Ruby Wax and my Mad Confession

by Charlotte Fantelli

Ruby Wax and my Mad Confession

For those of you who read my blogs you will know that I am Charlotte Fantelli, 28, the editor of Mental Healthy, the founder of Uncovered magazine, and have had my own personal struggle with anxiety disorders. Well Monday 23rd the rest of the country will know too!

Three months ago I agreed to take part in a documentary for Channel 4 called ‘Ruby Wax’s Mad Confessions’. Easy, I thought, I openly discuss mental health on here, and I must admit I like the sound of my own voice (most of the time), so this should be simple...

The programme focuses on successful people who have struggled with mental illness. Quite a unique concept when you consider the ‘criminal’ or ‘weak’ portrayals of mental illness most media like to put on our screens and papers. That is why I agreed to take part in the show and allow myself to let myself be vulnerable… Not something a control freak like myself finds easy!

I spent the first few weeks with the crew showing off how far I had come and trying desperately not to allow myself to consider just how far I have left to go! But, in true programme maker fashion, by the end of the process they’d cut through the mask and as I sat there over the table from Ruby Wax with tears in my eyes, I realised some things cannot be erased by time or apparent 'success'.

The programme made me look at myself through new eyes. It made me see my breakthroughs – running Mental healthy, launching Uncovered magazine, being a director at a technology firm Fusion Data Technology, and tech product CubeITz, being responsible for designing brands that are now worth over £4.5million... And of course being a wife and a mummy! It also made me realise that I’m human and there are things I still hide even from myself - like why I still wash my hands 30 times a day and have a desperate need for control.

After loving it, hating it, crying about it, screaming about it, asking myself loudly ‘why the F**k am I doing it?’ (and realising I was still mic’d)! After all of this I am very glad I did it. Why? Well, when I was sat housebound with agoraphobia, if I could, even just for one minute, have contemplated that those ‘successful’ people I see on TV, once had the fears and inner hell I felt, then it may have given me hope in a hopeless time.

As I say in an interview about it ‘If only I had seen the reality, the flaws that we all carry, the oddities, the secrets, the struggles that everyone faces. If I had seen that I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t a failure, but someone who had quite simply reacted to seeing TOO much… If I had seen others I viewed as a ‘success’ admitting they too are ‘human’, then maybe I would have had more strength to fight those battles that robbed me of too many years.

So today I still struggle, I still have bad days, but if at my worst I knew there was a life like this waiting for me, I would have donned my latex gloves, and danced for joy at my success, my blessings and all those quirky things that make me peculiar – those things that make me all I am today.

I really hope and pray by sharing my vulnerable self, I make even one person know there is hope for them too.

Please do tune in to Ruby Wax’s Mad Confessions: Monday 23rd July at 10pm on Channel 4.

 

Comments

Those of us who have the privilege of knowing you personally are always surprised, never disappointed, but always blown away by your very special character. You are unforgettable in the most precious way. Just keep going girl! Gladi

Gladi, that is the nicest thing a person could ever hear. That encouraged me so much, thank you for leaving such a beautiful comment. It goes a long way to help me stay courageous as I see myself 'warts and all' on the TV :-) x

That's understandable that cash can make us free. But what to do when someone does not have cash? The one way only is to receive the loans and financial loan.
Looking forward to Ruby's program.

She's great isn't she. I admit that before i met her I thought she was a little brassh or scary, but she is a very genuinely lovely lady with a BRILLIANT mind! ~~~Charlotte

I guess that to get the mortgage loans from creditors you should have a good reason. But, one time I have got a collateral loan, just because I was willing to buy a bike.
Do you know that this is correct time to receive the loans, which would make your dreams come true.
You are, always have been, always will be a wonderful person with a kind generous heart!! I am so so proud of you and all the things you have achieved!!!im sure you will go on to achieve a lot more! I look upto you so much! and honoured to say your my friend!!! Love Dans Your No 1 Fan!

