Invisible threads are the strongest ties.
Everyone is connected by invisible threads. These threads represent meaningful connections with people and places in our communities. During periods of change, isolation and anxiety, these threads can unravel for young people. Be the thread that connects a young person with care by making a life-changing donation this tax-time.
A thread from Ally's story
My mental health journey has been tough and rewarding at the same time. There have been times that I thought I wouldn’t be able to get through the low parts. Other times, I have been so proud of myself for achieving what I have while having anxiety and an overpowering inner critique. The hardest part of my journey is taking the power away from my inner critique and allowing myself to live in the moment and not overthink everything. I haven’t quite mastered this, but that is all part of the journey.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused me to have to return home from studying abroad earlier than expected. It has caused both good and bad things in my life to occur. My family has grown closer by spending time together and realising what is important to us. Unfortunately, it has also had a negative impact on my mental health.
The pandemic has taken its toll, being at home with no university, no work and nowhere to go has caused me to have negative feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. It has been hard to overcome these feelings, and part of me still hasn’t.
Maintaining good mental health for me is all about the connections I have with people in my life. The most important people who have helped my mental health journey are my mother and my best friend. Without them, I would be nothing. Human connection is vital for maintaining good mental health now more than ever, even if it is virtually. In a global pandemic it can be very easy to feel alone, and I know without my connections, including Youth Focus, I would be absolutely lost.
A thread from Lily's story
I’ve been dealing with anxiety since I was a kid, and depression since high school. It’s hard to go through these formative years feeling like I’m holding myself back. My chest feels heavy and my mind feels foggy so much of the time that trying to do normal things is draining.
There isn’t an easy way to explain how I feel or what’s wrong, I just can’t seem to line up my brain with the things I want to do. I feel heavy, lost and overwhelmed, and so often there just isn’t the motivation to figure things out – I don’t know how, it feels like I’m drowning.
Last year, I was struggling with university and it felt like my brain broke. My body wasn’t working, I didn’t feel like I was functioning. If it wasn’t for my support system – my family, my partner, my doctors – I don’t know what I would’ve done.
In the midst of a global pandemic, the focus is on physical health. But it is so important that we look after our mental health. It’s so easy to fall into a pit of heavy loneliness and despair, having people around you to support you and help you up is vital.
The fear and isolation that comes with a pandemic only makes things harder, which is why we need to maintain connection.
Connection with our friends and family, and connection with vital support services like Youth Focus.
The path ahead is unknown and scary. Inevitably I, and other young people, will need that connection in order to come out the other side. While we may be isolated, we don’t have to be alone.
A thread from Joel's story
Mental illness has unfortunately always been a part of my life, and it has changed its course multiple times during my 21 years. From a toddler through to my high school years, I struggled with panic attacks. From the age of 15, the most recognisable factor of my anxiety has been OCD.
If I had to describe OCD, I’d say it’s like my brain is telling me I MUST do a certain thing, or else something bad will happen. And if I try to resist that action, my anxiety levels increase to an unbearable level, and that thought keeps repeating over and over and over again.
My OCD has taken many forms, but the most impactful form I’ve experienced is deﬁnitely my fear of germs. At my worst, I wash my hands upwards of 50 times a day, and this often results in my hands and ﬁngers splitting and bleeding. It has made supposedly simple tasks such as cleaning my room into a long and very painful one, as I ﬁnd myself being forced back into the bathroom to wash my hands after simply picking up an item of clothing or wiping over my desk.
My battle against mental illness is a constant one. Every day I ﬁnd myself up against my anxiety, depression, and OCD. And now, more than ever, I need as much support as I can get.
My friends and family play a pivotal role in maintaining my mental health, and having their support over the years has been amazing. The recent events have unfortunately meant I’ve been unable to see my friends in person, an activity which was often the highlight of my week.
Now, more than ever, young people, like me, need connection.
I know that Youth Focus can provide young people of WA with that potentially life-saving connection.
Especially at times like these, it’s crucial that people are aware of the support around them. It doesn’t matter who you are, and whether or not you believe it, there are people looking out for you. The reality is, there’s always someone.
A thread from Ali's story
I have struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. I don’t remember a time where I felt “normal”.
In the simplest way I can explain, I picture my body as a car. My body is my car, it gets me from one place to another. Only I am a passenger in this car, on this road called life. I am a passenger in a car with no brakes. For as long as I can remember I have felt numb and out of control. I was sitting in the car, watching, waiting for the crash with no control over the wheel.
My turning point has occurred a few times over the last nine years, but most significantly in 2018. My physical health was declining, and cue the downfall of my mental health. A few suicide attempts landed me in hospital. I was at rock bottom and had no other choice but to claw my way back up.
I’m proud to say that my mental health is miles ahead of where it had been for the last nine years. However, mental illness isn’t a ‘fix once and you’re good for life’ kind of deal. I still struggle every single day and I know that will probably be the case for years to come.
Having a mental illness does not define me and it will not stop me from achieving my goals.
My parents play an integral role in the maintenance of my mental health. I know they are always there for me when I need them, and they are an important coping tool for me.
When I feel the darkness creeping in and I can’t seem to find the light at the end of the tunnel, I think of them. I think of them and I know I can’t leave them without a daughter. They don’t deserve that pain.
It’s so important to maintain your social connection with the important people in your life. Feeling connected, especially in an increasingly isolated world, is more powerful than ever.
Youth Focus has helped me find my passion. I want to make a difference and share my story so that people know they’re not alone.
If you are in an emotional crisis and require urgent support, please contact:
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
If you are looking for more information and online support, please refer to the following online resources: