In our latest Guest Blog, Silents Faces writes about mental health, and that anyone can be affected by mental health. Their show A Clown Show About Rain is a part of The Shape of Things to Come; two weeks of hot-off-the-press projects from CPT’s favourite artists, here Wed 22 Nov. Click here for tickets.
A Clown Show About Rain is a show about mental health; the fact that anyone can be affected by mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety, and many people are. It is in the first stage of development since its inception about a year ago, but the ideas in the play have been brewing for a while. Silent Faces is an integrated company that works with disabled and non-disabled artists, and one of the disabilities some of us faces is issues with mental health. I, myself, have suffered with varying levels of depression for about ten years, mixed with bouts of anxiety, and I experienced a particularly bad episode of depression roughly a year and a half ago. During this time I was physical incapable of working, socialising and, more often than not, simply looking after myself. Unable to leave my room to shower or eat, I was almost always hungry, uncomfortably unclean, and embarrassed to have to talk to my flat mates, one of which is my own brother, who, even though I know he loves me very much, I avoided in the hallway.
After much hard work at therapy, and multiple trials of different medications, I now have a steady job, an exciting career trajectory, flourishing friendships, eat (more than) enough food, and shower daily. I know that mental health is a daily occurrence, like physical health, but I am more on top of it, I am kinder to myself, and I understand the ways that my depression and anxiety will attempt to drag me down again.
This show stems from the need to share the validity of such struggles, and make those suffering feel less alone. It hopes to help break down the stigma surrounding mental health conditions, as nine times out of ten the things that stops people seeking help are shame, embarrassment or denial.
Mind’s research states that ‘approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year’ – pointing to the likelihood at A QUARTER of us will suffer annually. The statistics for smokers in the UK reports that 1 in 5 people currently smoke. If this is true, then people in the UK are more likely to suffer a mental health problem than they are to smoke. Think of all the people you see smoking from day to day, there are more people suffering from mental health conditions, we just don’t notice.
Smoking is a visible problem, you can see it when a person lights a cigarette. You most likely can’t see when a person is dealing with a bad episode of depression. This is why is it so important that we destigmatise mental health problems, because the best way to identify a mental health condition is for the person suffering to talk about it, but we are less likely to seek help or admit how we feel if the cause is so heavily stigmatised.
A Clown Show About Rain explores the isolation of feeling low, the difficulty of trying to carry on and the temptation to hide it from those around you. We have loads of ideas packed into this first version of the play and want to start a conversation in the theatre about mental health, from the shows we make to the way we operate as theatre makers.
A Clown Show About Rain will be at the Camden People’s Theatre on Nov 22nd at 9pm.
For more blogs like this one please follow @SilentFacesUK on twitter for blog updates