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CBS News Correspondent Jeff Pegues Opens Up About Severe Anxiety, Nearly Losing His Voice

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Recently, there's been a number of high-profile athletes and celebrities who have gone public with their mental health struggles and how that's affected their careers.

In particular, one of our colleagues at CBS News has recently shared his struggle with anxiety.

CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues revealed severe anxiety is affecting his work. He explained in a live Instagram session with fellow correspondent Jerrika Duncan.

"About five years ago, I noticed that my voice was getting weaker ... It got to the point where it would take me 20 minutes or so to read a track, which is the words that we put to the video ... At the same time, I was going through a divorce," he said.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reports, Pegues said he didn't think that those stressors in his life might be contributing to his vocal issues, but they likely were.

"My voice sounds better now because I've been going through some experimental treatments. One treatment called for me to take this drug called Siren, which I would take it in the mornings," Pegues said.

That worked to ease the brain part of his anxiety, but not enough, so doctors added in, believe it or not, Botox injections into his throat, which eased a paralysis in the muscles controlling his vocal cords, allowing them to come together somewhat normally.

"It felt like my vocal cords have gotten a little bigger, frankly. Like I could feel sort of swelling in here. So I wonder if it pushed the vocal cords closer together so they can make this sound, but it's working," Pegues said.

Pegues was understandably reticent talking about his issues, but then, a number of well-known figures started to go public with their mental health struggles, which made it easier for Pegues to do so as well.

"Why not just be honest about who you are and if you're not OK, that's alright too ... If you feel like you need to see a professional to help you get through a tough period, whether it's, it has to do with your mental health or your physical," Pegues said.

He also shared with Gomez that he thinks the combination of the anti-anxiety drug with the Botox injections are what made the difference. It's also about acknowledging that we all need help sometimes.

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