They open their mouths to laugh and then they'll open their hearts. This isn't a small circle of people suffering from mental illness doing group therapy, this is a theatre, sometimes up to a thousand seats. So after the interval I just sit on stage and, God bless them, their hands go up apprehensively at first, then after a while with more urgency, to talk about their lives.
Imagine feeling scared. Imagine feeling alone. Imagine feeling completely worn out by a medical condition which is doing it's very best to kill you. Imagine feeling guilty for visiting the doctors, but doing your best to go to all of your appointments nevertheless. Imagine being passed from one professional to another - none of them wanting to take responsibility for your care.
They can't be imposed on a gamer. We desperately need the best and most creative of the developer community working on health gaming, as much as on the next GTA or first person shooter. And if we get it right, it will deliver ever more powerful tools to help the next generation of fourteen year olds.
Last time I wrote on this blog I was imbued with a feeling of optimism, albeit of a cautious sort. Theresa May had just delivered her first speech on domestic policy after months of Brexit dealings where she outlined her determination to right some of the 'burning injustices' that plagued society, and astonishingly, I thought, she chose mental illness to illustrate her zeal.
We are here. And one day we won't be. One day we won't have any tomorrows left and all our yesterdays will have been in vain. But we don't stop. We all realise that we are on the same side and support each other. We need to help people because we can. If you and I are here, we can. The question that remains is will we?
The lack of urgency to make a positive change to the world of mental health treatment in this country terrifies me. Children's mental health cannot continue to be undermined or neglected. The government is failing our next generation, as well as the 1 in 4 adults who suffer from a mental illness. Change NEEDS to happen, not just talked about. After all, actions speak louder than words.
As well as one-to-one counselling we want the issue of children's mental health to be discussed throughout school, including at assemblies. This will ensure youngsters know it's something they can talk about, as well as allow them to learn and develop self-confidence, a secure understanding of their own wellbeing, and techniques to look after themselves and others.
It is too easy to pathologize bad behaviour with psychobabble and in this instance it hurts real people; it is just highbrow name calling from someone out to make a fast buck at the expense of a vulnerable group of people. Donald Trump isn't what mental illness looks like but his 'diagnosis' is certainly what stigma looks like, and often that stigma is the worst part of having a mental illness and the biggest challenge to recovery from it. How can a person truly recover when no-one will employ them for example?
Most people only know two things about George III. He lost us America and he went mad, although those with a degree in Advanced King George Studies might have heard that he wasn't actually mad, but suffering from a metabolic disorder called porphyria. A new BBC documentary, showcasing the Georgian Papers Programme, an academic partnership between Royal Archives and King's College London, made possible by personal permission of the Queen herself, challenges all this.
Being unpopular made me tough as hell. I got used to incessant criticism, of myself and everything I did. It stopped bothering me to the same degree. When you are the class whipping girl, every aspect of your existence is a problem to someone. It taught me to pay attention to the misfits, the people on the fringe, the purple cows. After all, I was one of them. I still am.
As someone who holds this issue close to my heart I have seen the ins and outs of every different reaction to mental illness you can imagine, the good and the bad. "We all do that," in relation to my obsessive panics about germs or "we all get a bit down sometimes" in relation to my suicidal tendencies.