Ruby Wax talks of More Openness to Mental Health Issues and the need for Support, such as Psychotherapy and Counselling
On July 23rd, Channel 4 released the programme ‘Ruby Wax’s Mad Confessions’.
In it , Ruby Wax asked whether three successful professionals would be prepared to confess their mental health difficulties to their work colleagues. Three came forward and the programme documented their fears as they worked towards their revelations as well as Ruby herself talking of her own struggles with depression.
As the push to make mental health issues less taboo gains momentum, this programme highlighted many of the common feelings that lie behind why people choose to hide their difficulties and the thoughts that keep them isolated, but also what got them through.
“From the outside it looked as though I was the loveliest person alive but it was probably the lowest I’d ever felt. I thought that this must be how everyone else feels and just gets on with it, but I couldn’t deal with it.
You think the best thing to do is just to get away from everybody and not put them through what you’re going through.”
“The biggest thing I’m worried about is people treating me differently and not being given the opportunity to do the work I can do”.
Kevin Jones’ MP reply to this was:
“You are doing the same job as you did before. Most people will not change their opinion of you”.
“There isn’t time for softer emotions, only fear. I worked very hard by myself to control my moods, then something triggered the breakdown”, which led to thoughts of suicide.
“There is no thought. Why would you go to the mirror? Why would you brush your teeth? Why would you ever take a shower? So you just sit there, and you’re alone. You can’t imagine, you cannot imagine what goes on in here”.
“Mental pain is 1000 times more anguishing than physical pain… It would be really nice to have someone talking in your ear, ‘don’t kill yourself today. Don’t kill yourself today ‘cos it will pass’ “.
Kevin Jones MP:
“Like a lot of men, what you try to do is deal with it yourself”.
According to Mind, one in ten people in the UK will suffer from depression in their lifetime and 75% of people with mental health illnesses in the UK receive no treatment at all. The highest suicide rate is to be found in men under the age of 30years.
These three professionals and Ruby Wax all said that they got through their depression with the support of other people and being aware of their negative thought processes.
“Talking to someone and knowing that other people feel the same way is the key to getting over it”.
“Finding out that there is something wrong is a relief as there is something that can be done to fix it”.
“Unless we share, how the hell is someone else going to know we have a problem”.
“…opening up and showing I have a weak side – but I don’t think it’s a weakness, to me it’s a strength”.
“The only way I can deal with clinical depression is that I hear the pitter patter (of negative thoughts) and I can do something early. Being aware of my thoughts and feelings I get early warnings that I am heading towards stress and depression and then I take action”.
“People think that you are weak because you have a mental health problem. Most of the people I have ever met who have a mental health problem are some of the strongest people I’ve ever known. They’re your doctor, your lawyer, your cleaner, your friend. We are changing the world, we are changing nappies, we are writing business plans and we are making a difference”.
Prof. Dinesh Bhugra, an expert in mental health who was interviewed said:
“There is a push to let people know that,
a. Mental illness is treatable
b. You can get help
c. It’s not going to stop you doing your job properly”.
The conclusion to the programme was that all three told their work colleagues and were surprised, helped and relieved by the acceptance and support that their revelations inspired.
Talking to a qualified psychotherapist or counsellor can be an important step to dealing with mental health difficulties, including depression. Some people are not yet ready to tell there work colleagues of their problems but admitting to them and exploring them with a non judgemental professional can be a relief and can be the start of identifying and understanding unhelpful patterns of thought and belief, and thereby alleviating symptoms.
The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice comprises three female, professional psychotherapists who are qualified and experienced to listen to you and work though difficult and painful feelings with you.