“Shame on you, Duncan!”: Students and staff rally against casualisation at Melbourne University

University of Melbourne staff and students rallied outside Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell’s Parkville mansion yesterday in opposition to the University’s growing casualisation of teaching staff.

Students and staff say no to the Robert Menzies Institute

Students gathered on South Lawn yesterday to protest the opening gala of the Liberal-backed think-tank Robert Menzies Institute (RMI).

An open letter to all student politicians

As sleek Facebook frames are slowly being removed from the profile pictures of university students in their early twenties, and social media feeds are returning to normal from constant ‘vote for me’ c

"Please don’t ask if we’ve tried yoga”: Students fighting for disability support

Despite the University’s push to make learning accessible, through programs such as SEDS and Access Melbourne, there have yet to be endorsements from students that these programs are appropriate. Inst

Cinemas Buckle Under the Weight of the Netflix Empire

Will Hollywood blockbuster-type films continue to use Netflix as their outlet, or will they return to their rightful spot on the big screen?



On Ordinary Joys and Mental Health

This column has thus far spun around the soft idea of joy. Joy in a coffee cup, joy in a surfboard, joy in the little things. Joy in stability, good food and the people we love.

content warning: mental illness, references to anxiety

This column has thus far spun around the soft idea of joy. Joy in a coffee cup, joy in a surfboard, joy in the little things. Joy in stability, good food and the people we love.

And sometimes life goes like this: the sky glitters blue, sunlight suffuses you with a deep and lazy warmth, serotonin floods the body. Joy is a deep-running emotion, like a bubbling river that fills your veins and transforms your heart into a vessel taking flight.

But sometimes joy is inaccessible.

Mental illnesses can evaporate joy. My own experience with anxiety has taught me this through many stretches of time.

When anxiety descends, I imagine a black padded suit cloaking me. I feel the presence of an immediate threat, but there is nothing. A simple walk down the street feels stifling, every incoming thought makes me nauseous. The idea of the yards and yards of life still left induces an elemental panic. I curse evolution and genetics for giving me a brain that makes getting through the day almost unbearable.

I try to remind myself that I am not alone. I think of my great-grandmother who couldn’t get out of bed for months at a time, and was sent for electro-therapy. An affliction so heavy no one in my family has ever found the words to explain.

I think about some of the greatest artists who were painting, drawing and writing from a hinterland of darkness: Van Gogh’s sunflowers, Sylvia Plath’s poems, Jackson Pollock’s bolts of colour.

Just as his incandescent sunflowers show no hint of Van Gogh’s heavy struggle, mental illness can look different for everyone. It can look like someone in foetal position in the bathtub, unable to get out as the water cools. It can also look like the most confident woman you know, clad in a blazer and heels, grinning on her way to work. It can look like your best friend, your teacher, the person working at the Coles checkout, or a presenter on the 6 o’clock news.

4.8 million Australians are experiencing a mental health condition. Almost half the population will experience one at some point in their life-time. Every day, at least 6 Australians will take their own life. But millions of people don’t get help.

I want to haul mental illness out into the sun. People have struggled with debilitating mental health conditions for centuries in the closing darkness of their bedrooms. But we have turned a page. You should never have to suffer alone.

If you are experiencing struggles with your mental health, reach out for help. Life is certainly not always joyful, but everyone deserves to feel lightness and ordinary joys each day.

Farrago's magazine cover - Edition Three 2021


Our final editions for the year are jam packed full of news, culture, photography, poetry, art, fiction and more...

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