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Ruby Wax talks to Fabafterfifty about life after 50 and coping with depression

Article by Fabafterfifty

I was thrilled to have the chance to catch up with Ruby Wax to talk about her views on turning 50 and plans for the future and the important work she’s doing to take away the stigma often associated with depression

Q. How did you view turning 50?
A. For me I see turning 50 is an opportunity to reinvent yourself. It’s a point in your life which you know is coming, and you need to prepare for it. I knew I would have to do something different , and last year I went to school at Oxford! My kids are SO jealous as I have got to Oxford before them. I’m studying  mindfulness based cognitive therapy.
It was painful for me to not be in showbusiness in the way I was before. I believe certain jobs require a ‘young’ brain, others require an ‘older’ brain, we need to recognise what roles fit our brains  and plan for that. Our brains have the capacity to regenerate throughout our lives, but certain parts become stronger, so we have different skills at different stages.
I’ve always been interested in the brain , and what can be achieved in the second half of life. We should have a better understanding of what can be achieved.

Q. Can you tell us more about the show/forum you’re involved in and how it can help take away the stigma often associated with depression
A. Well in 4 of us will suffer from mental health issues at some stage of our lives. With Ruby Wax-Losing It, the show hits at the truth and shares some of my own experiences- but it is a comedy!  There is no manual that tells us how to live, we have to make it up s we go along. If you have depression you can feel like an outsider, the show acts as a sort of guide to help show you where you can fit in.  People watch and can think ‘Me Too!’
The second half of the show is more open, people can join in , ask for help. We have brilliant speakers and people from associations such as SANE  and MIND who can offer advice, and people can meet others suffering from the same predicament.  The show is about them as much as it about me, hopefully they will feel they can open up.

Q. What advice would you give someone who has a family member going through depression?

A. I would suggest they call SANE or MIND. Ask the person what you can do to help- don’t tell them what you would do in their shoes.

We each have to find our passion in life. We have to be real. At 50 its not too late to find and follow your passion and do something you find really fulfilling.

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Annie

    May 27, 2011

    Everyone experiences depression sometime in their life. When you are going through it you often times feel that no one understands. You often times are reluctant to do the things that might pick you up like exercise or going out. It is as important to address depression as it is an physical illness. Mental health and physical health are tied together. You are not alone. We all get the blues.

  2. Daniel

    May 27, 2011

    I am a sufferer of borderline personality disorder and a few weeks ago a friend of quoted something to donwith ruby saying that it always helps to talk with other people to resolve your problems. It’s interesting to seen that she is studying mindfulness which is a large part of DBT, the therapy recommended for people like me with BPD. Definitely interested to see this show now!

  3. ntathu allen

    October 28, 2011

    Yhanks cor sharing. We all have skeletons in our closets yet we are. all the same and have similar goals dreams and ambitions. You give a lot and in sharing your story in the way that is true to you inspires. thank you. excuse spelling am on phone and screen keeps slipping..joys of touchscreen..lol

  4. Jan Jack

    January 21, 2012

    Thankfully there isn’t the stigma to depression that there used to be and with so many people suffering from it this is very welcome.

    Talented folk like Ruby sharing their experiences help take away that stigma.

    In my experience, although we all have a dark side, this is particularly prevalent with comedians and entertainers. The desire to make people sometimes comes from dealing with something which isn’t so good, and fills a huge gap for some people.

    I’ve suffered from serious depression twice; it’s a bewildering, frightening place where you shut yourself away from your friends and don’t want to burden anyone…a very lonely existence. The advantage of having suffered from depression however is that you can then recognise it in others and can reach out to them.

    Congratulations Ruby, on continually following your passion. I’m a huge fan of that philosophy, and a huge ‘Ruby’ fan as well.

    • Ceri Wheeldon

      January 22, 2012

      Jan, I agree that it is so important to take the stigma away- it will hopefully encourage more people needing help to come forward. Ruby is a great ambassador for the cause!

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