I have lived eternities in my head, and it all started when I was a little boy.

I would spend hours in my head. I would make myself sick with worry. I would plan for every possible scenario. I would try to be “perfect.”

I would do these things.

Now I know that it was anxiety causing my overthinking.

But I didn’t know it then. My anxiety narrowed my vision — it made me feel like I was the only one in the whole world going through it. Now that I am grown, I know that what’s most personal is the most universal and that I wasn’t alone.

It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s true. We are connected to our secrets.

Shame grows when we don’t share them. Vulnerability sets us free. But I was too anxious and naive to know it then. And now that I know it, I need to write my 10-year-old anxious self a letter so that we can both accept it and let it go.

Dear Buddy Boy,

Dad still calls me that from time to time. It’s not as annoying you think it is. 20 years of calling me the same name!

Remember that. Those little things. It means he loves you. It’s the little things that you will miss when they are gone.
And so I thought I’d write you a letter to tell you about some other “little things.”

First, the most important one.

Thanks, buddy boy.

I’m glad I wrote you this letter.

Jordan Brown is a social worker making mental health accessible and he coaches click here to learn more