Tag Archives: Stigma

STOP MOCKING CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

22 Sep

Why does our TV channels feel its OK to screen shows featuring comedians mocking children and Adults with autism?

What really annoys me most is that this same channel screens programmes that actually help to raise awareness for autism yet they are happy to feature so called funny comedians joking at the expense of a child like mine.

I was sat up late on Thursday night/Friday morning as I couldn’t sleep. I sat on the sofa wrapped in a blanket, a cuppa by my side, watching BBC3.

“Oh Russell Howard… I like him” I thought to myself.

I like how this young comedian is able to take something and brighten it up. His funny look on life is refreshing. He never seems to overstep the mark, and importantly he is able to laugh at himself.

Then what happened? Yer, you’ve guessed it… Russell Howard joined the many other unappealing comedians out there and I suddenly found myself going off him in what seemed like an instant.

The show ‘Right Here Right Now’ is a stand up recording of Russell Howard on stage doing his thing.

The not so funny joke…

“Why is Bieber famous?? I’ll tell you why, it’s because he said the word baby more times than any man in a 3 minute period. It’s like an autistic child in a maternity ward, Baby, Baby, Baby… OOH. That’s not music that’s mental illness!”

Did I overreact by writing this? I don’t think I did. For one autism is a spectrum condition, not all children with autism repeat things! Secondly and most importantly, Autism isn’t even a mental illness it’s a Neurological condition. Miss informing a nation that’s already built upon ignorance and stigma isn’t going to help anybody is it!

I don’t think any comedian who feels its OK to mock another because they are autistic or suffer mental health difficulties is worth watching. Would he had thought twice if this involved another medical condition? My guess is yes!

But above all what upsets me more is that the BBC are happy to screen such rubbish, especially given they broadcast shows that do such a great job to highlight the positives in autism.

I’m a mother who has watched her child struggle not just with aspects of his Aspergers diagnosis but at the hands of ignorance too. Yet somehow I do manage to add some Witt to my writing, sometimes my motto is “if I don’t laugh I’ll go crazy” but this isn’t the same is it! I’ve tried to look at what Russell Howard said and see some light hearted banter in it, sadly I can’t… It was just a horrid uncaring thing to say.

I think this show was a repeat from months back as the YouTube comments Stretch back for over months! Therefore maybe this is something of old news to you? Nonetheless, the comments are still being added to YouTube, some in support of the autism community, others just to comment on how funny they found it…

“Russell Howard is my role model. I use his jokes and my friends don’t stop laughing. If I saw Russell Howard in real life… id thank him for his work.” MrTheRUNESCAPER 8 months ago 3 Comment taken from Youtube

The above comment worries me, as does many others. No wonder its often a struggle to get our children through school without finding themselves the victims of bullies.

Please BBC, be more careful with the message your sending and Russell… You’re just not funny!

Ruby Wax – Depression isn’t having a bad hair day!

10 Mar

Have you ever had one of those moments, when what you’re seeing is so… hilariously funny, yet, somehow powerful enough to move you to tears? Something so thought provoking it leaves you with a strong desire to talk about it? 

I have!

I was greeted by a delightful tweet earlier in the week by the fabulous Britmums! A tweet informing me that I had won their competition, bagging myself a pair of tickets to this weeks WOW (Women of the world) Festival, located at London’s Southbank. What’s more this included tickets to see the play “Losing it” and a chance to meet the star “The Lovely Ruby Wax” following the performance.

I’d previously heard about the show, which also stars the very talented  signer-songwriter “Judith Owen” so had some knowledge of the plot. What excited me most, was the fact this wasn’t set to be your average play, Ruby Wax was actually on a mission to break the stigma associated with mental illness, this would be her being open and honest about her own mental health while somehow keeping it comical! 

I’d never seen it done, the only time id ever seen a comedian raising such a subject was by cracking non tasteful jokes, laughing at those with the condition, as opposed to laughing with them! I was intrigued to discover if and how Ruby would achieve it!

Well, yesterday morning I found out….

