FIONA O'Loughlin expects to spend 20 minutes after her Bendigo show listening to women share their experience.
It's happened at each performance of the comedian's latest stand up show Unreliable Witness, in which - while they don't sound like funny topics - she runs through her experiences of alcoholism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The Bendigo show won't be stand up, but a Writers Festival event exploring O'Loughlin's new memoir, Truths from an Unreliable Witness.
The work, and the show, recount O'Loughlin's escape from what she calls jail.
But O'Loughlin said, it was a jail of her own creation.
Speaking to the Advertiser, O'Loughlin said hers was a common story. She's just a member of the one in 10 Australians who get to the point where mental illness - in her case alcoholism - stops them going on with life.
O'Loughlin said her lowest point was living at home with her parents, aged 52 years old. She joked that sitting in the backseat of their car was grim enough at 15, let alone middle age.
Her Bendigo event will chart her journey upwards.
O'Loughlin said her openness was in part an effort to reduce the stigma and shame attached to addiction.
"People seem to get bogged down in the behaviours of the alcoholic, well yeah: we're drunk, that's a symptom, and it's not who we are," O'Loughlin said.
"It's all symptoms until you find your way out. And [the show] is describing how I found my way out, and what it took to get out of prison.
"It's a jail sentence addiction, a complete sentence, you're trapped. And my best thinking got me there, and then I had to get out."
Alcoholism may be a common experience, but it's not what women approach O'Loughlin about after her shows.
The comedian was diagnosed with ADHD after her memoir's publication, an experience that has made it into her stand up.
For O'Loughlin, the diagnosis was like a light going on. She said it put her years of alcoholism into a different frame.
And it was perfect timing, O'Loughlin joked. Coming after the publication of Unreliable Witness, it meant she could write another memoir.
But since O'Loughlin started talking about it, she's realised just how many women were like her.
"That struggle of my era, and we raise our families and then we fall apart, that's what I've been noticing," O'Loughlin said.
"It's an extraordinary diagnosis. The later it happens, in a way the worse it is, but in a way the better it is. It absolves you.
"Now I look at it and go 'God, no wonder I drank, I couldn't make sense of anything' ... I felt like a third of my mind I was unable to access it."
Normally two or three women wait after the show to speak about the same experience. Often they're very emotional, O'Loughlin said.
She recalled one even said "It felt like you were talking about me, you were talking about my life".
Fiona O'Loughlin will join host Kath Bolitho at the Bendigo Writers Festival on May 9, at 7pm. More information is available at: bit.ly/2SmfkvX.
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