Advanced search

Please don't promote blogs that aren't in the Mumsnet Bloggers Network. Join the network

Ruby Wax and battling depression

(31 Posts)
ElenMumsnetBloggers (MNHQ) Thu 22-Mar-12 10:06:02

Hi bloggers,

Ruby Wax has written a guest blog to share her experience of depression and explain why she set up the Black Dog Tribe, a new site which acts as an online support network for those with depression. Do you think online communities are an effective way to support people dealing with mental health issues? And what other strategies helped you combat depression?

We're keen to hear your thoughts. And if you have a question for Ruby, you can ask it here too smile

swallowedAfly Mon 26-Mar-12 04:00:11

yes thanks for the moodscope link - i've started using it too. quite important for me to mood chart and this is quite a good way of doing it - hard to just give yourself a number.

Guaparesaca Sun 25-Mar-12 22:25:48

YoungDebbie thank you so much for the tip-off about Moodscope, I checked out your link and was so taken with what I read there, have registered and look forward to doing the 'cards' every day. I haven't been feeling all that great over the last few weeks (I recognise some stuff creeping in from the past) but am determined to take positive steps to help myself. This really appeals to me as it's every day and I can also get my best friend to help out by being my 'buddy' - she said she'd like to help in any way she can as I've really helped her through personal difficulties, is great to have a tangible practical yet simple suggestion of support.

As for Ruby Wax, well I know she doesn't appeal to everyone but in my opinion she does destigmatise' depression and mental health issues, that has to be a good thing- part of my difficulty is the sense that everyone else is 'normal' and happy and coping with everyday life, I feel weak and inadequate and strange because I am not coping, am far from feeling productive or positive in any kind of sustained way. Golly, seeing someone who is smart and strong like her admitting she has battled with depression helps enormously.

strawberry17 Sun 25-Mar-12 18:28:30

I have had post natal depression twice in the past and the odd bout since, I think anything that creates awareness and discussion is a good thing,the first time I had PND in 1994 I had no internet, and I felt so so isolated, and felt the stigma so badly, I felt so lonely and couldn't bring myself to talk or tell anyone. I am so grateful now for the internet and think it's fantastic that there are so many places and forums to discuss depression and mental health issues.

mrsshortiesmind Sat 24-Mar-12 16:51:56

I have suffered with depression (pnd) for almost 2 years now, but am starting to realise there were other times that were never diagnosed. I have found some forums really helpful, especially at the start when I wasn't really sure if I was ill and what was happening, it was all a little scary and to find people who could empathise was really helpful.

I have posted a couple of times on The Black Dog Tribe and at the moment I don't find it that helpful, I did get some nice encouraging comments, but it is hard to navigate and I'm not sure how you can manage to build up a 'tribe'.

However I think anyone who promotes Mental Health issues, whether that is to help themselves or not is doing a great job.

For some people talking in an anonymous way is really helpful (I certainly needed it). I am now more open about my illness but it wasn't easy to begin with. I don't use the forums as much now as I blog about it and get some support that way.

YoungDebbie Sat 24-Mar-12 08:37:01


I have been clinically depressed several times in my life for clear reasons rather than because of an intrinsic tendency to depression (I'm by nature an optimist) - e.g. the death of my first husband, so I'm speaking from personal experience. I was given Prozac. This got me out of it, but I was uncomfortable about taking it and would have preferred a non-medical cure.

When depressed, (at worst, in foetal position on sofa for hours, not wanting to budge), the last thing I would have wanted to do was to go online and chat with strangers about it. I could barely have a discussion with myself - I was just numb.

BUT what would have helped me enormously was Moodscope. This is a very simple online aid to understanding and managing your own moods (whether high or low or anywhere in between), using a really simple test every day that is manageable even in the utter grip of Black Dog. It helps you detect the triggers of depression and take avoidance action - and since I've been using it I have felt very much more in control of my life as a whole.

I cannot recommend it highly enough for those with depression (or indeed bipolar) or any other mood-affecting issues. It's free of charge, universally available and just wonderful. It enables you to share your ups and downs with a "buddy" of your choice if that helps you. I prefer to keep mine to myself and still find it enormously powerful. Please try it, you've nothing to lose. And I hope Ruby Wax will too!

swallowedAfly Sat 24-Mar-12 07:31:57

so a public personality talks about her own mental health and tries to promote awareness and destigmatise and you choose to take that person and criticise them based on your view of their character and mental health? proving the point really that speaking up and talking about your mental health problems still puts you in the line of fire for being discredited and having your personality picked apart for your troubles, even by a so called professional?

yep there's still plenty to be done isn't there?

if we all wanted to speculate you sound pretty grandiouse and like your nose is out of joint because someone else is getting recognition for something.

scottishmummy Fri 23-Mar-12 23:14:29

you cast aspersions v easily
yet accept no rebuke of your approach
how curious you're so attacking of others and use such emotive putdowns

no one online can corroborate your status or authenticity,so habitually referring to it is bit self are not acting in a professional capacity posting online mn.any competent registered practitioner knows that ones capabilities and competencies are not tested or reliably explored online

nursenic Fri 23-Mar-12 21:57:58

That interview was from the publicity drive for her most recent show. Therefore relevant to the issue of the site which has symbiotic relationship with the show and its inception/review period.

I use my job title to show willing. I use my job title to show legal accountability via professional registration. I use my job title to show that I have given of myself to further debate/info/support into MH issues. I use my job title in order to be transparent and back up any advice/support I give especially. I offer my job title as a reassurance against MN's own warning about advice even though I am obviously aware of the obstacles to legitimacy poseed by the anonymity issue.

Your comment reveals a great deal about your own feelings, I am afraid. Sad that you have such an ugly, insecure interpretation of my being transparent about the place where my words 'come from'.

Shame on you.

scottishmummy Fri 23-Mar-12 21:38:48

subjective opinion,and old quotes = tittle tattle
you are self aggrandizing and habitually refer to your work to infer status or superior knowledge.

it's all v bizarre

nursenic Fri 23-Mar-12 21:31:47

Sorry to disillusion you but my comments are not tittle tattle. They are a combination of my own opinions, personal experience of her work and direct quotes from her (and thank goodness I don't C+P all of her many comments).

Not tittle tattle. And sorry to disillusion you, but i can assure you that MH profs (and plenty of other profs) do 'engage' in such comment and discussion. You have a very odd view of them if you believe that. We are just as entitled to question, challenge and share opinions about sites like this and people like RW as service users are.
I am not self aggrandizing, merely defending myself against your negative assumptions about my character and professional standards. Funny that you engage in the very behaviour that you accuse me of, Scottish.

scottishmummy Fri 23-Mar-12 21:19:01

you are self aggrandizing aren't you
a mh professional simply wouldn't engage in such tittle tattle
at all

nursenic Fri 23-Mar-12 21:03:31

Scottishmummy....So RW's own quoted words are tittle tattle are they? My my. Who's being dismissive now?

I've spent nearly 30 years promoting MH issues and have been fortunate enough to be nominated for, and win a couple of user-led awards for my work. That speaks far more for me than thanks from my employers.

So, Swallowed, your comments about my professional behaviour haven't been reflected thank goodness in the opinions of what i do held by my clients and service users. I have insecurities, but my commitment to my clients and my ability to be with them is not one of them. And maybe you have come across me, Swallowed.

Hardly a character assassination when I could paste pages and pages of comments directly from RW's own mouth. She has never been shy about talking of her own life experiences. People seem to be objecting about that which RW says herself and re pasted by myself and indeed a large part of her show (which I have seen twice- therefore directly contributing financially to her 'cause') is about the interplay between narcissm, showbusiness, art and creativity and mental ill health. Do go see it, those of you who have not if and when it shows again.

Interesting that some of you have exaggerated my reasoned, un-hysterical posts into a 'character assassination'. How exactly is

I appreciate that famous people who have experienced mental health problems can be extremely powerful, effective and compassionate spokes people and help us to fight stigma and prejudice. I'm not sure that Ruby Wax is one of them a nasty, character assassination especially with regards to my final sentence? Shades of professional outrage going on here methinks.

scottishmummy Fri 23-Mar-12 19:49:38

it's a shame you seek to speculate online nic
one more professional would refrain from such tittle tattle
but clearly that's not you

swallowedAfly Fri 23-Mar-12 19:29:09

what a nasty character assassination you are determined to make of someone promoting mental health issues nursenic. thank god i never came across you in my years of engaging with mental health services.

Nyac Fri 23-Mar-12 14:57:56

SANE are supporting it. It looks an interesting project:

and if it can help destigmatise mental illness, in particular depression, that's all to the good.

nursenic Fri 23-Mar-12 14:42:25

Maybe so but insight alone is not enough to influence motivation for some people. Wax has made many many references over the years to her narcissistic nature so my commenting upon it is totally appropriate.

Nyac Fri 23-Mar-12 14:40:30

It sounds like she's got a fair amount of insight from that post.

Good for Ruby for doing this.

nursenic Fri 23-Mar-12 13:01:09

"All the while, Wax's ego was oversized to the point of obesity, hoovering up adulation wherever it was to be found. It was part of her in-your-face schtick, but it was also the problem. "You feel the self dying when you're in showbusiness," she says. "Narcissism feels good because it's a drug. But, at a certain point, it's sickening if you have any intelligence. Then you're holding on for dear life, saying, 'Please do a documentary about my gall bladder operation'."

nursenic Fri 23-Mar-12 12:57:33

I said Form a view of her as extremely narcissistic! i did not formally Dx her, scottishmummy.. You seem a little muddled regarding narcissistic traits, behaviours and formal narcissistic personality disorder which tends to be a tandem trait anyway.

