WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
With an estimated, 50,000 hours of my life spent on checking stoves & completing tasks in 3’s while spinning in circles and going ‘arghhh’ and ‘eeeehhh’, involuntarily. I, Damon Smith, along with my very anxious cohort, Adam Coad, will take our audience on a journey through an obsessive and compulsive mind with hilarious onstage buffoonery & songs pertaining to anxiety and depression.
Along with 1.9% of the Australian adult population, I suffer from 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder', which has been classified by the World Health Organisation as one of the top 10, most disabling diseases, with respect to loss of income and quality of life.
A person with OCD is troubled by recurring unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses, as well as obsessions and repetitive rituals, and as much as they are usually aware that their symptoms are irrational and excessive, they find the obsessions uncontrollable and the compulsions impossible to resist.
Widely misunderstood and easily a key driving factor in my pursuit to create awareness regarding its debilitating effects, OCD has become a phrase, bandied about by people everywhere to explain their organisational habits. "I'm so OCD when it comes to my cutlery drawer" or "My Sister definitely has OCD, all her books and DVD's are lined up in alphabetical order." My response, with respect to such a remark, is, "No, it sounds like you are just super organised and that's a great thing, all things considered". As a sufferer of OCD, if you're arranging the cutlery drawer a certain way, you'll be doing so because of recurring intrusive thoughts. Perhaps the thought is that your Sister may have a car crash if you don't arrange the drawer!? And while most OCD suffers don't really believe that their sister will have a car crash unless they arrange some spoons and forks a certain way, they act on the compulsion anyhow because when, or if, they are able to suppress a compulsion as described, another one pops up in its place within seconds and the more we deny the compulsions the harder they come back and the more vivid the repercussion (intrusive thoughts) of not acting on the compulsion is...It's exhausting! Does that make sense!?
So in a nutshell, a lot of people are uninformed when it comes to OCD and what it actually is!
My incessant compulsion to perform rituals in order to tame the thoughts takes it's a toll on my personal life, my relationships and my work...not to mention the time and energy wasted as a consequence of this behaviour.
I experience it during every waking moment and as far as the compulsions go, there are mild days, some full-on days and somewhere I hardly notice it. Most days are about 3 and a half out of 5, 5 being the most extreme.
My days, weeks and years have been, and will probably continue to be, full of tapping things, touching, counting, physically spinning in circles, erratic head and hand movements and low and high pitch moans and groans, to mention but a few and I should note that the last two examples are closer to symptoms of another misunderstood disorder, 'Tourettes Syndrome' (the jerking movements and vocals outbursts are called motor and vocal tics).
OK, SO WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH A CABARET SHOW?
I have always been open about my experience with the anxiety spectrum and while this transparency may not be everyone's approach, (and) or resonate with everyone I talk to, are you still reading? I am serious about creating awareness when it comes to misunderstood disorders, such as 'OCD' and 'Tourettes Syndrome', and having experienced symptoms from both on a daily basis for as long as I remember AND, being a writer/performer, It felt like creating a show that encompasses everything I've experienced was the next obvious step to help create awareness.
So, with the creation and writing of MENTAL AS EVERYTHING, along with writing contributions from my very talented cohort, Adam Coad, we hope we have successfully employed the right balance of comedy, respect and nuttiness that will leave its audience moved, entertained and most importantly, informed.
“This show is a healing journey for the performers on stage and for those seated in the audience; an important work for our times. ”
“With its wonderful balance of music, truth, and a message to share, Mental as Everything is simply necessary viewing.”
— Tulpa Magazine
“Mental As Everything is fun, powerful and totally immersive. Don’t miss it.”
— Stage Whispers