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No Such Thing As Normal — with Bryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon

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One in four experience mental health issues every year and, in these strange and unsettling times, more of us than ever are struggling to cope. For journalist and mental health advocate Bryony Gordon, mental illness has been part of her life for decades — having struggled with OCD, depression, anxiety, and addiction. And while it led to some of her worst times… along her path to wellness, she realized that it also led to some of her most brilliant.

Speaking candidly about her journey, she will offer a fresh perspective to help you vastly improve your mental well-being and determine when it’s time to meditate, medicate or seek counseling. Whether you’re feeling a little worried, anxious or blah, or coping with a more serious mental health challenge, you will leave feeling stronger and a little less alone.

Bryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon is an award-winning journalist, author and mental health campaigner. She is the writer of five Sunday Times best-selling books, including No Such Thing As Normal, Mad Girl and Glorious Rock Bottom. Her podcast, Mad World, has featured guests including Prince Harry, Mel B, and Nadiya Hussain. In 2016, she founded Mental Health Mates, a peer support group that is now established across the country. She lives in south London, with her husband and daughter. @bryonygordon

Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee is a communication and human nature expert, and an award-winning journalist. She is a professional speaker, and also the author of Speaking of Race: Why Everybody Needs to Talk About Racism—and How to Do It, Do Nothing, Heard Mentality, and We Need to Talk. In her twenty-year career in public radio, she has been the executive producer of On Second Thought at Georgia Public Radio, and anchored programs including Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She also served as cohost of the national morning news show The Takeaway from PRI and WNYC, and anchored presidential coverage in 2012 for PBS World Channel. Headlee’s TEDx talk sharing ten ways to have a better conversation has over twenty million total views to date. @CelesteHeadlee

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Transcript of Bryony Gordon’s Talk on Women Amplified

Bryony Gordon:

I want to talk to you a bit about my journey and how by talking about my mental illness, I now know quite a lot about mental wellness. So my story is I grew up in London, had loving home, but when I was about nine or 10, I started to feel incredibly anxious, to the point I had to start saying phrases and things to keep my family alive. I was scared of germs, I was scared I might have an infectious illness that I might give to my family. So I used to lock myself in my room, hide my toothbrush under my pillow, and my life became quite small. And I was only, yeah, as I say, I was only nine, I was terrified that if I said a phrase wrong, my family might die. I now realize, I now know that I had obsessive compulsive disorder, but at the time, I didn’t know that.

            Now obsessive compulsive disorder, I’m going to just talk about this for a little bit, because we hear so often people say I’m a little bit OCD. You’ve heard that. Okay. You may have even said it and no judgment if you have, this is just part of our vernacular, but you can’t be a little bit OCD. Okay. OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder, and the key really is in the word disorder because it destroys people lives. And in fact, the World Health Organization at one stage named it, I think, as one of the one of the top 10 most debilitating illnesses to have, and that has certainly been my experience of it. So the way I describe OCD is that it’s your brain refusing to acknowledge what your eye can see, be that your hands are clean or that the candle is off or that the oven is off, that the door is locked, that your hair straighteners aren’t plugged in.

            So these are all little things that can completely begin to destroy people’s lives, because even though they can see, I can see now, you can’t see, there’s a candle down there. And by the way, it is amazing that I have candles in my house, let me tell you. But even though I can see that it’s off, my brain would tell me, but what if it isn’t? What if it isn’t off? And this is OCD. And people always used to talk to me, they used to say, I’m really OCD, you should see my sock drawer. And I’d be like, it’s always the sock drawer. And you can’t see my sock drawer, I don’t have a sock drawer. My husband once said to me, “Bryony, I wish you had the good type of OCD,” meaning the cleanliness bit, but there is no good type of OCD I said to him, but you get the picture.

            So my type of OCD that I had, I did have all that hand washing, I do have that checking that the door is locked, the oven is off, the candles are off, the hair straighteners are off, but the type of OCD that it really got me, that really, really destroyed me was a type of OCD called pure O. Now, I want you to bear in mind, I’m telling you all this now from a position as a 41 year old mom who has got some knowledge of it, but going way back to when I was 10, 11, 12, I didn’t know what I had, I just thought I was bad. I thought I was a bad person, because that is what the type of OCD I had told me.