And if I have no basis to form this view of her then neither do you have a right to your opposing view, swallowed.

And has it ever occurred to any of you that maybe it is possible to adjudge certain tendencies from somebodies public (and non public) persona? It's not rocket science.

Also, in some earlier interviews/pieces, RW has referred to herself as narcissistic.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Mar-12 21:30:19

talking about mh issues is positive
the human narrative,acknowledging stigma
but one needs to be aware online is unmoderated, and can bring out some strong opinions and bad advice

I have read some dreadful guessing and revision of diagnoses on mn
mh assessment is a human face to face ax,the mood,the nuances,the engagement.on a lot time here folk are quick to diagnose and personality disorder and psychopathy are oft touted with scant understanding,but plenty stories of ex was a git...must have been bpd

cornsilksit1 Thu 22-Mar-12 21:13:48

I think anything that raises the profile of mental health is helpful.

I am also horrified by nursenic diagnosing her without ever having met her. That's very worrying actually if nursenic actually is a MH professional.

CuriousMama Thu 22-Mar-12 20:44:51

I've found nomorepanic very helpful for my panic disorder. Except when I went into chat, just once, and someone in there was suicidal and took over the whole conversation, others left the convo. That was a bit worrying tbh.

So, I won't be going in chat anymore but will stay on the forums.

swallowedAfly Thu 22-Mar-12 20:12:10

oh and also encouragement eg. right! you said you wanted to make it to 'x' this week, go jump in the shower and get dressed and go as you know you will feel better for it and you told us on monday we should kick your arse if you started saying you weren't going to go.. type thing. you know?

or a bit like the flylady threads on here whereby people could report what they'd managed to do that day or write lists of what they'd like to achieve and not feel ridiculous if their list consisted of things like 'get dressed' because we all knew that that was a huge challenge at that point.

so albeit depressed folks still positive itms.

right i will shut up now.

swallowedAfly Thu 22-Mar-12 20:08:25

tee - i think the community i chatted to was great in that we were more focussed on chit chat and company and dark humour than on endless talk about how depressed we felt. there were some really strong women who even in the midst of it could laugh, and make me laugh. the depression was a given - we could therefore, with that understood, be ourselves without the depression being off putting or scary for others. not sure i'm explaining at all well. i think it was quite a unique group - we met on a huge site and then set up a small forum of our own with message boards and chatroom.

swallowedAfly Thu 22-Mar-12 20:04:09

hmm i don't think being a psych nurse qualifies you to diagnose someone from their public persona as 'extremely narcissistic'.

ruby well done for raising awareness about mental health issues and trying to combat stigma. my questions is - would you like to explain why you feel you want to raise awareness in this area and maybe defend yourself against the accusation of being an extreme narcissist on a self publicising mission? i don't believe that to be the case by the way in case my sarcasm wasn't dripping through the keyboard effectively enough.

i found an online forum extremely helpful at one stage when i was very ill. it was good to have a community of people that i could talk to and share with at a really difficult point and as it was international there was usually someone around even in the middle of the night. i still keep in touch with several of the women i met on there though my life has moved on a lot now.

i've tried pretty much every trick in the book when it comes to depression as i've had bouts of it since i was in my mid teens. i don't have a one size fits all people or all stages of depression - it really is, for me, a case of learning lots of strategies and being flexible and keeping trying.

sometimes the best thing you can do with depression at the point you're at is go with it, let yourself have a week of sleep and withdrawal and bleurgh and not kick yourself for it or for not doing x, y or z or even letting shoulds enter the picture. for me it's kind of like letting myself stop fighting the impossible and exhausting myself trying to walk through quicksand anymore and to finally just rest in it gives me the chance to come back to life at the other end.

at others times you feel the worm turn, some little spark of energy or oompf and you have to grab it - it's time to get out there and for me that means literally outside, in the countryside walking and looking at the sky and encouraging that feeling of connection back into my soul.

then obviously there are the meds, the excercise, the trying not to isolate etc etc etc but really i think for me the trick is in grabbing those chinks of light - the spark of energy, the sudden out of the darkness feeling that you might like to have a bath or tidy up a bit or.... whatever. a little chink in the wall of depression is felt and the trick is recognising those chinks and exploiting them and not letting them slip away unheeded. then before i know it i'm on my way again and getting back on form.

i guess because it's recurrent and all a bit constant i see it differently from someone who has a one off bad bout of depression and has to combat and overcome and then be 'normal' again. it's a bit of a different journey.

sorry, long waffle.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now