27/06/2016 08:15 BST | Updated 28/06/2017 06:12 BST

How Comedy Helped Save My Life

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It took my doctor years to persuade me that I had severe clinical depression, which seems ridiculous now. I was happily (HA!) self-medicated with anything that came my way and managing, with blithe insouciance and superb indifference, to ignore the days and nights, the friendships, garments, wallets, phones and other personal items lost to drink and drugs and other apparent salves.

Eventually, I became totally addicted to a legal ketamine substitute obtained on­line which I had to take to function, although it also meant being found shrieking hysterically because Satan and the voices of hell wouldn't stop talking to me or screaming the house down because I was dead. No, really.

Life had not gone strictly to plan. By this point I should've been a huge, huge star of international opera. Yeah, baby. I was a jobbing comedian instead, living in a scruffy, little house in Moss Side. And not coping at all.

Comedy has saved my life. Actually there have been a few things that have saved my life ­ among them, my partner, my cat, my mother and on one occasion the lucky chance that a door to a very high tower was locked when it was usually open. My gigs are little restful islands which I swim to. All I have to do on stage is be absolutely present. I don't have to deal with the past or future, I just have to be 'in the moment'. As soon as I stepped off my, little oasis, though...

It was really only when I started to accept that I might be ill, that I realised it had been it had been happening for years. I had spent half my twenties as a recluse, hoarding all kinds of rubbish in my house. I remembered Uni friends complaining that I disappeared every now and then. I realised what the long periods of illness I had at school actually were.

The relief of realising I was actually ill with an illness not merely "rubbish" and "lazy" has been incredible. The fact I can get better, gigs, Leon and my mum and dad who need me; they're what keep me going.

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