            So I had a type of OCD called pure O and pure O is to do with thoughts. So the brain refuses to believe, or the brain believes the thoughts that come into our head. So I describe it as we all have, I think it’s anything between 6,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day, which sounds like a huge ream there, but that’s what studies have shown. So we all have a lot of thoughts today, every day. We are not all of our thoughts, if we were, we would go completely mad. And we’ve all had the thought of you’re at a party, you’re at a christening, someone hands you their baby, and you think, what if I just threw this baby on the floor? Or I don’t know, maybe you’re on the subway or as we call it in London, the tube, and you think, what if I just push someone in front of the tube? Now, I hope you have had those intrusive thoughts, because I most certainly have.

            Now most of us, we dismiss the intrusive thought. We know that they are just the randomness of our brain and that we are not going to throw the baby on the floor, and we are not going to push anyone under the subway train. But someone with pure O is really, really distressed by the thought, to the point that they ruminate on the thoughts to make sure they’re not their thoughts. So I had a type of OCD that basically made me think I was a serial killing pedophile, which I can also just tell you, it’s astonishing that I can say those words now, because another thing about OCD is I had to neutralize those words if I saw them in the newspaper, I heard them on the news. So I, from a very young age, became tormented, I thought that maybe I had committed a hideous crime and blanked it out in horror on my way back from school.

            And I need to tell you now, I am absolutely not a serial killing pedophile, I really am not, but what OCD does, and this may sound quite intense to be talking about, and I remember when I first started writing about this and I went to my publisher and I showed them my chapter breakdown. And one of the things I said, wanted to write about was these terrible thoughts and how I thought I was a serial killing pedophile. And the publishers said we can’t publish that, we can’t have a chapter about that. And I said, well, then I can’t write this book because this is really common, but as you can imagine, it’s not something we talk about at dinner parties. It’s not a type of OCD, it’s not your sock drawer, it’s not being organized. It’s not, what’s her name in Friends, Monica in Friends. That’s a really old cultural reference by the way.

            So it’s really dark and it’s really distressing, and let me tell you, it completely destroys lives. And for a long time, it destroyed mine. Now you may be sitting there thinking this woman doesn’t look like a … this doesn’t seem to all match up. And of course, when I was growing up, so this was the ’90s, mental illness was very much, it was someone rocking back and forth in a padded cell, it was One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. We didn’t talk about mental health. So what I have learned since then is that all mental illnesses are incredibly treatable if you catch them early. So we know that something like 40% of people who will experience mental illness in their life, that the symptoms of that mental illness will have manifested by the time they’re 14.

            This is why it’s so important to talk about mental illness, because if one … so mental illnesses are incredibly treatable, just as physical illnesses are, so if one of us was diagnosed with diabetes type two today, and we went and we took the medicine, we did exercise, we changed our diet, we did all the things that were recommended to us, we’d probably live reasonably long and healthy lives. We may even manage to reverse the diabetes. However, if we don’t, if we carry on sitting on the sofa, if we eat lots of sugar, if we don’t do exercise, if we don’t take our medicine, what’s going to happen is we’re going to end up with perhaps our toes being amputated, our feet being amputated. I mean, and it’s the same thing with mental illness, if you don’t treat a mental illness, it will snowball and you’ll become like a magnet picking up metal shavings. And so it was with me.

            So I’m an 11 year old, a 12 year old, a 13 year old, who sometimes can’t leave the house, and nobody’s talking about this stuff, no one knows what it is. My parents just think I’m a strange child, which perhaps thinking about it, I am. But I somehow managed to muddle through. And this is true, I think, for a lot of us, a lot of us somehow manage to muddle through and we spend the whole time thinking, does anyone else feel like this, am I a complete screw up? But what happened to me, and I think this is incredibly common, is that one mental illness led to another. So I found it incredibly stressful going around worrying that maybe I was a serial killing pedophile the whole time. My hair fell out when I was 18, completely fell out.

            I then quite quickly after that developed bulimia, which I now see was a way to control my appearance outwardly, but also my life, I didn’t seem to be able to control anything. And then when I was about 19, 20, I discovered what I thought was the cure for the way I felt, and that was alcohol and drugs. Now, let me tell you, alcohol and drugs are not the answer to mental health issues. I’ve done all the research, so you don’t have to. But it was a lot of pain, and I had no other coping mechanism for what was going on in my head. I had no treatment, I had no one to talk to, I thought I was a freak and alcohol and drugs relieved that for a bit.

