a blog about mental illness and community

Aspiring filmmaker Thanh Huynh has struggled with anxiety for years.

He prides himself on being an open-minded kind of guy, but there’s one sentence he simply can’t abide: “Don’t worry, everything will be all right”.

According to beyondblue, 3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety.

We all feel anxious now and then, but for a person experiencing an anxiety disorder (when stress is ongoing and excessive), these feelings wreak mental and emotional mayhem.

When it all becomes too much, people who struggle with anxiety may reach out to family and friends for support.

As Thanh Huynh explores in his short film, it can be very invalidating if someone shrugs off the issue with vague optimism or suggests an unrealistic quick-fix.

It’s important to spread the message that it’s okay to not be okay.

Most people say “Don’t worry, it’ll be fine” with the best intentions. However, a friend’s desire to comfort doesn’t make the sentence any easier to hear.

Often, the best thing you can offer as a friend or family member is acknowledgement: i.e. “yes, things are terrible right now and the situation can’t easily be fixed, but you have my full support”.

Hugs are good too.

Have you ever been told not to worry – that “everything will be okay”? How did it make you feel?

When you’re anxious or going through a rough time, what would you like your friends and family to do or say?

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Comments on: "Optimism or insensitivity?" (1)

  1. Generally, being told not to worry makes me feel better – it reminds me that worrying can’t add to any situation. Then I can focus on methods of distraction or calming. I also don’t mind being told that things will be ok… it even serves as a comfort. Maybe I am an exception but I don’t see a problem with that phrase. I don’t hear it as dismissive or invalidating. I suppose it depends on circumstances and who it’s coming from…

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