going through cancer twice would change my attitude on this pretty quick.

But this was 20 years ago, when I was still drinking the “what it means to be a man” juice. I learned through cancer treatment that engaging, addressing and staying on top of my health was the real manly thing to do.

There’s a lot of myths out there about being a man.

One big one: don’t show if you’re hurt. Weak guys go to the doctor. But that’s a bunch of….. you know.

Real bravery, real manliness was going through the insanely scary process that the diagnosis of cancer brought into my and my family’s life.

I had every test and scan you can think of. I had 35 radiation treatments and 6 months of chemo. I had 2 big surgeries, 3 weeks in the hospital and an ileostomy bag for 9 months. And through all that, a lot of medications to help the pain and the sickness. 

So why do I still struggle and resist taking the meds? Meds that don’t just help me a little bit, but help me a lot? Because a little part of me still believes I’m weak for needing anything. That real men just suck it up.  

I finally did take my meds yesterday afternoon.

I need to stay on my daily meds. They help me not as a crutch, but as a tool that provides me health. This article helped me:  http://www.postpartummen.com/pdfs/KEY-DTR.pdf

As a guy, have you struggled with, or just didn’t take, the meds you should? What’s going on inside for you that’s causing this?

By Matt Burton