Stephen Fry, Spike Milligan, Tony Slattery, Ruby Wax. All live, or have done, with some form of mental illness whether bi-polarity, anxiety, depression – the list goes on.

All, in my opinion, are great artists, writers, and performers. Oh! That I may one day add my name to this list of loony luminaries!

It effects us all, you see? The ones at the top get it, the ones at the bottom get it. Even those aggravating bastards in the middle get it. I have heard that even certain types of bees get it (not really). Depression, bi-polarity – there are so many – are, alongside death, cancer and a bunch of other stuff, now I come to think of it, the great levellers. They respect no age, social status, sexuality or income bracket. Whether you have a market stall in the east end or a mansion in LA, it can get to you as easily as a finger snap.

When it does, baby, you better be ready. Except you won’t be, obviously. None of us are. Most of the testimonies I’ve read echo my own: this shit creeps up on you like Sutcliffe and then…BAM!

I remember, when I was at school, using the top of a Bic Biro, the sharp bit that sticks over your shirt pocket, to cut lines in my forearms during class. During class! I drew blood, it hurt, I got something other than Jane Fucking Austen to think about. I wasn’t a self-harmer. I’d never even heard the term! Besides, it didn’t last long.

Just a phase.

Ruby Wax has created the Black Dog Tribe internet community. Check it out.


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