Ah sweetheart. What a journey we have been on together, from the two wayward kids we were the night we erm, met ;-) through the night we sat and opened up to one another about the abuse we'd endured, through the men and women, through the great times, and through the bad, none more so than losing Lou... Through it all, you are the longest standing, closest friend I have ever had and am so proud to be yours x

Hi Charlotte, this is Caroline Carr. I was so struck by your story on Ruby Wax's Mad Confessions. Thank you for being so open. I know how exhausting any kind of OCD can be, having worked with several clients who have experienced different types, at different levels.

Thank you Caroline, it really can be, and we OCD folk are usually perfectionists who like control and hate to show what we see to be our weaknesses, so I am so proud of all the feedback I have had today, and glad yo have been involved. Charlotte x

Dear Charlotte, Well done you!! I just had to email you as I was so impressed with you on the Ruby Wax Show. I have had a similar story to you so identified with you at once. I also wanted to let you know of a resource that could be of use to your readers. In 1993 I founded a not for profit project for people who have experienced child sexual abuse and those that support them called Into The Light – www.intothelight.org.uk This came out of my own experience and wanting to provide some support for other people who had also been abused. We run workshops, groups, training and also do one to one work with women and men. We have a workshop coming up in October called “Stepping Out Of Shame and Into The Future” and I wondered if you could put this on your website somewhere? Last year, amazingly I had a self help book published on recovering from sexual abuse called “New Shoes” I would be happy to send you one? Best wishes, Rebecca x

Oh my goodness Rebecca, your website is amazing! I have just been looking through for the last 20 minutes and I have discovered the most amazing stuff, we have to do something to further benefit each others work, whether it be link or article exchange, or a feature about the other. I would love to get your work to our readers. I have just read 'it's yeas and it's no' and I have so needed that information! I've known so much of it for years, but to see it in black and white is very powerful. I will try and contact you through the site.

Charlotte

Dear Charlotte, The Ruby Wax interview showed not only how genuine, caring and passionate about mental health issues you are, but also how much you have achieved, inspite of your own difficulties. You are a very special lady. I am sure many of us watching were humbled by your willingness to share your experiences in order to help others. Sending you love and blessings always Annie xx

What a lovely start to my day. Thank you so much for the encouragement. Whilst it's not praise I did it for, the thought of people taking the time to touch base with me, fills me with a feeling of achievement and helps me know I did the right thing. Very best wishes. Charlotte xx

I've watched Ruby's Mad Confessions twice. The first time, when you talked about just wanting to be clean, and why, I cried. The second time, I watched it with my husband, and cried again at the same part, because what you spoke about on the programme touched me. I have the same issues as you, but they manifest themselves in chronic depression and a cleaning OCD. I have struggled with these for 20 years. I haven't worked for 4 years, and if I am totally honest, I am close to giving up, because I'm tired now. But I just wanted to say well done for all you have achieved in your life, and thank you for what you are doing to help people like me. S.

Hi S, I am really sorry to hear you struggling like this. The illness can be totally crippling. I didn't work for many years, I was actually agoraphobic for a long time and never dreamed of being able to do what I do now. It really is possible to break through the hardest part and no-one and nothing in your past deserves to take your present and future - that is YOURS. Ido still struggle I'd be a liar to say otherwise, but now it is a part of me, not consuming me, which is a real blessing. I am trying to think of some good advise and maybe this isn't the best, but what helped me (apart from lifestyle changes of good diet and sleep, a psychiatrist and great husband), was the fact I realised that the thing I built to protect me from the fear was far scarier than the fear itself. I realised that I had created more of a problem in my life than the actual 'fear', this gave me a feeling that I was more in control than the illness. If I believed I had some power and choice then I could change it. So I started challenging the little things until I reversed the cycle enough to see the world wouldn't end if I did... Then slowly, slowly my world increased rather than decreased, until i got to where i am now. There are some great resources on here free: Anxiety for example. Please do reply and feel free to ask me anything. If i can help I will. Charlotte x

