James Van Der Beek talks 'long-buried traumas' on Dawson's Creek anniversary

James Van Der Beek marked the 25th anniversary of Dawson's Creek with a heartfelt post on Instagram, in which he spoke of his "long-buried traumas".

The 45-year-old shared a lengthy message with his fans, detailing his emotional well-being before and after he found "overnight" fame as Dawson Leery in the WB series, which also starred Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, and Joshua Jackson, who, like James, all have families of their own now.

WATCH: Katie Holmes reveals who was a better kisser on Dawson's Creek

He wrote: "25 years ago today… my life changed. Not gradually, not day-by-day… instantly.

"It was the culmination of 5 years of auditioning, hundreds of hours on stage, thousands of hours traveling, preparing, dreaming, hoping, hearing 'no', and making up reasons to keep going. But the shift was overnight. There was life before becoming famous… and life after. Both have their benefits, both have their obstacles.

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"I recall the biggest surprise being how little it thrilled me to be able to brag. For years, when extended family would ask, 'You get anything, yet?' I LONGED to be able to say, 'Yes!' and follow it up with something impressive."

James continued: "Then… when I'd finally gotten the thing that was plastered on so many billboards and bus stops that no one even HAD to ask… I recall wondering what hell I'd been pining for.

james van der beek as dawson leery on dawsons creek
james van der beek as dawson leery on dawsons creek

James played Dawson Leery

"It didn't feel like a finish line. It wasn't a salve for insecurities - it was a pressure cooker. Long-buried traumas didn't disappear - they now lived closer to the surface.

"There were also some cool 'pinch myself' moments along the way… but the truth is I didn't know what to do with fame for the longest… because it took me a while to realize it wasn't actually about me."

dawsons creek cast james van der beek michelle williams katie holmes
dawsons creek cast james van der beek michelle williams katie holmes

James starred alongside Michelle Williams, Katie Holmes, and Joshua Jackson

He explained: "It's not a collection of energy… it's a connection - one that requires circuitry to maintain. It's not an end game, it's a tool - one that becomes burdensome if you can't figure out its utility. And while I used to feel like it created a weird separation from people… now I feel like it connects me in a way I really appreciate."

Summarizing his thoughts, James concluded: "Which is all, really… a long-ass way of saying thank you. Thank you to everyone I've encountered as a result of this strange, wild, rocket ship ride, and to my fellow passengers who were strapped in alongside me… it's good to know you. Makes me happy to see you all doing so well. Happy anniversary, guys."

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