Multicultural experiences

Designed for members who were born overseas, have parents who were, speak a primary language that isn’t English or have mixed cultural heritage.

FAQ

Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Pinned discussions

Chris_B Welcome to the Multicultural Experiences section
  • replies: 0

Hi everyone, Welcome to the Multicultural Experiences section, a sub-forum within the wider beyondblue forum community. beyondblue acknowledges and respects the diversity of communities across Australia, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islande... View more

Hi everyone, Welcome to the Multicultural Experiences section, a sub-forum within the wider beyondblue forum community. beyondblue acknowledges and respects the diversity of communities across Australia, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Australians. beyondblue also recognises the complexities of identity and that people may identify with more than one community. Depression, anxiety and suicide can affect any of us at any time – regardless of our culture or background. We also know that a range of factors can make it harder for people in some communities to seek and access support. This section is for members born overseas, are the children of parents born overseas, have a language other than English as your primary language, or come from a family with mixed cultural heritage. Please be aware that posts in this forum may contain discussions of suicide, self-harm and/or traumatic life events. As per our community rules, please be mindful when posting about the level of detail you share on these topics as it can be upsetting for other members. We look forward to hearing your stories. Become a Multicultural Correspondent Are you from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background? Are you interested in being a regular contributor to this section? We are seeking members who will actively participate in discussions and start up new threads on topics of interest to CALD communities (6-10 quality posts per week). Please get in touch with our team to discuss.

All discussions

Illbeok No friends
  • replies: 14

Whenever I read articles or books about mental health, "talking to your family and friends is one of the keys for better mental health" and moreover it's often suggested people who have no friends are more likely to be unhappy and become depressed, a... View more

Whenever I read articles or books about mental health, "talking to your family and friends is one of the keys for better mental health" and moreover it's often suggested people who have no friends are more likely to be unhappy and become depressed, and have poor health. I feel like I'm in this category of people who are helpless and destined to have depression and other illnesses. I don't know what to do and I feel so isolated. I immigrated to Australia when I was 30 and now I'm 50 with no friends, no close family. I have social anxiety and I've been having episodes of depression (trying hard to tame it every day), have mostly recovered from anorexia, but I'm having PTSD now from an assault / loss of my sister. I have anxiety attacks and other typical PTSD episodes with additional anxiety about having a serious depression and anorexia. Please help.

cs65 Marriage breakdown. Australian/Vietnamese
  • replies: 8

Hello, I have no idea if this is in the right place, so apologies if it isn't. Background: I am 53 yr old male living in rural Qld. I suffer diagnosed PTSD, anxiety and chronic depression as a result of childhood sexual abuse from my step-father. Up ... View more

Hello, I have no idea if this is in the right place, so apologies if it isn't. Background: I am 53 yr old male living in rural Qld. I suffer diagnosed PTSD, anxiety and chronic depression as a result of childhood sexual abuse from my step-father. Up until the age of 40 I was on a wild roller-coaster ride of drug/alcohol abuse, failed relationships, trouble with police, admitted to psyche wards etc. It was hell. Finally I got the help I needed and with the use of CBT strategies and SSRI's, (which I haven't taken for years), have been able to keep my life reasonably balanced. Eight and a half years ago I met the girl of my dreams, a lovely Vietnamese lady and we have had what I consider to be a great marriage. We have no children together, but my 18 yr old daughter has been in the family home throughout and considers my wife as a step-mother. She departed interstate recently to commence University. Funnily enough she is studying Psychology. My elderly mother also stays with us in a self-contained granny flat. Her and my wife are/were best of friends. Our marriage has not been without its ups and downs, as per usual, but in general we have had a happy time together and I love her dearly. I have had minor episodes of depression/anxiety but I have the strategies in place to recognise and deal with it. However, on the 22nd December I crashed and burned. I was in the middle of an incredibly busy and stressful time with my business and also as President of a local sporting group. I knew I wasn't feeling 'right' but the pressure I was under blinded me as to how close to the edge I was. I had a major meltdown and spent 2 weeks over xmas basically in a catatonic state with absolutely terrible anxiety attacks. I slowly dragged myself back out of the hole, but I sensed a change in my wife. She was cold, uncaring and distant. Ten days ago she simply disappeared with as many possessions as she could. No explanation, no goodbyes, (even to my mother), blocked all phone number and social media links. As far as I knew she was dead. She contacted me last night and basically said that she can't cope with my issues, that she doesn't believe that depression/anxiety is real and that all I need to do is take control of my mind. No matter how I tried to explain that depressions robs my ability of control, she wouldn't have it. I am a broken man. Is this a cultural issue with her? Has anyone else experienced this in an inter-racial marriage? I need to understand why?

