Student doctor Zachery Dereniowski, 27, reveals what he wishes people knew about anxiety


An Australian student doctor has revealed what he wishes people knew about anxiety, and the things you shouldn’t say to someone struggling.

Zachery Dereniowski, 27, is a Canadian motivational speaker and medical student at the University of Sydney, and he specialises in mental health and making educational TikTok videos around the subject.

In one of his most recent clips, Zachery revealed what he wishes ‘people without anxiety knew’ – including the fact that anxiety is not something you can switch on or off and how it can impact everything from your sleep to your appetite and mood.

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An Australian student doctor has revealed what he wishes people knew about anxiety, and the things you shouldn’t say to someone struggling (Zachery Dereniowski pictured)

The first thing Zachery said he wishes people knew is that ‘anxiety is not something we can choose to turn on and off’.

‘Although mental health is universal, it’s different for everyone. Please be patient,’ Zachery wrote.

He said that people without anxiety should also try to remember that when people with anxiety have to cancel plans with you, it’s not just you that they are frustrating – but themselves too.

‘People don’t want to be cancelling plans, but sometimes they have to,’ Zachery said.

Zach added that anxiety can impact people’s sleep, appetite, motivation and mood – so you shouldn’t just assume that they are fine if one or more of these areas are struggling.

‘Anxiety is not “just worrying”,’ the 27-year-old student doctor added.

‘And being told to relax doesn’t generally help anyone.’

Zachery (pictured) revealed what he wishes 'people without anxiety knew' - including the fact that anxiety is not something you can switch on or off and how it can impact everything from your sleep to your appetite and mood

Zachery (pictured) revealed what he wishes ‘people without anxiety knew’ – including the fact that anxiety is not something you can switch on or off and how it can impact everything from your sleep to your appetite and mood

More than 50,000 people who saw the student doctor’s message said it resonated with them, and they were happy that he shared it:

‘I love this and wish everyone understood anxiety,’ one person posted. ‘I wish they could understand panic attacks aren’t always visible.’

Another added: ‘My friends and family struggle with understanding my anxiety and your videos help me so much’.

A third wrote: ‘Your content helps me so much. I struggle with anxiety and depression and don’t feel as though I can speak to anyone about it’.

Zachery (pictured) said that people without anxiety should also try to remember that when people with anxiety have to cancel plans with you, it's not just you that they are frustrating - but themselves too

Zachery (pictured) said that people without anxiety should also try to remember that when people with anxiety have to cancel plans with you, it’s not just you that they are frustrating – but themselves too

Previously, Zachery (pictured) revealed why sayings like 'everything happens for a reason' and 'keep calm and carry on' are harmful for people struggling with their mental health

Previously, Zachery (pictured) revealed why sayings like ‘everything happens for a reason’ and ‘keep calm and carry on’ are harmful for people struggling with their mental health

What are the five signs someone is struggling? 

1. If someone says they are ‘tired’ the whole time.

2. If they are going through a difficult life event like divorce or unemployment.

3. If they say they are always ‘busy’ or express being ‘overwhelmed’ by things.

4. If they always brush things off or seem emotionally distant.

5. If they are disengaged in conversation, especially on something they are usually passionate about.

Source: TikTok

Previously, Zachery revealed why sayings like ‘everything happens for a reason’ and ‘keep calm and carry on’ are harmful for people struggling with their mental health.

‘People do not feel better when you say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “everything happens for a reason”,’ Zachery said.

Other quips that fall into this bracket include ‘keep calm and carry on’, ‘get over it’ and ‘time heals all wounds’, the doctor said.

Zachery revealed the signs that might help you to know whether something is wrong with someone:

‘There are five signs you should check in on someone’s mental health,’ he said.

The doctor highlighted that if they say they are always ‘busy’ or express being ‘overwhelmed’ by things, then you should definitely check in with them.

Zachery added that if you work with or know someone who says they are ‘tired’ the whole time, then that is often a sign that their mental health is struggling.

‘If they are going through a difficult life event like divorce or unemployment, this can often be a time when people need extra help,’ Zachery said.

Similarly, if they always ‘brush things off’ that you say or seem emotionally distant, then there might be more wrong than meets the eye.

Finally, the doctor said if a friend or family member is disengaged in conversation, especially on something that they are usually passionate about, then this might mean they are struggling.



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