This article explores academics’ well-being through analysing published sensitive disclosures, bringing to journal space the pain, rawness and emotional suffering of individuals’ experiences. We confront the taboos of speaking openly about mental health and emotional well-being in academic institutions, with masculine structures and encroaching neoliberal discourses that create hostile atmospheres unsupportive of vulnerability and uncertainty. We also challenge existing discourses about academics’ well-being, implicitly burdening individuals as responsible for their pain and creating walls of shame, rather than building new healthy structures. By spotlighting the voices of academics’ emotional disclosures, intensified by embodied social inequalities, we plead for openness in formal academic outlets for sharing pre-existing emotional struggles and new wounds created by cruelly competitive, winner-takes-all structures, fortified by neoliberal ideals. Led by individuals’ voices and experiences, we make recommendations for supporting academics as an attempt to extract academia from its current perverse state and commit to repair and transformation.