Matt DeMasi doesn’t let anxiety disorder stop him from doing his best and bringing out the best in others
By Matt DeMasi, M.A.November 24, 2020
“Always do your best.”
That was the advice my grandfather gave me each and every Wednesday. He and my grandmother would come and babysit my siblings and me on Wednesdays to help out my parents, as they both worked.
Throughout my life, my anxiety disorder has caused me to question many things about myself and what it is that I do best. I have fallen prey to the stigma of not seeking help when I needed it most because I was afraid of how others would see me.”—Matt DeMasi, M.A.
I always saw him give his best, and throughout his life, he tried to give back to the community. His commitment to bettering the lives of those around him has always inspired me to want to do the same.
Near the end of his life, we discussed my work in mental health. He confided in me that he had a diagnosis of PTSD. It was a moment I will never forget. He did not say much more and quickly changed the subject. Stunned, all I could think was that no one else in my family had ever mentioned this. Did anyone else know? It further propelled me into thinking about the stigmas that work against simply talking about mental health, let alone getting help for it.
Throughout my life, my anxiety disorder has caused me to question many things about myself and what it is that I do best. I have fallen prey to the stigma of not seeking help when I needed it most because I was afraid of how others would see me.
In the past few years, I have come to see that I always put my best into everything I do and that I am my own worst critic. I have also realized that what I want to do best is help others achieve their best selves.
I am currently leading care delivery and clinical efforts at a startup seeking to expand access to addiction recovery support. Having access to support that understands and can deeply empathize with what you have been through can make all the difference for someone struggling to find the right path.
People with addiction diseases deserve the opportunity to heal and recover. We as a community and nation must come to realize that suffering from addiction and mental health diseases is nothing to be ashamed of. These are treatable and manageable diseases. These are human experiences.
I hope we all take my grandfather’s advice and always do our best to treat people with the respect they deserve. Let us come from a place of understanding and empathy. Mostly, let us not turn away from those in need. We can help improve the lives of so many people with these diseases. When we help those most in need, our entire communities become better, too. My grandfather realized that and devoted his life to helping. I have committed to doing the same, and doing my best to achieve it.
Matt DeMasi, M.A., is a behavioral health professional with a masters in clinical psychology from Columbia University. He heads health care delivery and clinical efforts at Halcyon Health. His passion lies in improving systems of care for those in need of help and is always open to discussing anything related to mental health, addiction and suicide.
In accordance with Dr. DeMasi’s mission here is a guide to addiction