What’s so funny about mental illness? | Ruby Wax

What’s so funny about mental illness? | Ruby Wax


Translator: Joseph Geni
Reviewer: Morton Bast One in four people suffer from some sort of mental illness, so if it was one, two, three, four, it’s you, sir. You. Yeah. (Laughter) With the weird teeth. And you next to him. (Laughter) You know who you are. Actually, that whole row isn’t right. (Laughter) That’s not good. Hi. Yeah. Real bad. Don’t even look at me. (Laughter) I am one of the one in four. Thank you. I think I inherit it from my mother, who, used to crawl around the house on all fours. She had two sponges in her hand, and then she had two tied to her knees. My mother was completely absorbent. (Laughter) And she would crawl around behind me going, “Who brings footprints into a building?!” So that was kind of a clue that things weren’t right. So before I start, I would like to thank the makers of Lamotrigine, Sertraline, and Reboxetine, because without those few simple chemicals, I would not be vertical today. So how did it start? My mental illness — well, I’m not even going to talk about my mental illness. What am I going to talk about? Okay. I always dreamt that, when I had my final breakdown, it would be because I had a deep Kafkaesque existentialist revelation, or that maybe Cate Blanchett would play me and she would win an Oscar for it. (Laughter) But that’s not what happened. I had my breakdown during my daughter’s sports day. There were all the parents sitting in a parking lot eating food out of the back of their car — only the English — eating their sausages. They loved their sausages. (Laughter) Lord and Lady Rigor Mortis were nibbling on the tarmac, and then the gun went off and all the girlies started running, and all the mummies went, “Run! Run Chlamydia! Run!” (Laughter) “Run like the wind, Veruca! Run!” And all the girlies, girlies running, running, running, everybody except for my daughter, who was just standing at the starting line, just waving, because she didn’t know she was supposed to run. So I took to my bed for about a month, and when I woke up I found I was institutionalized, and when I saw the other inmates, I realized that I had found my people, my tribe. (Laughter) Because they became my only friends, they became my friends, because very few people that I knew — Well, I wasn’t sent a lot of cards or flowers. I mean, if I had had a broken leg or I was with child I would have been inundated, but all I got was a couple phone calls telling me to perk up. Perk up. Because I didn’t think of that. (Laughter) (Laughter) (Applause) Because, you know, the one thing, one thing that you get with this disease, this one comes with a package, is you get a real sense of shame, because your friends go, “Oh come on, show me the lump, show me the x-rays,” and of course you’ve got nothing to show, so you’re, like, really disgusted with yourself because you’re thinking, “I’m not being carpet-bombed. I don’t live in a township.” So you start to hear these abusive voices, but you don’t hear one abusive voice, you hear about a thousand — 100,000 abusive voices, like if the Devil had Tourette’s, that’s what it would sound like. But we all know in here, you know, there is no Devil, there are no voices in your head. You know that when you have those abusive voices, all those little neurons get together and in that little gap you get a real toxic “I want to kill myself” kind of chemical, and if you have that over and over again on a loop tape, you might have yourself depression. Oh, and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. If you get a little baby, and you abuse it verbally, its little brain sends out chemicals that are so destructive that the little part of its brain that can tell good from bad just doesn’t grow, so you might have yourself a homegrown psychotic. If a soldier sees his friend blown up, his brain goes into such high alarm that he can’t actually put the experience into words, so he just feels the horror over and over again. So here’s my question. My question is, how come when people have mental damage, it’s always an active imagination? How come every other organ in your body can get sick and you get sympathy, except the brain? I’d like to talk a little bit more about the brain, because I know you like that here at TED, so if you just give me a minute here, okay. Okay, let me just say, there’s some good news. There is some good news. First of all, let me say, we’ve come a long, long way. We started off as a teeny, teeny little one-celled amoeba, tiny, just sticking onto a rock, and now, voila, the brain. Here we go. (Laughter) This little baby has a lot of horsepower. It comes completely conscious. It’s got state-of-the-art lobes. We’ve got the occipital lobe so we can actually see the world. We got the temporal lobe so we can actually hear the world. Here we’ve got a little bit of long-term memory, so, you know that night you want to forget, when you got really drunk? Bye-bye! Gone. (Laughter) So actually, it’s filled with 100 billion neurons just zizzing away, electrically transmitting information, zizzing, zizzing. I’m going to give you a little side view here. I don’t know if you can get that here. (Laughter) So, zizzing away, and so — (Laughter) — And for every one — I know, I drew this myself. Thank you. For every one single neuron, you can actually have from 10,000 to 100,000 different connections or dendrites or whatever you want to call it, and every time you learn something, or you have an experience, that bush grows, you know, that bush of information. Can you imagine, every human being is carrying that equipment, even Paris Hilton? (Laughter) Go figure. But I got a little bad news for you folks. I got some bad news. This isn’t for the one in four. This is for the four in four. We are not equipped for the 21st century. Evolution did not prepare us for this. We just don’t have the bandwidth, and for people who say, oh, they’re having a nice day, they’re perfectly fine, they’re more insane than the rest of us. Because I’ll show you where there might be a few glitches in evolution. Okay, let me just explain this to you. When we were ancient man — (Laughter) — millions of years ago, and we suddenly felt threatened by a predator, okay? — (Laughter) — we would — Thank you. I drew these myself. (Laughter) Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. Anyway, we would fill up with our own adrenaline and our own cortisol, and then we’d kill or be killed, we’d eat or we’d be eaten, and then suddenly we’d de-fuel, and we’d go back to normal. Okay. So the problem is, nowadays, with modern man— (Laughter) — when we feel in danger, we still fill up with our own chemical but because we can’t kill traffic wardens — (Laughter) — or eat estate agents, the fuel just stays in our body over and over, so we’re in a constant state of alarm, a constant state. And here’s another thing that happened. About 150,000 years ago, when language came online, we started to put words to this constant emergency, so it wasn’t just, “Oh my God, there’s a saber-toothed tiger,” which could be, it was suddenly, “Oh my God, I didn’t send the email. Oh my God, my thighs are too fat. Oh my God, everybody can see I’m stupid. I didn’t get invited to the Christmas party!” So you’ve got this nagging loop tape that goes over and over again that drives you insane, so, you see what the problem is? What once made you safe now drives you insane. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but somebody has to be. Your pets are happier than you are. (Laughter) (Applause) So kitty cat, meow, happy happy happy, human beings, screwed. (Laughter) Completely and utterly — so, screwed. But my point is, if we don’t talk about this stuff, and we don’t learn how to deal with our lives, it’s not going to be one in four. It’s going to be four in four who are really, really going to get ill in the upstairs department. And while we’re at it, can we please stop the stigma? Thank you. (Applause) (Applause) Thank you.

