Speaking on the Grounded With Louis Theroux podcast this week, Ruby wax opened up about how career rivalry affected her mental health.
How much does a bit of rivalry and competition at work really affect us?
Never one to shy away from sharing the reality of anxiety and depression, Wax discussed how she used to compare her documentary making career with Theroux’s.
And her words made for an uncomfortable but very important listen.
Theroux asked Wax about a comment she’d once made about him on another podcast, saying his name made her want to “vomit”.
Wax explained that, although it was meant as a joke, there was probably some truth behind what she said because she “projected” a lot onto him when comparing their careers.
“It’s not you Louis, I’m projecting a lot on you,” she said. “Remember, behind these facades, there are just two human beings.”
You may also like
Is it healthy to obsess over a nemesis? Stylist investigates
She explained: “You get in a role [where] you think ‘I’m invincible, everybody loves me, I have all these viewers’. And then one day after I did my best show, which was that race to Russia and back… after that my career stopped, nobody would talk to me again, then all that kept going on was Louis Theroux.
“Now it pinches my heart a little bit because I was cut off from the lifeline which was narcissism and my ego and it was all my identity that I had. I had so much aggression and turbo in my 20s that nobody could stop me. I didn’t even have talent when I started, but I was so determined… I have this drive to beat everybody because I always think people are out to get me, betrayal is a big theme in me and failure.”
Wax added: “I then started to get depression, not because of you Louis, I got it anyway. I had depression before I even knew your name, but I have episodes of it.
“The last time I saw you, if this isn’t a trigger, I gave you, not one but two Baftas. I stood on that stage, and had to say ‘and the best show on television is Louis Theroux’, that didn’t give me the depression, but I had to do it again.”
Wax said she knows Theroux is a “great person” but she gets frustrated at how people still compare her to him: “The name kept coming up over and over again, that it wasn’t even your name anymore.
“If I get in a taxi, it happens maybe more than once a week. They will say to me, ‘Did you use to do what Louis Theroux did?’ Or they say, ‘What happened to you?’”
While it’s important to try not to compare ourselves too much and to seek help if our mental health is suffering as a result of comparison culture, Wax’s honest words provide some reassurance that we all go through it.
Top image: Getty
Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…