DEPRESSION -- IT'S NOT JUST A BAD HAIR DAY; Ruby Wax Knows about the Anguish of Mental Illness. Sophie Goodchild Hears How Her Own Experiences Have Inspired a New Play

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 9, 2011 | Go to article overview

DEPRESSION -- IT'S NOT JUST A BAD HAIR DAY; Ruby Wax Knows about the Anguish of Mental Illness. Sophie Goodchild Hears How Her Own Experiences Have Inspired a New Play


Byline: Sophie Goodchild

YOU'RE the wildebeest on the outside that's going to get eaten first," says Ruby Wax. "The moment you're maimed mentally means you're lunch. It's totally primitive." Wax is sitting in a smart west London restaurant discussing mental illness -- and how the rules of the jungle still apply if you "crack up".

The 57-year-old comedian has always been relatively open about her depression and treatment at the Priory clinic. But, she says, there is still huge stigma for sufferers like her -- the one in four who experience "the dark side".

"It used to be whether you were gay, then it was cancer," says Wax. "Once you couldn't be a witch and now it's if you have a flaw [of mental illness]. You're not as resilient as the rest of the human race, definitely."

Like all true performers, Wax, famed for her acerbic interviews with O J Simpson and Imelda Marcos, has taken life experience and turned it into theatre. Her play Losing It, also starring singersongwriter Judith Owen, is vintage Wax, where nothing is taboo: psychiatric treatment, self-image, relationships and the shallowness of celebrity.

Her own spiral into depression began shortly after the birth of her youngest child Marina, now 16. At the time the comedian was desperate to disguise her "flaw" from everyone, including her closest friends.

"It felt totally shameful -- that comes free with the package. Because you can't see any lumps or tumours or skin conditions, people think you're making it up. I whispered to a few producers and they'd understand. But I didn't have a nine-to-five job so I could manage it. If you have to be at work, you'd have real trouble."

The man who "saved" the comic was Dr Mark Collins, a lead psychiatrist at the Priory whose former patients are understood to have included Kate Moss and Princess Margaret.

Mood-stabilising drugs were a key part of the treatment, although it took time to find a combination that worked. "He knew how to make 'cocktails'. He's a psycho-pharmacist, he was a cardiologist, a nerve scientist ... you can't get better than that. He saved me."

For the record, Wax has depression, not bipolar disorder, as has been asserted wrongly in past interviews. She is at the "vanilla" -- mild -- end of the mental health spectrum. "I'm extremely lucky," she says.

Yet every five years she is vulnerable. The first sign of her depression is a dry mouth which, says Wax, is "always a surprise -- like menstrual cramps. It feels like you took a drug. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

DEPRESSION -- IT'S NOT JUST A BAD HAIR DAY; Ruby Wax Knows about the Anguish of Mental Illness. Sophie Goodchild Hears How Her Own Experiences Have Inspired a New Play
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.