|My good friend Jayne had bought us tickets to see Ruby Wax live at The Lowry, Salford Quays for my birthday. But on the day, unfortunately Jayne wasn’t well. My anxiety went into overdrive, but I manage to arrange for Simon to come along instead.
Simon and I just made it on time and took our seats, as Ruby sat on stage about to start. Ruby had split the show into two sections. In the first she delivered a scripted, but still exceptionally funny and informative talk on why we’re screwed.
Ruby explained how she became the Poster Girl for mental illness, shared some of her experiences and schooled us in the functioning of the brain. She covered the chemicals of the brain and their functions including dopamine, serotonin and cortisol. Ruby explained what happens in the brain in the case of dysfunction – such as in the cases of depression and anxiety. Then she briefly explained how mindfulness effects the brain before taking the audience through a short mindful exercise.
After the the interval we returned to our seats for a two way discussion about mental health between Ruby and the audience. I actually reached for the microphone, which I couldn’t imagine doing when I was well let alone in recovery. But I just thought: I’m only get this opportunity once. Plus there was something about Ruby that made me feel at ease. I disclosed about being ill, to Ruby and an audience of about two hundred, no less. I explained that I had been worried about the stigma and only went to get help when I completely lost the ability to function.
I told Ruby that I agreed life getting busier, with too much information to retain and that it often felt unmanageable. I stated that often I feel like I’m not achieving anything, as every time I reach a goal – my mind moves the goal posts further away.
I explained to Ruby and the audience that I am learning to control my negative thought patterns and critical inner voice. I said that I feel that I can control my thoughts, but that I struggle with controlling my feelings. I asked Ruby what she thought the difference was. She said that there was none, that they were both just chemicals in the brain.
Other people asked Ruby questions, shared their experiences or explained projects that they were involved with around mental health. Then Ruby brought the show to a conclusion.
Afterwards, I treated myself to two of Ruby’s books (see below). She thanked me for my question and she was kind enough to sign both of the books for me.
I did become a little star struck, being so close to this inspirational woman. – Sorry about that Ruby.
Overall the experience including the Sane New World show, discussion and book signing left me feeling less alone and that Ruby is without doubt a inspirational, funny and informative woman. Thank you Ruby. It was a superb experience that I would recommend anyone whose experienced poor mental health, been effected by another’s poor mental health, or is just interested in keeping mentally well.