Ruby Wax: People ashamed of mental health struggles are not worth knowing

entertainment
Ruby Wax: People Ashamed Of Mental Health Struggles Are Not Worth Knowing
Ruby Wax, Š PA Archive/PA Images
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By Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Ruby Wax has said people who are ashamed of their mental health issues “are not worth knowing”.

The US comedian and actress has been open about her own struggles and spent time in an institution where she had a treatment involving magnets to address her depression.

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The 70-year-old told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I happen to have an illness. I could win an Oscar and still feel this, it isn’t dependent on what happens.”

She added: “I did end up in a mental institution, only because there was stuff I didn’t resolve earlier in my life. So I was running.

“But I once I got in the mental ward… they did certain things on me, they gave me RTMS, which is a new method of dealing with depression – repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.

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“So they don’t use the shock thing – you know, where Dr Frankenstein turns on the plug. It’s magnets, so there’s no side-effects. And they say if you have 20 sessions, you’ve got a 65% chance of recovery.”

The treatment, which Wax said was effective, involved her having what looked like a bathing cap placed over her scalp and strapped under her chin, before a piece of machinery resembling a 1950s hairdryer was lowered over her head to stimulate her brain.

She has since written a book called I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was, and embarked on a tour of the same name, in memory of her friend, Die Hard actor Alan Rickman.

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Asked if she ever has any regrets about speaking so openly about her mental health or if she feels the stigma around the issue has gone, Wax said: “If they’re ashamed of it, they’re not worth knowing. Because it’s in the newspaper now that it’s the biggest pandemic. So I hedged my bets.

“And I love when people come up to me and go ‘Me too’.

“And after the show, there’s question and answer and they always say ‘Here’s what happened to me’. And I love it. I love it.

“I don’t want to talk about how many kids are in school, or what their latest their favourite Netflix is, just tell me what’s going on.”

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