Hi Charlotte, thank you so much for taking the time to reply with such encouraging words, I appreciate it very much. There were many things you touched on that resonated with me. I have let the past rob me of my present. I've not set any boundaries as to how much I let it encroach. Of course, depression helps take care of the future, in that sufferers cannot always see through the thick mist of negativity and impossibility and therefore cannot see a future. At best, its cripplingly stuck, at worst, its suicide. One of my goals is to get to the point that your describe, where its an acknowledged part of me but no longer all-consuming. If I could reach that point, it would be real progress, as it would mean i would be well enough to return to work, with fewer episodes of immobility. Control is very important to me. So much so that I have hurt myself very much in the past trying to hold onto it or claw it back. Things have improved greatly as the years have gone by, in that i am less inclined to hurt myself in the mistaken belief i was in control. Although i haven't been able to eliminate every single destructive behaviour, I can recognise them more clearly now, and then choose to act to prevent them. I am trying to follow your advice and do as much as possible myself to alleviate the harsher symptoms of my illnesses. I decided to buy myself a mini mp3 player to take with me as i go on power walks, just a couple of miles on weekdays to start with. sometimes my husband comes with me too. its helping me to focus and feel a bit better about myself. whenever i return home from a walk, i feel a tiny bit stronger. i've also found a therapy group for women who have experienced trauma and abuse in their lives, and i've been attending that while i wait for one-to-one therapy. i didn't think it would be helpful, but i actually look forward to attending each week. i'm finding my voice, and have spoken about being raped and abused for the first time in a therapeutic setting and being there has helped me get through a particularly bad patch. but, i'm still very low. anything in our home that is to my mind not clean, out of place or dirty in some way causes me the deepest of anxieties, but i'm trying to 'leave it and live with it' a little longer than i can usually tolerate, but it's very difficult. that said, i haven't had any suicidal ideations/impulses for a number of weeks now, so i guess that's an improvement, but i think its something i'll always struggle with. i'm just trying to acquire some tools that will enable me to cope with that struggle better. I'm glad I've found Mental Healthy, as its a tool I can use to help me challenge my thinking and replace thoughts/behaviours that don't work for me with something altogether more positive. Thank you again for being so brave about your life experiences. You have helped me more than you may know, and many many more besides, I'm certain about that. You absolutely did the right thing. S.
Greetings, I have been a bit naughty. I like it. Sorry. Thank you! for many many things Regards Gary Leach
Hello, My name is Cheryl and I live in the United States. Last year I nearly died due to a brain tumor that was undiagnosed for about ten years. I suffered from clinical depression as the location of the tumor was on my frontal lobe. As I rise from the ashes of my crumbled life, I am sharing encouraging thoughts, prayers, music, and other posts on my blog. I am a Born Again Christian. http://weepingintodancing.wordpress.com/ I hope you check it out. You can read about my personal journey by selecting CATEGORY on the right of the homepage. then scroll down to ABOUT ME. I have pictures posted of myself right after surgery and present day.
"Be faithful to that which exists within yourself"~Andre Gide Hallo Cheryl, I was a Salvation Army, half Muslim, raised by a Jew. I was saved by The Samaritans. I nearly died a few times, and found Respect and Dignity, Honor, and Confidence in Myself through trauma/crisis not out-of-body, but knowing my mind. I thank Charlotte for her influence, among others:) Kindest Regards ~Gary Leach

It sounds like quite a journey Gary. I am very pleased you enjoyed the programme, I feel very blessed to be able to take part. Very best wishes,

Charlotte

Hallo Charlotte, Thank you for taking the time to reply, I am most grateful.. I more than enjoyed the show, It's life changing and inspirational for me. I would ask "where are my shoes, mom?" "Seek and ye shall find!" She would reply. You're welcome. My very best Wishes and kindest regards Gary Leach Matthew 7:7 ".`*~Every blessing ignored becomes a curse~*`." Paulo Coelho

Hi Cheryl, thank you for sharing and very best wishes for your continued recovery.

Charlotte

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