“Losing It” is the complete opposite to the above, its made up of an extremely funny, yet thought-provoking script that really is capable of causing you to fall of your chair as you pee your pants laughing or draw a tear as its strong message buries itself deep within you. Judith Owens amazing voice with powerful lyrics combined with the hilarious yet informative words of Ruby Wax, together create something amazingly powerful, something that grabs a hold of you, leaving you replaying it in your mind once its over, therefore proving it to be the powerful awareness tool it set out to be!

Here’s what they say about “Losing It” over on the official website

Ruby Wax had it all – career, dream house, husband, kids, so when was the moment she realised she was the 1 in 4…

Somewhere between painting her kitchen beige (again), realising she didn’t own a life manual or comprehend the contents of a children’s party bag?

Ruby’s acerbic, honest humour and Judith Owen’s touching songs are both poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. This show gives you the chance to explore the ups and downs of mental illness, its stigmas and the freedom you discover when you share the darkest moments of your life.

I may not have had the same life as the lovely Ruby Wax! I didn’t attend drama school and bag myself a carer as an actress or comedian, but I did create my own wonderful family consisting of three beautiful children. However, like Ruby, this didn’t stop the hand of depression, it didn’t cure me of the ongoing anxiety attacks, severe OCD and the up and down eating disorder, all being an active part of my existence since childhood. 

My head nodded furiously as Ruby touched on the feelings of shame one feels because this is an illness located in the brain rather than another organ in the human body! Ruby is right, Mental illness doesn’t care who you are, celebrity, doctor, mother….  If your one of the 1 in 4 that mental illness has chosen to capture, than status holds no ground, we’re all human after all. 

Ruby becomes an open book, she tells her story by doing what she does best, creating laughter! I don’t know anybody who has managed to talk about depression for an hour or more without causing its audience to leave with their heads hung low.  

Oh, and it seems that Mental illness isn’t all Ruby’s clued up on… Oh no! She seems to have the whole relationship and marriage thing sussed out pretty well too! Now, I really don’t want to ruin it for those who are yet to see the play, lets just say, I almost choked on my own tongue laughing… Ruby at her best!

Both ladies make this sensational entertainment, the sheer fact that together they have created something so funny from such a serious issue, without damaging it, is fabulous, and reminded me how talented a comedian Ruby really is. This show left me wanting to go home and help break the stigma, while allowing myself to let go of any shame I may still hold regarding my own demons. As a woman who has been to crazy town and back again, as well as a parent to a child with Asperger’s who suffers greatly with anxiety and depressive moods, I’m with these ladies! It’s about time our society realised that depression isn’t having a bad hair day or feeling sad! Stop offering us tea and telling us to perk up… tea and ignorance cure nothing, just piss us off that bit more!

I’d recommend everyone checkout “Losing It”, if this doesn’t change ones perception of mental illness, then quite honestly nothing will! Having already performed for all branches of the priory and a large number of mental health wards up and down the country, “Losing it” brought the play to the public by going on tour  last year! Both the public and media seem to love what these ladies do, with a large number of glowing reviews and feedback from your national news papers, your average tom, to celebrities such as Annie Lennox. 

I was lucky to have a quick chat and grab a picture with the lovely lady herself see belowOn the whole, a great way to spend my Friday! A large dose of appreciation is on its way to Britmums for the tickets and a double dose making its way to Judith Owen and Ruby Wax for their truly inspirational play and attitude to metal illness… your all great! 

Check Out the official site for show dates (currently offering special price of £25 for their planed shows in London’s West end in August) click HERE for details

Please check out the Black Dog Tribe a social network/forum and informative website where members can share advice, connect with one another, get all the latest news and updates on mental health and current campaigns and developments! Both Ruby and Judith are a big part of the network and encouragement you all to go and say hello, speak out, gain comfort and break down the stigma  

Here’s a taster I uncovered for you on youtube 

Lastly those attending Britmums Live, don’t forget Ruby wax is a listed speaker, so if you haven’t got your ticket by now I’d suggest you wiggle on before its listed as a sell out.

 

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