            And somehow magically, and I don’t know how this managed to happen, I don’t really know how I’m managing to sit on this sofa now and talk to you, it is a total miracle that I am here still alive, and that I have the privilege of talking to you at the Massachusetts conference for women because it really is a privilege. But somehow I muddled through the next couple of decades of my life, I got a job, I was even actually quite successful. And this is the other thing they don’t tell you about mental illness, that often people that are suffering from it, they’re right there in the room with you and they appear to be doing really well. And I was a perfectionist and I somehow held it together, and then I didn’t. I somehow held it together through, I managed to get married, had a baby.

            I thought that getting married and having a baby, would do for me what a course of therapy, treatment, rehab would do for everyone else. It never occurred to me that my problems were going to continue after I had my daughter, but they did it. And in fact, my OCD got worse, and as you can imagine, it attached itself to my daughter. And when she was about 18 months old, I started to become worried. I have to stop for a bit to talk about it, because it feels like a different me, it feels like a different person, and yet, it was so real. I mean, it happened, of course it was real. But I started to worry that I’d hurt my child and that maybe I’d blanked it out. But if I wasn’t worrying about whether I’d hurt my child, I was lying next to her on the floor to make sure she was still breathing.

            And there came a point where I realized this is now not just completely dominating my life, it has the potential to dominate my daughter’s life and my husband’s life, and I knew I had to do something about it. As I said, I had a career and I was quite successful. I was a journalist at a national newspaper in the UK, and I had a column in that newspaper. And I was in a terrible, terrible, terrible way and one day I decided, and it was really out of desperation, that I was going to write about this form of OCD that I had. I was going to put it down on paper because if I did that and the police didn’t come and get me, I would know that it was an illness, I’d know it was an illness. And I’d hear all the time people say that they had OCD or I’d read about it, that this was a thing, but I’d never met someone who had actually admitted to having OCD.

            And really what I wanted to do with this was say, if you have this too, please come, please come and tell me, because I need to know I’m not mad or that I am mad and that it’s okay, but then I’m not bad. And thankfully, my editors allowed this piece to run, and I’m so grateful that they did because it changed the course of my life. It completely changed the course of my life. Hundreds and hundreds of people replied, responded to it. They would send me messages on social media or they’d email, they even sent me cards. And what they were all saying was me too, if not OCD, then some other form of mental illness. And what I realized then was that it is the most normal thing in the world to feel weird. And this sent me down, it sent my career down a very different path of mental health campaigning. Now this was seven years ago, so some people were talking about mental illness, but not as many. And I started writing books about what I’d gone through, and I set up something called Mental Health Mates.

            Mental Health Mates is in the UK and it’s a group, it’s a peer support group that’s all over the country, which again, I set it up because I wanted to meet, I wanted a place where I could meet people like me, where I could walk and talk with them without fear of judgment. I very quickly got into, I signed up to do the London Marathon, I was asked to do it, this was 2017 and the official charity of the London Marathon was something called Heads Together, which was run by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex or Prince Harry, as we then knew him. And because of my writing about mental health, they invited me to the launch, and then they suggested that maybe I do the marathon. So I agreed to do the marathon, and I launched a podcast at the time, talking about mental health and my first guest was Prince Harry.

            I don’t know if any of you remember back in 2017, when he first spoke about his mental health, that was with me, not on this sofa, but on a sofa in Kensington Palace. And that was a really special moment because I was sitting there thinking I’m a screw up, I’m a screw up, and Prince Harry wants to talk to me because of that. That was why he wanted to talk to me. And it was a really important moment, it was a really important in the UK. We have this stiff upper lip thing and it really blew through that. And my life has changed so much, I ran a marathon, then I ran another marathon in my underwear, to show that women of all shapes and sizes can do exercise. Exercise is really important to me.

            I’m sorry to say that one of the best ways to look after your mental health is to exercise. I tried to find a different way with alcohol and drugs, doesn’t work. The experts are right, exercise is great, so I like to bring that home. And shortly after I ran the London Marathon in my underwear, we had a race with a thousand women running through London, also in their underwear, of all shapes and sizes and body experiences. So my life has got better, I also got sober. I forgot about getting sober, that was a key bit. I got sober because they wrote about my OCD, and I realized that my alcohol was a really, really bad coping mechanism. All of this stemmed from that one thing, which was coming out of the mental health closet, I suppose.

