Author, comedian, interviewer & mental health advocate - I am the one in four.
Poster girl for mental health, Ruby Wax is probably best known for her T.V. documentaries and interviews. She was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for 5 years, and has been script editor for many shows including all series of Absolutely Fabulous. Previously Ruby studied psychology at the University of Berkeley, California and obtained a Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling from Regent’s College, London. More recently Ruby obtained an MSt in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy at Oxford University.
She is author of bestselling books SANE NEW WORLD and A MINDFULNESS GUIDE FOR THE FRAZZLED. Her latest book, HOW TO BE HUMAN: A MANUAL, is published Jan 2018.
To me, the only way we're going to stay sane is to upgrade our minds as much as we've upgraded technology, which is doing just fine without us. We're now spending our lives trying to keep up with it. We built technology to have spare time. Now we ask what free time is? There is no meaning in the word 'spare'. There will never be a computer to tell you how to have a better life. It can only tell you how to have a faster one.
It was Mental Health Awareness Week again last week. It is a mystery to me as to why it's not Mental Health Week every day of the year? And what do they mean by mental health anyway? How can you be mentally healthy in a world that's nuts? If you feel like you're a normal person, the chances are that you're not mentally healthy, you're delusional.
We need language to be able to label feelings; to make sense of them. Without words, we'd be like an emotional washing machine on ultra-high with no 'off' switch. If you try to repress them, they will eventually erupt like Vesuvius when you least expect. Suddenly out of nowhere, one Christmas morning, you'll try to beat your mother-in-law over the head with a plunger and you'll never know why.
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.
The idea is that "it's OK to not be OK," These meetings are not for people suffering mental illness at the time of the meeting - it's important that you know that we don't offer therapy. You may have suffered in the past or know someone who is suffering so we'll advise you where to go to get help.
A few nights ago, in the second half when it was the audience's turn to speak, a man asked how mindfulness would work for someone with multiple personality disorder. I asked if he was kidding and he and his partner said he wasn't and that he had a disorder called D.I D.
I went to the gallery and met Tiffany; young, great looking and gushing with sweetness, saying that even though she paid £1,300 she doesn't mind, she wants me to take the computer because it would be bad karma if she didn't give back what was mine.
We get into the 'them' and 'us' mode, based on something we're not even aware of. We now have Trump at the wheel of the car who has no emotional insight whatsoever. This is like having a live grenade in the White House who may go off at any moment and take the world down with him. Happy New Year.
Carrie Fisher was greater than a trillion Star Wars, she was a comic genius. Like a composer hears notes in his/her head when composing, she would imagine words and phrases, craft them to perfection and reel out daisy chains of comic jewels. If the emails she's written me were ever published I know she'd win a Booker Prize. We'd often lie in bed together (not sexual) she'd call me 'mommy' and read out scrawls from her notebooks and I'd just lie there thinking, 'how lucky am I to have this woman as a friend?' To the end of my life I'll never get over that.
If you think being present sounds fluffy ask yourself how much money you spend trying to get there? And if you can sit back and enjoy the ride rather than get to the finish line the fastest, that is my definition of happiness; the rarest commodity of them all.
When I heard Trump won the election, I did the only sensible thing I could think of. I picked a destination as far away from anywhere as I could find, which happened to be a far away island in Indonesia called Raja Ampat West Papua.
When my crew and I finally got to Atlantic City, via some of the most bizarre sights to be seen in the US (you can see this on the first half of the show), we hunted him down at the beauty contest in Atlantic City. There we watched him charm his people telling them dirty jokes. One is about someone who went to the toilet and didn't wash his hands. I forget the punch line. I spent a lot of time with Roger Stone discussing how he gets his hair that way.
Frazzled isn't an illness, it's the syndrome of not being able to stop those churning thoughts; that we're not doing enough, not good enough, that we're riding by the seat of our pants and we're going to get caught.
I realized how chaotic my mind usually is from so much fear. Seeing all the other people here go through the same thing you are you realize we're all in the same boat; all trying to hide our vulnerability. Everyone wants to feel this kind of peace and I was lucky enough to experience a small taste of it.
I was always curious what the effects of a long silent retreat would be? Would I be enlightened? Would I have a nervous breakdown? You have both experiences but they alternate minute by minute. Just when you think you've reached Buddhahood because your mind is clear, the familiar negative thoughts smash in and shoot you down; reminding you what a jerk you are.
06/09/2016 16:29 BST
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