Meeting Ruby

Photograph: Steve Ullathorne via The Guardian


In March 2017 after a busy day in the log cabin, we found time to attend Ruby Wax’s Frazzled show at Norwich Playhouse. Time flies, so I am only just posting about it now, but it’s something that has stayed with me over the past few months.



Ruby’s lived experience, academic qualifications, stand-up comedy and best-selling books have all come together to make her a visible and vocal ambassador for mental health in the UK. I was curious about seeing her live and looking forward to the event. Observing the full theatre, it was clear that Ruby’s informal style had attracted all kinds of people. The stage set was simple and open, creating a relaxed atmosphere, but there was also a sense of anticipation which showed how popular Ruby is.






The experience did not disappoint. Ruby combined humour and intellect during a conversation with the audience about mental health, with many questions and answers normalising how we are all frazzled as we engage in our frantic lives. 



I am not the biggest fan of celebrities, however Ruby unplugged gave a genuine, candid and unique insight into her experiences with depression and the use of mindfulness backed by scientific facts. Her frank opinions and wit made the show accessible and encouraged us all to make some changes and live a healthier and happier life.



We all have lots of browser windows open in our mind. But for most people, their mind is operating like a computer overheating, not knowing how to reboot. Mindfulness calms our cortisol levels and shrinks our amygdala (our threat centre) over time. Attention defines us in any moment. If we come to our senses we can learn our personal theme songs (thinking habits), become an observer and redecorate our minds. But mental exercises are like sit-ups, which require practise and routine to notice an impact.



The format of the show and mindfulness is not for everyone. I found the event funny and light-hearted about serious matters and at times painfully vulnerable with public, honest disclosure. And it was great to meet the lady herself. Ruby is an engaging and thoughtful conversationalist about mental health, the psychological toxicity of modern life and the ways to overcome it. My take-home messages were: Stop striving, the time of your life is NOW, you have arrived.







Ruby’s books Sane New World and A Mindfulness Guide For the Frazzled are both thought-provoking reads and she has also founded Frazzled Cafe, which is a place to meet and talk, currently hosted by some Marks & Spencer stores.