Ruby Wax has written candidly about her most recent episode of depression, describing it as "nothing, empty space".
"I remember why depression is so awful now that I'm back in that land; there is no specific sharp, jabbing or throbbing pain, there is no feeling," she wrote in a blog post for the Huffington Post.
The comedienne has always been open about her mental health problems, addressing them in her one-woman shows and her book Sane New World.
But she said that her current experience has caused her to lose sight of who she was before: "There is nothing, empty space, whoever you were who lived in your skin has left the building, vanished."
She added: "This new me can't read, isn't funny, can't really speak, get up or take a walk."
Wax said that, having suffered from depression in the past, she is not afraid and knows there is nothing she can do to speed up her recovery – but she said she still feels fearful because "my chemicals are in full emergency mode" and "mental bomb[s] drop with a message of self loathing".
She described the immense effort it takes just to live out each day without knowing when she will begin to feel better. "It's exactly what it says on the bottle, it's poison, terrifying and a complete mummification in nothingness," she wrote.
Quotes on depression
Quotes on depression
1/14 Alistair Campbell
Alistair Campbell: "One day, we will look back and wonder how on earth we used to believe that depression was a lifestyle choice, only to be debated and taken seriously when an A List film star took his life, and the world filled with people saying how shocked and saddened they were. "
2/14 On living with depression
Stephen Fry: "Depression is as real as the weather…it’s all about a kind of mental umbrella. 'Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.'"
3/14 On living with depression
Ernest Hemingway: "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." (He also said "happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know")
4/14 On living with depression
Jonathan Davis: "A lot of people don't realize that depression is an illness. I don't wish it on anyone, but if they would know how it feels, I swear they would think twice before they just shrug it."
5/14 On passing judgement on depression
Geoffrey Boycott: "Until you've had depression I don't think you're qualified to talk about it."
6/14 Jack Dee
Jack Dee: "I have had issues with depression all my life, and it's probably true to say there was a tendency towards it even when I was very young, during my schooldays. There was often - and this is quite common with comics - a sense of not feeling as if I belonged anywhere."
7/14 On living with depression
Jason Manford: "The world needs you even if you don't think it does. I promise, we need you here, now."
8/14 Author Jeanette Winterson
Art saved me; it got me through my depression and self-loathing, back to a place of innocence.
9/14 On life and depression
Agatha Christie: "I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know that just to be alive is a grand thing."
10/14 On living with depression
Albert Camus: "In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
11/14 On dealing with low mood
Dolly Parton "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
12/14 If you're feeling depressed right now..
Annabel Giles: "If you’re depressed right now, then let's remember that we only have to do today, that's all. Nothing more. We can do just a day, can't we? And don’t forget, we haven't always been like this. The good days will come back. We've just go to do as much as we can, when we can."
13/14 Helen Keller on looking for the positive
Helen Keller: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
14/14 On it happening to all of us
Mariella Frostrup: "Only those with skin as thick as elephant hide can hope to sail through their teens unscathed by self-doubt and bouts of depression."
But Wax added that writing is a way of dealing with her illness by helping her to remember how it feels, as well as a way to connect with other sufferers.
"I feel I'm on a sinking ship and this writing is an SOS signal."
Her words were met with a deluge of support on social media. On Twitter one user wrote: "This resonates with me so much."
Anther user described the piece as "awful and 100 per cent accurate", while another user tweeted: "Ruby Wax's words on her current depression are heartfelt, honest, tragic and great."
Writing on her own personal blog earlier this month, Wax said her current depression had come on following her departure from America. She said she practises mindfulness, which encourage individuals to live in the present moment, as a means of coping but added it was not a cure.
"With the mindfulness practice I can say, 'There is depression' rather than 'I'm depressed.' It's the little things that count. I'm trying to ride the wave rather than go under."Reuse content