So-called ‘poster girl for mental health’, and full-on comedian Ruby Wax explains where science meets mindfulness and helps me figure out just how it could help my own mental well-being
Before anyone even comes on to the stage at the strangely church-yet-village-hall-style venue that is Conway Hall, in Red Lion Square, Holborn, a kind-yet-tired-looking man to my left starts telling me about his mental health.
Somehow, before I’ve even had a chance to really say anything, he’s told me that he had to give up work soon after his depression diagnosis and that for him, like 25% of those prescribed pills, medication didn’t work, so he’s been trying other ways to wrestle with his own mental demons.
He’s come to the talk with a group of people for whom trying to keep the black dog at bay has also seemingly become a daily struggle. And they, and me, make up just one line of the buzzing crowd of people – men and women, from teenagers to pensioners ‒ thronging into the hall with impatience to hear famous comedian and sufferer of depression Ruby Wax speak about that recent buzz word in mental health: mindfulness.
That’s what I tell the man to my left: “She’s talking about mindfulness,” I say, “It’s basically a way of focussing on the present – a bit like meditation but without the Buddhism,” I venture, sounding more confident in my definition than I feel.