Wannabe Medics

Ruby Wax is mentally ill.

"But at least I got a show out of it," she tells the audience with her trademark glibness.

Losing it, playing at the Underbelly during the Edinburgh Fringe, is Wax’s examination of her own breakdown and her thoughts on what led her to it.

The 58-year-old maintains the hyperactive, self-centred, wisecracking persona which she developed over three decades in the spotlight but there is also a more honest and vulnerable Wax telling a personal story.

"The show is comedy," she says.

"It is hilarious. I don’t talk about raising awareness but at one point I see the audience start nodding their heads and they are saying ‘I got that too’.

"But you don’t have to be mentally ill to get what I’m talking about."

She is currently studying for a Masters degree in “mindfulness-based cognitive therapy” at Oxford.

Wax says that understanding the way the brain functions takes the fear away.

"It is like finding out you are not possessed by the devil," she says.

During the show, she delivers a cod-lecture on the science of the brain.

Careful not to be too serious, she steers away from neuroscience but her message is clear.

"Mental illness is a disease like diabetes, it cannot just be wished away."