            And I have been so privileged, I am now, here we are sitting here on a sofa and I’m nearly four and a half years sober, which is fantastic. I have written six books on mental health, but the point is I’m here, and my life is amazing because in a way that I could never have imagined it. And I wanted to just talk you a bit about some of the key things that I do to keep me well, I guess, because I have been very, very unwell. And luckily, nowadays, I still get those moments where life feels horrible and life feels hard, but I know that’s okay now. But in fact, that’s the first point that I wanted to make, my first bit of advice is to say that what you’re going through right now, if you’re going through something really dark, that thing that you perceive as your flaw and your failure, might just turn out to be your superpower.

            And I say this because last year when the pandemic hit, what was really interesting was that, I’ve been [inaudible 00:25:12] like most people, and I’m sure that you will, if you’re watching this and you’ve experienced a mental health issue, this might resonate with you. So we all had to go into lockdowns and people freaked out, in the UK, people freaked out. They were stockpiling toilet roll, hand sanitizer, it was pandemonium. And that’s okay, that’s fear, that’s a very human response. But what was really interesting to me, having planned for the end of the world essentially since I was about nine, every day felt like the world was going to end, when I was experiencing active mental illness. And what was interesting to me was that when the world, as we know it actually did start to end, I was really okay with it. I was fine.

            I knew I had no control over what was going to happen. All I had to do was get up, be of service to my family and to my neighbors and the people around me, and keep my packer up, and that was astonishing. And then what was even more astonishing was people were coming to me and asking me for advice. And that’s where the idea for my most recent book, No Such Thing as Normal came from, because it occurred to me that this thing, these things that I had thought of as flaws and failures, were actually like superpowers. So that’s where I come around to say to you that all of my friends who had experienced mental health crises, they’re really good in a crisis now, as I saw during the pandemic, whereas the people that hadn’t experienced extreme mental illness, freaked out and that’s an interesting thing.

            So we think we’re weak, but actually we’re much stronger than we think. And so I just want you to muse on that because often when we’re in a mental health crisis, we will do anything to swap it for something else, for that elusive contentment and happiness. But actually, and I know this probably won’t give you that much consolation now, but just hang onto it if you can, we just don’t know what this stuff is preparing. And I mean, I can’t give back, I can’t undo what I’ve experienced, it was awful, I have at times been suicidal, but I get to sit here and talk to you now and meet the most incredible people. And there are bits of me that are undeniably positive and they’re there because of the horrible things I’ve been through. I don’t know if that makes sense.

            So that would be my first bit of advice. I also wanted to talk to you a bit about the nature of mental illnesses, because I think this is particularly pertinent in the situation the whole world has been going through in the last 18 months and who knows how much longer we will be going through it. But we have all been, for a long time, isolating, for our safety, and that isn’t always good for us. So the thing I always say about all mental illnesses, so I’m talking from anxiety to depression, to eating disorders, to psychosis and beyond, all mental illnesses work in a very similar way, which is by isolating you. They tell you’re a freak, they tell you that you’re alone, and they tell you that nobody is going to understand what you’re going through. And that is just not true.

            Not only does someone understand what you’re going through, but there’s someone going through what you’re going through right now. Okay. But I need you to think, when I talk to people about how to … people want an immediate cure for a mental health crisis, of course they do, because nobody wants to feel like that. Okay. But I don’t have an immediate cure for a mental health crisis, but the most important thing is not to isolate if you can. When you’re isolating, that is your mental illness trying to stretch out its legs and get comfortable. And so often there are times when we can’t avoid that feeling of we don’t want to leave the house, we don’t want to leave our bedroom. Forget about leaving the house, there have been days when I can’t even leave my bed. I am lying in my sweat and my self loathing. But as much as you can do the thing you think you can’t. Okay.

            So what I mean by that is I have got to the point where I now realize that my brain was wired wrong. You know when you see in those movies and the person’s got to diffuse the bomb and they’ve got to change the red wire to the blue wire and the green wire and da, da, da, my brain is basically a bomb that was wired wrong. So if I want to do something, I probably shouldn’t do it. Okay. So I’m talking, take drugs, drink loads of alcohol, stay in bed, whatever. If I want to do something, I probably shouldn’t do it. And on the flip side, if I don’t want to do something, I probably should do it. Okay. Go out for a run, get out of bed, go meet that person. I’m not going to lie, I spent all day today feeling incredibly anxious about this record and thinking, how can I get out of it? How can I get out of it? How can I get out of it?

