I (Tabby) have type 1 diabetes. I've suffered with anxiety since I was diagnosed in my teens (something to do with suddenly being in total control of my own mortality and living with a chronic illness), and my sister Chloe has bipolar type 2. We had never considered a career in comedy until it pulled us out of a rut.

The Sugarcoated Sisters

The Sugarcoated Sisters

It was a December evening. Chloe and I were sat on the sofa in our draughty Brighton flat, wrapped up in a duvet and numbly watching a particularly gruesome episode of The Walking Dead. The guts being ripped out of people's stomachs had zero impact on us, as it was nothing compared to the perpetual state of fear, anxiety and emptiness we were existing in. Two weeks ago, we had both been dumped (me, particularly harshly over text,) and our mental health was struggling.

As the episode reached its end, Chloe got her phone out and said 'I've downloaded TikTok - do you want to have a look?'. My exact reaction was 'No way, that app is for kids!', but she snuggled up to me and we watched a few videos. We swiped past quite a lot of 'trending' dances, but what surprised us both was the sheer amount of hilarious content at our disposal: comedy sketches, stand-up, music videos and musical comedy.

Between us, we have a lot of coping mechanisms (and Chloe takes medication to help keep her mood stable) to manage our mental health. But our favourites, like breath work, journaling, long walks on the beach etc. weren't working, so maybe it was time to try something else - something that has always been our natural way of dealing with rejection, humiliation and anguish - comedy.

We made a musical parody about our heartbreak and posted it online. We really thought nobody would see it, but the cathartic rush we felt once it had uploaded was undeniable. It made us cackle when we watched it back, partly because we thought the lyrics were hilarious and partly because of the absurd notion that somebody might ACTUALLY see it. When we woke up the next morning, it had gone viral. As it reached its millionth view, we couldn't believe that all these people related to what we were going through, so we decided to keep going. We felt validated, and the cloud of anxiety and depression started to lift a little. We've always made each other laugh by recounting tales of our past trauma and most profound character flaws, and there was something very liberating about sharing that with other people. We also found communities that suffer the same conditions as us, which helped us feel less alone.

As we've moved into the live comedy scene, new anxieties have presented themselves, as it feels more vulnerable to be in the room with people rather than the safety of being on the screen, but this is something we're learning to navigate. Comedy gave us a new way of connecting with people, and that human connection has helped our mental health, as well as giving us a new-found purpose.

Our debut show is on at the Edinburgh Fringe: 'Sugarcoated Sisters: Bittersweet' directed by Laura Corcoran (Frisky & Mannish) 20:50 Just The Tonic, The Caves 4-28 August (not 15/22)

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