When the world lost beloved actor and comedian, Robin Williams a few years ago it took a toll on many of us, but none more than his immediate family. It seems that when celebrated performers like Williams suffers in such a public way there’s a strange instinct in many of us to want to care for them and their families as though they were our own neighbors.
Zak Williams is Robin’s son and is turning his own journey through grief into a potent conversation on mental illness that matters more now than ever before. He is also the co-founder of the new PYM, which means ‘Prepare Your Mind’ and is also his middle name. PYM is a brand of new mental health supports including the Original Mood Chew, a gummy made to manage feelings of stress, overwhelm and anxiety on the spot. The adaptogen-based chews are all-natural, non-addictive and non-psychoactive — and caught our eye as soon as they hit our in-box.
We asked Zak and research psychiatrist and mental health advocate, Dr. Raghu Appasani to tell us more about the product and the new endeavor. This story is not sponsored.
Suzanne Hall: Zak, first of all, we already truly love the PYM chews — we’ll talk about that more below. Talk to us about what inspired you to launch the product?
Zak Williams: After my dad took his life in August of 2014, my anxiety went into overdrive. I found myself depressed, anxious, traumatized, and unable to cope with daily life. As I went about trying to heal and piece my life back together, I found myself trying to treat the chronic stress and anxiety I had with alcohol and cannabis. These bandaids left me numb, disconnected, and addicted, and I was nowhere near happy and not feeling like the best version of myself, so I stopped self-medicating and got sober, but I still didn’t feel like my best self.
Through months of research, I discovered that there are a wealth of botanical adaptogens and amino acid complexes that can help recalibrate our bodies and brains so that we can heal ourselves.
I asked myself why nobody knew of these compounds and why they were so hard to find. I finally found something that actually made me feel okay and helped me not just get through the day, but actually thrive. I spent the next two years innovating on these compounds, exploring taste, bioavailability, and accessibility to create a safe, natural, delicious, and most importantly, effective anxiety and stress relief product.
“I asked myself why nobody knew of these compounds
and why they were so hard to find.”
SH: These are some of my personal favorite adaptogens as well and we’ve talked about them a lot on TCM. Did you have any experience with these herbs before formulating the product?
ZW: Yes, I found all these compounds to be helpful prior to formulating the product but have a special appreciation for GABA and L-Theanine when taken orally. I started PYM because I found those specific compounds to be extremely helpful for me personally when I was going through a very difficult time in my life after my dad died by suicide. Both compounds helped me manage extreme amounts of stress and anxiety I was feeling during a very traumatic period.
SH: Dr Appasani, would you break down the benefits of the 3 functional ingredients for us?
DA: The three ingredients that make up the Mood Chews are all-naturally occurring, safe molecules that help to support our mood and hormonal balance. They are ingredients that are naturally found in plants and in our own bodies.
Proven Results: Anxiety Relief, Mood Relief, Pain Relief
A naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain that functions as the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter.
Proven Results: Anti-Depressant, Anxiety Relief, Neuroprotection
Works with the body to relieve stress and possesses neuroprotective and anxiolytic properties.
Proven Results: Relaxation, Improved Cognition, Focus
Reduces physical and mental stress, improves cognition, boosts mood and cognitive performance.
SH: Dr Appasani, what can people expect to experience with the product and how should they use it?
DA: First and foremost, if you have any concern given other medication you are on or medical conditions, please consult with your physician. The recommended way to take the PYM Mood Chew is by taking 1-2 chews at the start of your day, and then as-needed throughout. Do not exceed 20 chews in one day. PYM was designed to seamlessly integrate into your daily life and routine, so the chews can be taken on an empty stomach or enjoyed alongside food and drinks. Our only recommendation is to not take PYM with coffee, as caffeine combined with PYM can sometimes make certain individuals feel more anxious.
If PYM is doing its job, you should feel centered, okay, capable, good, neutral, able to do what you need to do. It’s subtle and that’s the point! No tingles, jitters or buzz. I began to feel the effects of PYM within 15-20 minutes of taking my first chew.
SH: Zak, how do you hope that people will use the product?
ZW: My hope is that people will use PYM as a way to help ease the everyday stressors and anxieties that we face in our daily lives. Formulating this product transformed my everyday life and with the launch, I’m excited for the opportunity to introduce consumers to these powerful and natural ingredients that can help us handle everything life throws at us.
SH: Zak, what are some of your other favorite resources for mental health: any recommendations for books or practices?
ZW: Yes, for books: The Mood Cure, The Body Keeps the Score, Thinking Fast and Slow, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking
As far as activities go, I recommend Gratitude Exercises, Community Support Groups, Mindfulness, Avoiding Processed Foods, Talk Therapy, and Walking