100 thoughts on “What’s so funny about mental illness? | Ruby Wax

  1. Fucking horrible. 2 minutes and i'm out. Is this a fucking TED Talk or stand up comedy? Does she think that this bullshit is makind the message more presentable to people? Fucking horrible…

  2. I only listened for the first time only three minutes and had to switch off. I don't actually believe she's putting on a show i think that's her real personality .

  3. I feel bad for your mom …who was suffering through depression, ……but for u …..u have now understanding, ….

  4. I've felt bad for what I am and what I have, I've always thought I was bad or that I am not a socially amd emotionally functional human being. I appreciate this so much, she seems to be a great troubled humam beimg that actually cares. :')

  5. Yes more people are off kilter but stigma holds them back from sharing what they need.I have agoraphobia!

  6. She misused the word “psychotic” in place of something more like sociopathy, the psychotic illnesses are more varied and important than she touches on

  7. When she talks about "the voices" is she talking about different voices or our own internal voice? The one that re-runs the shameful, embarrassing, cringe worthy occurrences we all have done throughout our lives?

  8. I hear this 1 in 4 people quote made by many speakers but it's total bullshit the way they explain it. It is 1 in 4 people will propably have a mental illness problems during their lifetime but its not like 1 in 4 people at the current time got a mental illness.

  9. I love you. Unfortunately, for some people when they have physical illness, apparently it's not a big enough issue to cure or even medically acknowledge it either. They're just claimed neurotic or a hypochondriac because that label gives them super powers making it impossible for them to contract anything.