blueskye What makes you proud of your ethnicity?
  • replies: 14

Hi everyone! This is my first time starting a thread and I'm excited to hear what others have to say about - What makes you proud of your ethnicity? Please take a couple of minutes to reflect about this topic and then share with others. Australia is ... View more

Hi everyone! This is my first time starting a thread and I'm excited to hear what others have to say about - What makes you proud of your ethnicity? Please take a couple of minutes to reflect about this topic and then share with others. Australia is a gorgeous place to live in and I'm proud to be an Australia. What makes me proud of my Chinese ethnicity though is that Chinese food is amazing! Dumplings, Dim Sum, etc.... some of the food looks wacky but gosh, very yummy! I am also super proud of my parents who immigrated to Australia. Dad is fluent with English because he studied in Canada but my Mum came to Australia without knowing how to speak or read English. Dad worked in a white people dominated place, so he worked extra hard to prove his worth. Mum raised her 3 young daughters in a country that was foreign to her. Sometimes when I get mad at my mum when we have a disagreement, I try and remind myself of the difficulties she faced in the past. If someone chucked me in a foreign country where I had to live, buy groceries, catch public transport (mum didn't know how to drive for the first couple of years), didn't know the language.... that's scary! My parents make me proud to be Chinese. Your turn!

Luce_M New to Australia, different expectations
  • replies: 5

Hello, this is my first time using this kind of forums, never used them before. I am currently feeling quite out of place, lonely and lost in Australia. I moved here to be close to my husband, we met in Canada and at that time I had already a establi... View more

Hello, this is my first time using this kind of forums, never used them before. I am currently feeling quite out of place, lonely and lost in Australia. I moved here to be close to my husband, we met in Canada and at that time I had already a established life in there, friends and work. I moved here with the expectations that living in here was going to be similar to my experience in Canada. It has almost been a year and I haven't been able to make close friendships. My husband works in the medical field, I am most of the time lonely at home. I initially started working in customer service at a luxury store and unfortunately developed a lot of anxiety and depression. I faced quite a lot of discrimination at work and was generally excluded from the team, I was the only foreigner. I am currently at a different job which is from home, it does not enable me to build relationships with other people in person but it has been better than my previous job. Since it is customer service sometimes I get discouraged by uncomfortable comments about my accent, however, I am trying my best to not take it personally. My husband has been really supportive since I arrived in here and even got me a dog to not feel as lonely. I have been trying my best to join volunteering groups and extracurricular activities, however, I kind of have developed anxiety to be in social groups, I have started to feel scared to interact with others due to my past experiences. I have had some sessions of counselling which were helpful. I have not really have much contact with my family and friends due to the time difference, I miss them so much at times that at nights I just want to cry. Right now, I just feel that my motivation to stay in here is my husband and my dog. Everyday I am feeling lost and recently I have thought about leaving Australia for several months to be with my family. I will sincerely appreciate any recommendations. Thank you so much for reading.

Rolls157 Anxiety by new friendship
  • replies: 6

Hi I am new to this so apologies if this is all over the place.I moved to Aus in 2007 with my wife and two kids 6&10 at the time. My wifes side of the family is settled here moving from india, i thought it would be better for her (being close to her ... View more

