Unfiltered Thoughts: Wellbeing

Wellbeing. HUGE topic. A recurring headline both in our social feed and major publications. Pretty much covering everything and anything when thinking about our mental, physical, sexual, emotional or social selves. Helping us describe how we feel about ourselves – and check in with ourselves – as we think, converse and debate about self-care, anxiety or mental health, burnout, sex, eating disorders…just to name a few.

Like we said, big topic.

So, we would be surprised if you didn’t have a thought bubble about wellbeing! Drop us a line – we want to know what’s taking up space in your head. Something that you feel important to share could resonate with someone or offer a little insight into a thought or feeling for others?

e.g health / sex / relationships / drugs / finance / fitness

 

Content Warning

This following unfiltered thoughts may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.

 

Victim-blaming

One morning the sense of dread that’s been lingering for a good chunk of this year becomes intimidating enough to realize something’s wrong. First pinning it on the mundane annoyances of being alive – unaware of the upcoming descent in the coming months. Functioning doesn’t stop but everything seems to have lost the emotions they held for so long. Hobbies don’t work as an escape anymore and the once enjoyable activities aren’t enough to get this feeling off. They notice the wrongness embedded in every move, but it’s not like a fever that can be quantitatively measured. so it goes unnoticed till things get out of hand and the only option remains. But what’s the use of the sacrifice if everyone is still busy victim-blaming? They say, “There must be a monster inside of them to make their parents go through this. They were irresponsible.” This has always been evident, and perhaps, maybe these are the words that give the end blow.

Rick (he/him) 16 India

 

Love? Sounds exhausted.

“If you don’t want a relationship, you are a heartless being.”

Well, I guess I’m heartless then.

People put so much focus on “being taken” and “having love”. I just want to hug my cats and read a book without the interruption of a supposed lover.

To have to take care of somebody, to have to bare my entire soul… sounds too revealing. Too demanding even.

Not to say that relationships are bad, I am so happy everytime I see a happy couple together. I just realize that over time, being in a relationship would be too tied down for me. I am an artist, a lover of the world. To choose one person, one love, is to give up on all the rest to me. I’m not prepared to make that sacrifice.

Rachel (she/her) 18 USA

 

Navigating Turbulent Waters

As I grappled with my own mental health challenges, the prevailing culture of silence compounded the difficulties of seeking help. The fear of being labeled as “weak” or “unfit for competition” stifled the open dialogue that should have been encouraged. The institutional oversight, whether intentional or not, contributed to the perpetuation of a culture that prized medals over the wellbeing of the athletes who aspired to attain them.

Amidst the shadows of institutional neglect, a turning tide began to emerge. The collective voices of athletes, coaches, and advocates echoed the need for a paradigm shift within the structures of competitive swimming. The acknowledgment of mental health as an integral component of athletic performance gained momentum, challenging the ingrained norms that perpetuated the culture of silence.

The turning tide was evident in the emergence of athlete-led initiatives advocating for mental health awareness and support. Athletes, once confined to the role of recipients of institutional decisions, began to assert their agency, demanding a more empathetic and comprehensive approach to their well-being. The narrative of neglect began to be rewritten as a generation of swimmers found the courage to speak up and challenge the status quo.

Fulin (he/him) 17 ACT

 

Eating disorder

Some folks may not fully grasp that eating disorders are serious mental health issues. Some might mistakenly see it as a matter of willpower or attention-seeking. This misunderstanding can lead to judgment and mistreatment, adding an extra layer of struggle for those already dealing with the complexities of an eating disorder. Raising awareness and promoting understanding are crucial in changing such perspectives, helping people empathize with those facing these challenges. It’s about recognizing that eating disorders are real, complex battles that require support and understanding rather than judgment.

Anonymous, 23 NSW

 

Third Places

We live in a time where loneliness is reported to be one of the leading causes of depression worldwide and young people are often stating feelings of disconnection, isolation, and confusion in their personal and professional lives. Created by socialist Ray Oldenberg, ”third place” refers to the setting that exists outside of our homes and offices – it is that third place where we meet to socialize and congregate. Common examples of third places include churches, parks, gyms, etc. In the past, due to a clear lack of technology and an advent need for connection, third places such as places of worship connected people. Community centres acted as meeting grounds for different groups in a neighbourhood. Local markets served as a connection point for people to converse over a coffee or while running an errand. Now, with the digitalisation of activities and commodities, this ‘third place’ ceases to exist.

One might argue that this third place has shifted online. With many virtual platforms being created for gamers, artists, and creators alike. However, proven research has shown the effects of physical connection substantially improving the lives of people over digital interaction.

In such a state, is revisiting the concept of third place the way to go?

Hashwina (she/her), 26 VIC

 

Reaching Out

There was a period in my life, which I have luckily been able to overcome, where I developed many self destructive tendencies as a result of the environment I found myself in. Part of these tendencies impaired my ability to communicate the ways in which I was struggling to people who would have potentially helped me at the time. Though I managed to overcome my struggles independently, in hindsight I realise that I was unable to get help as I didn’t ask for it and as I knowingly placed all the pressure of my situation upon myself. Though the situation I was in was far from ideal, it taught me valuable lessons in being able to open up to those who are close to me so as to prevent self-isolation, to encourage development of my communication skills and my ability to simply say that I am not okay sometimes.

Helena (she/her), 19 ACT 

 

Loneliness

As a student living in Australia, I often find myself feeling completely and utterly alone. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling, one that leaves me feeling empty and disconnected from the world around me. I’ve tried everything to shake this loneliness. I’ve joined clubs, attended social events, and put myself out there, but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to connect with anyone. It’s like I’m always on the outside looking in, never quite fitting in. The worst part is, I feel like I’m the only one struggling. Everywhere I look, it seems like everyone else is making friends and having a great time. They’re laughing and smiling, while I’m left feeling isolated and alone.

Sometimes, the loneliness gets so overwhelming that I just want to crawl into a hole and hide. I start to wonder what’s wrong with me, why I can’t seem to make friends like everyone else. It’s a painful, self-defeating cycle that leaves me feeling lost and hopeless. But even in the darkest moments, I try to remind myself that it’s okay to be alone. It’s not always easy to make friends, and sometimes we have to go through periods of loneliness in order to find the right people to connect with. And even if we never find those close friends, it’s important to remember that we are enough just as we are.

It’s okay to be alone, to take time for ourselves and focus on our own interests and goals. We don’t always need to be surrounded by people to feel fulfilled and happy. In fact, taking time to be alone can be a great opportunity to get to know ourselves better and learn to be comfortable in our own company. So if you’re feeling alone as a student in Australia, or anywhere else, know that you’re not alone in your feelings. It’s not a reflection of who you are as a person, and it’s not permanent. Keep trying to connect with others, but also make sure to take care of yourself and find ways to enjoy your own company. And above all, remember that it’s okay to be alone.

Samuel (he/him), 21 QLD

First 

My first wasn’t magical. Nor was it that bashful awkwardness of inexperience I’d watched in the theatres. It was an empty, passionless fuck.

We saw each other’s pictures. He sent one from within his pants and asked for one back. And I didn’t want to offend this man I’d never met, so I sent him one too. He took me to some shrubbery outside his house, where he reached in my pants and kissed me. I kissed him back. Tongues slapping together formulaically. He went down on me. Once he’d slobbered enough, he moved me inside him. I fucked him.

I hid my boredom behind a convincing moan. I walked home, as the rain began to patter, and I got into the shower and scrubbed his sticky saliva from me.

As my hair dried, his profile disappeared. I never saw him again. I laid on my bed, my sopping ends soaking through my silk pillow, and I opened my phone again, to decide on my second magicless fuck.

Alexandre (they/them), 18 NSW

 

And when I felt like I was an old cardigan

We all like to feel shiny and special, receiving affirmation is an innate human desire. In fact, it has the same physiological effect as exercise and laughter: receiving positive reinforcement releases endorphins in our bodies, promoting a sense of happiness and wellbeing. So, is this why we leave a partner, a job, a friend, or even a place when we are no longer receiving spoken or even unspoken affirmation? We lose that spark, sense of joy, that validating gratification. We shouldn’t settle for anything less than what we deserve, but of course, this comes down to knowing your self-worth. If you are wise enough to know, and strong enough to leave, we must seek that someone or something that puts us on and says, I was your favourite.

Tara (she/her), 20 QLD