There's something else that happens when comedians tackle things like mental illness: it creates a conversation. It lifts stigma in a more powerful way than a dozen earnest documentaries can do. It achieves that which seemed impossible that day I genuinely thought I'd never do comedy again: it makes it OK that I went through it - and it's OK if you went through it, too.
When I tell people I am a stand-up comedian they often say "but aren't you all depressive alcoholics?" I always tell them that's unfair - some of us are anxious cokeheads. Nonetheless, to counter these pernicious stereotypes I thought I'd offer some proof of the healing power of comedy. Here are three areas in which my job has improved my mental well being.
I regularly get told the classic "You'd never know it to look at you" and, "You seem like you've got it all together." Believe me I very much do not, the battle in my head is so tiresome. Often I'll smile at someone whilst thinking, "gosh I want to die so much" and I'm by in no means the one swimming in the choppiest water.
Mental health disorders like anxiety and depression have become an increasingly visible issue in society, but scientists and the medical profession ar...