The pressure-cooker of modern life is causing more of us than ever before to crack up through mental overload and a feeling of constant frazzle, says comedienne and mental-health campaigner Ruby Wax.
In what promises to be a stimulating but humorous discussion as part of the Pureland Series at China Exchange, Wax will explore what has brought modern mankind to this point and how we move forward.
The September 28 event, which is sponsored by the Pureland Foundation, will close Wax’s UK tour and see her draw on personal experience, as well as her own academic work on the subject.
Wax is a compelling advocate for breaking down the stigmas that still surround mental-health issues. Having suffered from anxiety and depression throughout her life, Wax is among the one-in-four Britons who experience a mental illness at some point in their lives, who are family to someone who does or who work in mental healthcare.
A professional interest in the workings of the mind began when Wax graduated in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She has subsequently gained a master’s degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy from the University of Oxford and written the bestselling book Sane New World.
In 2015, she was appointed a Visiting Professor in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Surrey.
Wax has also made an online series on mental-health issues for the BBC and worked with mental-health charities. Her efforts were recognised in 2015, when she received an OBE for Services to Mental Health.
Her current work focuses on the creation of Frazzled Cafés – walk-in centres where people who are feeling frazzled can meet on a regular basis to talk and share their stories in a safe, anonymous and non-judgmental environment – a place where it’s OK to not be OK. Cafes have already opened in London, Brighton and Cambridge, with plans to roll out more in Canterbury, Leeds, Newcastle and Nottingham.
She says: “We live in a time where to have a life crammed to the hilt is considered a success story. But with all this pressure, so many of us have nowhere to go to meet and talk about it. Frazzled Café is about people coming together to share their stories, calmly sitting together, stating their case and feeling validated as a result. Feeling heard, to me, has always been half the cure.”
At the Pureland Series event in September, Wax will also introduce her most recent book, A
Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled, which includes mindfulness advice for relationships, parents, children and teenagers, and a six-week course based on her studies of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy with Professor Mark Williams at the University of Oxford.