Hi I am new to this so apologies if this is all over the place.I moved to Aus in 2007 with my wife and two kids 6&10 at the time. My wifes side of the family is settled here moving from india, i thought it would be better for her (being close to her family) and my kids growing up in a rural setting. I left my career, family and friends since childhood to do this. A long drawn out visa process caused a lot of stress but has now thankfully been resolved in aug 2022. This process made me anxious for the first time in my life. In about dec22 a female started to talk to me at work which was not usual for the area. Through regular interactions i really began liking her and it started reminding me of what i was missing with my friends from uk. Although i liked the chats i noticed it made me more anxious when they didnt happen (when she was busy at work etc). Ive told her that all i want is friendship and that i am happy with my marriage. Ultimately I dont know if this relationship is good for me or is making me more anxious. In my heart I dont think she really wants to be friends but just likes to chat occasionally. I haven't made any other friends since moving here although there is new family connections. I dont like sitting in pubs etc and dont follow aus football which excludes a lot of people. I feel lonely and really miss speaking to friends in social setting. I try to talk via phone but its often difficult due to time differences. Ive told my wife how i feel and she has been awesome, she phones me throughout the day which helps to an extent. Should i stop talking to the new 'friend' if it makes me anxious?

C-S Struggling with speaking English in confidence
  • replies: 2

I came here around Year 8. I suffered from moderate social anxiety in primary school in my home country. Things got better when I entered year 7 while I was still in my home country. I made friends I was happy I got pushed to speak in front of the cl... View more

I came here around Year 8. I suffered from moderate social anxiety in primary school in my home country. Things got better when I entered year 7 while I was still in my home country. I made friends I was happy I got pushed to speak in front of the class sometimes, even though I still felt scared but a little bit better than in primary school.Then boom, I was out in a foreign country in Year 8 where one of my parents was with me. At first, I was still able to keep myself motivated from the experiences I gained from Year 7. Then I simply just couldn't handle any stress that anyone would judge or criticise my speaking (they acted impatient), and it happened before. It brought my mood down for days and lost my confidence, giving me huge anxiety. I have this severe social anxiety when I need to open up a conversation in English until now (I just graduated from Uni). I kept trying to avoid stepping out of my comfort zone by only making friends with my people. I jigged high school days a lot, to make myself feel comfortable.And sometimes, I'm not able to catch what other people are saying, even if I ask them to repeat, I still don't get it, and some people would lose their patience. This has happened so many times while I was a barista. I could only handle the language within that cafe setting, I cant do much casual talk as my mind goes blank and felt anxious. I am ok with writing my thoughts down as it gives me time to think and phrase it. But my mind just goes blank when I need to open my mouth. I think of going to some English speaking club, but then I am afraid of speaking with a group of strangers and scared that I can't engage and people think I am boring.And the two years of remote study make everything worst. Yes, I stayed perfectly in my comfort zone, I had pseudo security for the last few years. limited interaction with school or new people. Now that I need to find a job (also have no clear or even vague direction), I have to face all the issues in one go.I don't know how I can tell myself to do all these tasks. and idk what should I do first.

Marina67 The feeling of regret I left my mum alone
  • replies: 5

Hello all, I just wanted to share my story and get some feedback. I migrated with my 10 years old son to Australia 23 years ago. I was busy with everything and didn't not pay enough attention that my mum was getting older. I realised that I had to do... View more

Hello all, I just wanted to share my story and get some feedback. I migrated with my 10 years old son to Australia 23 years ago. I was busy with everything and didn't not pay enough attention that my mum was getting older. I realised that I had to do something about it too late because visa process takes so long in Australia. I was visiting my mum every year. I hired a carer for her when she became older. I spent a year with her because I felt guilty for living her alone in Russia. And she died at the age of 85 2 months ago. Horrible feeling of guilt and regret is overwhelming. I should bring my mum here to Australia instead of having good time and not thinking about her old age. Time gone so fast and I didn't not notice it. And now I don't have my mum anymore. I blame myself for living her alone and not thinking about her. I can't change anything. I don't even understand how life gone away so quickly. And I cannot change anything. It's so devastating.

Samadhi-Enjoyer Moving countries because of cultural differences; is it worth it?
  • replies: 4

So I've grown up in Tasmania as a mixed race European (Eastern-European/South-East Asian) and disregarding colour differences, I feel a sense of disconnection from my current culture. I tried my best to be 'True-Blue' in order to find belonging but t... View more

So I've grown up in Tasmania as a mixed race European (Eastern-European/South-East Asian) and disregarding colour differences, I feel a sense of disconnection from my current culture. I tried my best to be 'True-Blue' in order to find belonging but the more I dive deep into my personality and what I liked/disliked, I came to the conclusion that I don't belong amongst Australians. Of course, I'm under no incentive to perfectly fit a mold, yet I find myself thinking I can fit a little better in a different culture. I find myself quite rigid and rule-focused and have always disliked disorder and imprecision in daily life (ambiguous waiting lines drive me crazy), which is highly contrary to the laidback 'she'll be right mate' culture I'm surrounded by. I feel that if I even slightly give off the impression that I'm "better" (just different, not better) than them (i.e. pursuing higher education, going to museums, etc.) I'm 'un-Australian'. You can disagree with me about your impressions of the culture but these have been mine. I fully understand becoming an expat comes with many challenges and I'm confident enough to say I will gladly endure them. This isn't the only reason why I want to move, but I'll say it's a big one. But is doing so in order to find the right cultural "fit" a silly endeavor?

tmas Exploring mixed heritage
  • replies: 8

Not sure what I'll get from this, but maybe anyone who could relate? I want to know the experiences of people who are mixed but were raised with only the white side of their family. I am at a point where I am curious about my heritage and background,... View more

Not sure what I'll get from this, but maybe anyone who could relate? I want to know the experiences of people who are mixed but were raised with only the white side of their family. I am at a point where I am curious about my heritage and background, but feel 1) like an imposter, and 2) like it would hurt the family that raised me. I know my family, being white Australians, don't see "why it matters" that I know, but to not know what my background was until I was 17 while the world around me hid nothing of their guesses and assumptions, weighed on me for several years. My sibling (raised with them, it was assumed I knew we were half but my childish naiveté didn't pick up on it until high school despite being visibly different ethnicities) told me how a peer at university approached them to join the students-of-colour board, and this was the first time it struck them the rest of the world didn't perceive them as white. I wish I knew the language, but I could never learn the correct dialect. I feel I have no claim to the history, I have no right to call myself the grandchild of immigrants when I didn't know this fact until I was 18. How could I make contact with extended family when I have no cultural connection to them? I don't have access to medical history. I was (sometimes still instinctually am) insecure about my appearance, and have to check myself - when I instinctually resent my nose shape or my flat eyelashes, or dark hair, I have to remind myself that I am comparing myself to an anglo standard that I always felt I was failing before I realised I was mixed. When strangers asked me if I was [insert background/nationality], or saw my birth name and called me exotic, or told me that "blood is blood" and I should be "proud of my sexy Latina background", accused me of fake tanning every summer because I turned yellow instead of pink, said I wasn't "fiery/curvy" enough to be Latina, assumed my sibling was a baby-sitter, said I was "choosing to be white" so had no right to talk about race, how am I supposed to feel? Embracing the culture feels wrong, I can't fight the feeling that I would be spiting my family given the complicated family situation. I also don't want to know the parent themselves, maybe my extended family - also complicated and not for right now. Would learning Spanish be over stepping?

Aj04 Dating as an Indian man
  • replies: 1

For some context, I am a 19-year-old man of Indian Origin, and I moved to Australia when I was three, so I'm pretty much an aussie. My experience with women has been non-existent. I'm still a virgin, I haven't even kissed anybody. I have many female ... View more

For some context, I am a 19-year-old man of Indian Origin, and I moved to Australia when I was three, so I'm pretty much an aussie. My experience with women has been non-existent. I'm still a virgin, I haven't even kissed anybody. I have many female friends, but I only see them as friends, so it proves that I can talk to women. I don't trust these thoughts in my head, but I feel like in the back of my mind, very few women want to date an indian guy. I am well aware of the negative stereotypes associated with indian men. The fact that we're labelled as creeps. Even my own sister said that she would never date an indian guy, and that makes me feel even worse. I am a pretty short guy too (around 5 foot 4) so it could be this, but there are girls a lot shorter than me who still wouldnt see me as dating potential. I just feel like women look at me and immediately think "creep". I am also quite dark for an indian guy, and colourism is quite prevalent in indian culture, so I feel like a lot of indian chicks wouldnt date me either. I just feel lonely and lost and I feel ashamed that I still haven't dated at all.