Bring Wes Woodson to your organization!

"Anxiety knew me long before I knew it..."

Wes always strived for perfection, yearning for acceptance while keeping his true emotions hidden.

Growing up in a predominantly white suburban neighborhood, Wes internalized the notion that, as a person of color, he needed to work "twice as hard to be considered just as good as his white classmates." This pursuit of perfection left him feeling inadequate and out of place, believing that external validation was the key to acceptance.

Wes's relentless quest for perfection took a toll on his academic performance, leading to anxiety around test-taking and a diagnosis in the third grade. Despite receiving in-school support, he grappled with the belief that others saw him as "not smart enough" for needing extra help, causing him intense shame at a young age.

In an effort to escape this shame, Wes reinvented himself throughout middle and high school, attempting to deny the existence of his anxiety. He ran for class officer, tried out for basketball, and convinced his parents to buy him new clothes, hoping that external changes would bring internal relief.

Upon entering college, Wes sought validation through intimate relationships, often ignoring warning signs of unhealthy dynamics. Though he eventually ended a toxic relationship, he struggled internally without the necessary support and coping skills, feeling worthless and lost.

After being hospitalized and years of self-reflection, therapy, and support, Wes now lives a life of self-acceptance. He manages his anxiety rather than suppressing it, embracing his humor, warmth, and authentic self. Most importantly, he aims to inspire others to break the stigma surrounding mental health challenges, encouraging self-validation and acceptance.