            Because that’s my brain all the time, and I go shut up brain, I’m not getting out of it, I’m doing it. Okay. I’m doing it. And I’m going to show you who’s boss. Okay. And whose boss is me, it’s not my goblin king. I call my mental illnesses, Jareth the goblin king, after the David Bowie character in Labyrinth. Some of you might be too young to remember that. But anyway, because he was evil and very ever so slightly enticing, and that, to me, sums up my OCD and my alcoholism. But anyway, I digress, I digress a lot, that’s my brain. So I want to tell Jareth who’s boss and it’s me, it’s not him, but every time I don’t want to do something, something I’m supposed to do, I know that’s, Jareth, that’s Jareth.

            And there’s a very thin line between Jareth telling me not to do something and me lying in my bed in absolute fear that I may have done something terrible and blanked it out in horror and unable to move. So that’s my first thing, do the thing you think you can’t. It’s not my first thing, that was my second thing, wasn’t it? Do the thing you think you can’t. If you don’t want to go and see someone, if you don’t want to go and do something, go and do it, just go and do it, that’s the most important thing. When you don’t want to do something, especially when you don’t want to do something, do it because you’re going to feel so much better afterwards. That’s the other thing I was going to say, it’s really boring, but I have to say, people come to me and they ask about mindfulness and meditation and all of these things that we hear about so much and they are great.

            But they’re not a starting point for if you’re in a mental health crisis. Okay. Asking someone in a mental health crisis to meditate is like asking someone in an iron suit to go for a swim. Okay. It’s not helpful, and it may even be dangerous because if you can’t do it, then you feel like more of a failure. So I always say, leave the mindfulness and the meditation until you’ve got a bit of foundation and a bit of basic health behind you, mental health behind you, focus on the basics. Okay. And the basics are this, don’t eat rubbish, eat well, as well as you can, don’t drink alcohol, please don’t drink alcohol, if you can. It’s a tough one. I say this as an alcoholic, but alcohol is a depressant that masquerades as a relaxant, and it’s an Oscar winning actor.

            And what it gives you today in joy or happiness or relief, you’ll just have to pay it back tomorrow, if that makes sense, and you’re in debt. And I don’t like being in debt to anyone, least of all myself. So it borrows, it literally borrows serotonin, and then you’re left with this deficit the next day. So try and avoid alcohol if you can. Sleep is so important. And I know a lot of this is like, yeah, but when I’m low, I can’t sleep, but just try and rest, just look after yourself. And then the most important thing for me has been exercise, and that might surprise you because I don’t sit here looking like an elite athlete, but for me, exercise was always a form of punishment.

            When I was a little girl, when I was a teenager in my 20s, it was all about losing weight, it was about being a certain size. When I started doing exercise for the gains and not the losses, it completely transformed my relationship with it. And by the gains, I mean, the clarity of thought, the time to myself, the endorphins it gave me, I don’t have to be the fastest or the strongest, I just have to get out and do it. It’s like, we don’t tell people that to cook, they need to have a Michelin star, and it’s the same with exercise, you don’t need to be good at exercise to do it, you just need to do it. And the other thing I would say to you is nobody ever wants to go for a run or swim or whatever your exercise is. Nobody he wants to do it.

            That was the mistake I made. I thought when I saw someone out on the street running, I thought they wake up in the morning and they want to go for a run immediately, they want to do it, but they don’t. They really don’t. Nobody wants to go for a run, but nobody regrets going for one. Okay. And that’s another thing to hang on to. Exercise has completely transform the life, I’ve done two marathons, I’ve done a triathlon, I swim every day in an ice cold pool in South London, which is not glamorous, let me tell you, but it’s really, really helped me. The other thing that exercise does is it helps you to connect with the world and just remind you that it’s still spinning, because when we’re in our own heads, in our own rooms, everything can start to feel really big, our problems can start to feel really big.

            And just that little act of going outside and seeing that the world is still going and it’s okay, it’s not going to cure you, but it really helps. Connection is something else I have to say, it’s so important. When I went to rehab, they taught us something, which was that connection is the opposite of addiction. And this really goes back to the isolation thing, connect with people, even when you don’t want to, especially when you don’t want to. When you see that call coming in, pick it up. When you don’t want to go and meet someone for a coffee and you spend all day trying to work out how to get out of the coffee because you’re feeling anxious and you just want to stay inside, that’s when you need to go for the coffee.

            Connection’s really important, and of course we haven’t had enough of it in the last 18 months. The more you can get of it, the better. I am so excited the whole time now, to be going on public transport and seeing people out and about, going into offices and it’s genuinely transformed my mental health. I got very depressed, in the UK, we had three lockdowns and the third one was really bad. And it was purely a circumstantial thing, that I hadn’t seen people, I had been isolated in my house. Obviously I’d seen my daughter and my husband, and we’ve been homeschooling, but I’d gone into myself. I wasn’t connecting with people in the way I used to, I was connecting with them on Zoom, or I was on WhatsApp, but that isn’t the same thing. Do you know what I mean?

            Nothing makes up for actually looking someone in the eye and feeling their heartbeat near you, that’s the magic. So please try and do as much connecting as possible. The other thing is, I’m going to go back to thoughts quickly, because we often believe all of our thoughts. Some people, if you’re like me, everything that pops into your head must be true. I’m a fat, useless human being. Of course you are Bryony, do you know what I mean? I am a piece of, what’s the word, I’m a piece of poop the world revolves around. Of course you are Bryony. But that’s not true, I’m just not, no one’s really thinking about me. Do you know what I mean? You might be thinking about me now because I’m here talking to you, but you’re going to go home and your life will go on and you’ll be in your own world.

            Thoughts are, they are just that, they’re not necessarily true. And what I have learned, one of the most valuable things I’ve learned in my recovery is instead of believing the thoughts, is to look for what’s underneath them. So by that I mean, if I start thinking that I’m useless and everyone hates me and I’m the ugliest person alive, step back for a moment and go, is that really true, or is there something else going on right now, Bryony? Did you get a good night sleep last night, have you got a lot of work on, are you stressed? Did you grow up in a family where appearance was really important and they didn’t teach you the value of character and soul? Just step back a bit and question it, because it’s usually not true and you are amazing, and that’s the one I want to finish on, really.

            I want you to know what a miracle you are. Okay. The chances of any of us existing is like one in three million to the power of 10 billion, it’s tiny. There are more chances of dinosaurs roaming the earth again. I’m trying to think of like a modern one that’s not too British. So I’m going to give you a bit of a biology lesson, you may already know this, but I really think it’s important to drill down how incredible it is that we are all here. So if our biological parents had come together, I’m trying to say these things without saying them, but if you know what I mean, if they had been interrupted while they were doing that thing, if the doorbell had gone or your biological father had said something really annoying to your biological mother and she’d gone, stop. If there was 15 seconds difference between the moment, you could be a whole different person.

            So let me just talk you through this quickly. So during conception, a man releases millions of sperm into a woman’s body. Okay. And you may be thinking, where is she going with this, but just bear with me. Okay. And because women are amazing, we don’t want any old sperm, our bodies start to release acids to kill the weak sperm. Okay. The sperm then have to go on like an uphill iron man journey, they then have to also pass through mucus membranes that are like me trying to punch through a wall to get to you. Okay. And so lots of them die, they just aren’t tough enough for it, they’re exhausted. So think of all those versions of you, gone. Okay.

            Now also we know, let’s bear in mind that for only one day of each calendar month, there is an egg in each fallopian tube. Okay. So the sperm are going there, but will there be an egg there? They get to the thing, they go left, they go right. Half of these versions of you, gone, because they go to the wrong tube, if there is an egg in it. And then the ones, say there is an egg, the ones that make it to the egg, they get there and the egg is surrounded by white blood cells, like nightclub bouncers saying you ain’t coming in.

            So that one sperm that fertilized that egg that became you, think of all the other possibilities, it really is miraculous. And then once it’s fertilized, it then, as we know, has to be carried inside your biological mother’s body for nine months. And as we know, that doesn’t always work out, miscarriage, stillbirth, there’s all sorts of terrible tragedies that occur. Then you have to be born, which as many doctors say, is the most dangerous day of your life, the day you were born. And then every day up until now, you have had to stay alive until you’re sitting there watching this strange British woman wittering on about biology. You are an absolute miracle, the universe wants you there exactly as you are. The universe does not want you to look like Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Aniston or Rachel Weisz, I’m just pulling names out of the air now. The universe wants you to be you, you are a miracle, and you need to here and you need to be here, happy, sad, angry, whatever it is.

            That’s the other thing, happiness is making, the quest for happiness makes us profoundly unhappy. You are okay as you are, you really are. I mean, you’re more than okay, you’re amazing.

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