by Susanna Freymark
MUSICIAN Geoff Bates joked that the saying "misery loves company” comes from a '70s TV show The Hillbillies.
With partner Kym Watling, Ted Hoddinott, Tamar Cohen from Ability Links, art curator Helen Gregory and chef Sheryl Graham, they are organising an evening of thoughtful music, food and art as a way to "share the darkness to lighten the load” as their flyer states.
They've called the event Misery Loves Company.
The phrase first appeared in the work of Sophocles and other ancient writers with the earliest recorded use in English in 1349.
English naturalist and botanist John Ray (1627-1705) was also credited with the quotation, in the 1600s. He was infamous for the phrase "blood is thicker than water.”
Shakespeare reused the words in a play and turned it into: The miserable have no other medicine. But only hope.
Hope and support will be offered on the Misery Love Company evening with headline act Watling and Bates.
Ms Watling said she was in a good space now at 55.
"I used to get anxiety in my chest and it moved up to my throat,” she said.
"My mind felt it had a whizzing shield around it and I couldn't communicate effectively.”
She was filled with self doubt and through her songs released her demons.
She will be playing the deep songs on the night and workers will be on hand if anyone needs to talk about their own mental health issues, she said.
"The deeper songs will be in the first set, and we'll bring the show home with brighter songs of hope and resolution,” she said.
"I have empathy and am still bewildered and feel powerless.”
She said her ukulele and the strength of her partnership with Mr Bates has cushioned her feelings.
Ms Graham suffered in her late 20s after major surgery brought on bouts of anxiety.
"I would wake and go into a panic,” she said. "Anxiety can impact anybody.”
A self help book by Clare Weeks gave Ms Graham strategies to deal with anxiety attacks.
The MLC evening includes guest speaker Rose Hogan from StandBy Response.
Misery Loves Company at Bentley Hall on Saturday, October 21, at 6pm. Free event with food. Bookings 0447329111.
Sponsors include: StandBy Response, Northern Rivers Suicide Prevention and Awareness Group, Kyogle CWA Evening Branch, Share the Journey, Richmond Valley Council, Northern Rivers Care Connections.