When Zak Williams was grappling with depression back in 2014, he knew this was the real deal. His father, the late, great actor and comedian, Robin Williams, had tragically died by suicide in August of that year, so Zak knew he had to solve this problem and it set him off on a mission, first down the wrong path. "In 2014 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 again, I found myself trying to treat the chronic stress and anxiety I had with alcohol and cannabis products." Listening to Zak's story, it strikes you that this level of honesty is both disarming and refreshing, coming from a known name.

Zak Williams launches PYM for depression

Neither of these helped, he explained but instead left him feeling numb, disconnected, and addicted, he told The Beet in a Zoom call this month. He was nowhere near "happy" and not feeling like the best version of himself. Eventually, with help and intervention, he stopped self-medicating and got sober. Then he knew he still needed something else to bring his brain and mental function back to "center." He found the answer and now is eager to share it.

GABA is the active ingredient and it works with the brain's natural feel-good chemistry

Through a lot of research, Williams discovered adaptogens and amino acid complexes that help recalibrate the body and brain to allow it to heal. He landed on a mix of GABA, a naturally occurring brain chemical that when in short supply in the brain is linked to anxiety, depression, and lack of focus. It interacts and gets boosted by L-Theanine and other molecules found in medicine, as well as natural herbs. Williams went on a search for experts and found partners who could help him develop a product that was two years in the making, and it's called PYM for Prepare Your Mind. PYM works on GABA and boosts this naturally occurring brain chemical, and it also contains L-Theanine, and the herb Rhodiola, all wrapped into pleasant-tasting citrus chew that you take daily.

Note that GABA is not a scary compound and actually can be found naturally in tea, especially green, black, and oolong tea, as well as in fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, and tempeh. Other foods that contain GABA are whole grains, fava beans, soy, lentils, and nuts, including walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Citrus, tomatoes, berries, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, and cocoa all contain GABA, according  to Psychology Today

Williams created PYM, which is also his middle name, with the help of a psychiatrist

Williams partnered with a business lead and a mental health advocate, Dr. Raghu Appasani, who is Director of Resident Engagement and a research psychiatrist, at the Center for Mindfulness Science at USC, to create his new company and the product, which just launched this month, for National Mental Health Awareness Month. "PYM just happens to be my middle name, which my Dad gave me because he thought it sounded vaguely Irish," Zak told The Beet. He can't talk about his dad without a sparkle in his eye and it tells you that Robin's son is still very much connected to his dad.

Taking PYM when you get up, and giving your mind a chance too have a calm, productive day, free of anxiety and depression is like going for a run in the morning or taking care of other parts of your health and wellbeing, Zak explained: "It's just like brushing your teeth and showering, you need to take care of your brain every day," Williams told The Beet in a Zoom call. "Take 2 in the morning and you will feel calmer, more focused, and less anxious."

I tried PYM and here's what it was like

As he was talking and perhaps in part because he looks so much like his dad you can't help but like and trust Zak, I popped two chewy PYMs into my mouth and chewed. And I never take anything, not even a painkiller after having both my kids by C-section. (No aspirin, no painkillers, no vitamins... nothing, since I hate anything that can and will interact with every cell of my body, so this was a big concession.) Of course, I do like wine (that's definitely my drug of choice) so I thought, "Here goes nothing."

Within about 10 minutes I felt the same way my body does after I have just had a 90-minute massage after skiing –which is to say a little relaxed and a little calm and definitely like I'm not stressing about anything. It was more of a relaxed "floating" sensation than one that comes with CBD (though honestly I don't take that either so I'm guessing here).

Note that you are not supposed to drink coffee with GABA or take PYM when breastfeeding or pregnant. The pleasantness and relaxation effects I experienced from the gummies were the real deal and I can say that PYM works, better than I expected.

You can buy Original Mood Chews on PYM's website here