  10. This was so amazing! What a funny, beautiful, bright soul! Made me smile :). We're definitly not equipped for the 21st century, too right ahhh

  11. The thing is the mental hospital i went too was HORRIBLE it was a poorly run, and put together and they were VERY lazy and i wanted to leave right away

  12. Dave Chappelle went through this, too. People kept telling him "keep your chin up". "Oh really? That's what the problem was? My chin was too low?"

  13. I thank God for her so very much!!! Everything can get broken but your brain😢😢 But she make it into laughter and I love this😂😂😂😂 Love you sweetheart 🙏🙏🙏🙏💗💗💗💗💗💗

  14. I have watched a few speech about depression but this one is the best. She didn't just let people understand what it means to be one in four but what it feels like to almost everyday to be in four and four because the 21st century couldn't just understand that making it seems like a stigma is making everything worse.

  15. Mental illness doesn't exist, regrettably it's a figment of some drug-pushing money-grubbing loathsome, bacterial, sewer-scum psychiatrist's imagination; to operate as a HyperParasitoid upon you www.glennfloyd.org/oped.pdf

  16. i knew a crazy kid in hi school he always made me laugh he was so nut i love how pissed off the teachers.

  17. This lady is amazing. I suffer from major depressive disorder with psychotic features and delusions. She really puts it all in perspective. She is amazing!

  18. schizophrenia literally means split personality and is what Jesus dealt with when he cast demons out of people.
    Drugs only seem to work with schizophrenics because they dull the brain so much that the demon's instructions cannot get through to control the person – the same way that alcohol makes the brain shut down.
    Take a schizo off drugs and soon the demon can get full control again – this is the reason so many 'cured' schizo suddenly become murdering monsters!

  19. People Don’t Want to Kill Themselves They Just Don’t Know How to Kill the Pain!!!!!!!!!

    Every Thunderstorm Runs Out of Rain!!!!!!

  20. This is excellent. I always found Ruby Wax entertaining when she used to have her interview shows, but she is doing so much more for humanity with her work in the field of mental health. I have several friends who have really suffered with depression and anxiety, and Ruby’s presentation really gives me more of an insight and understanding into what they are going through and why… more so than many of the much longer, more traditional presentations on the topic. Well done, Ruby! 👍👌

  21. Between the toxic chemicals emissions from chemtrails and 5G rollout we’re all doomed, this is a global genocide. We will never see a beautiful deep blue sky again, only palest of blue to a blanket of white toxic soup. Pharmaceuticals is the biggest scam of the century, it’s no wonder people are suffering today more than ever. There are more diseases more sickness more mental illness more cancer, do your research, check out Dane Wigington for an example

  22. Thank you so much for the video! I loved it. A big hug for Ruby Wax and all nice people who are here to watch the conference. Have a nice day ❤️

  23. I've suffered from depression most of my life, but only recently has anxiety been added to the mix. I'll take depression, I'll take anger, anything but anxiety and fear. Luckily, hopefully, my first and only panic attack was due to a reaction to a new medication. Three weeks later and I still don't feel exactly right. I can instantly bring on the fear again just by thinking about it. Writing this comment is leaving me with a slight tightening sensation in my chest. It's amazing. I wish I could instantly cause my brain to release dopamine and serotonin as easily as it can seemingly produce adrenaline and cortisol. In these past few weeks I've learned more about anxiety and depression than I ever thought possible. Knowing it's a real, physical illness, understanding it's as simple (and terrible) as stress causing our poor brains to activate our ancient 'fight or flight' mechanism, helps enormously. I prefer the term brain illness, instead of mental illness, for all the very reasons she mentioned, that stigma, people thinking you can "perk up" and be cured. I do believe most (not all, of course, some need meds) of us can fix our brains through habitual changes in our thoughts and lifestyle, though. The one thing that seems to pop up in every study on anxiety and depression is the evidence that exercise can be a game changer. It has to be significant, aerobic exercise daily. Some studies have shown you can actually overdo it, which might be why marathon runners aren't immune to depression and anxiety. In other talks she's given, Ruby praises neruoplasticity. That too is very encouraging.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *