Janey Godley fears she has PTSD after finding out she had cancer in the midst of ‘being cancelled’

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Janey Godley revealed that she fears she has PTSD after finding out she had cancer in the midst of public shaming over racist Twitter posts.

The comedian, loved by Nicola Sturgeon, said she spoke to Samaritans during the fallout from online posts made in 2011 - but then faced life-saving chemo after being diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer shortly after.

The race row erupted in September 2021, and on November 19 Godley went on stage knowing she had been diagnosed with cancer, before having surgery in January.

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She said the cancer treatment had taught her humility and she lives with the knowledge there is a 70 - 90 per cent chance of it returning - and thought she’d stopped eating due to stress.

Comedian Janey Godley. Picture: John DevlinComedian Janey Godley. Picture: John Devlin
Comedian Janey Godley. Picture: John Devlin

And she said she defended the right for people to say they hoped she died of cancer.

Godley, 61, said: “I went from being cancelled to cancer in six weeks - from trying to lose my life to fighting for my life.

“I’d been saying ‘I hope I die’. Now I was saying ‘f***, am I going to die? I want to live’. I still can’t step back and look at it all.

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“It’s like PTSD. It frightens me thinking about it. I didn’t realise that the reason I wasn’t eating wasn’t the cancellation but because I’d a massive tumour.

“By the end of the tour, I’d this huge swelling. It wasn’t just me being a fat b*****d. I went to the doctor, they tested my blood, and they could see it right there.”

She added: “The last year was harder than anything I’ve been through, though -harder than a child abuse trial - because so much was my fault.

“The Twitter thing was my fault. I know I hurt people. People had every right to be angry. You take Government money, you open yourself to scrutiny, quite rightly so.

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“I apologised immediately. It was wrong, I shouldn’t have written that. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’ve never been racist. I’ve marched for Black Lives Matter. I’ve marched against Trump and his racism.

“I’ve never been someone sneakily racist underneath but hiding it, so I apologised profusely but it was unforgiving.

“I literally became suicidal. It was really frightening to hear that voice in my head say ‘you could just end this’. I got emergency help - I got therapy. I spoke to the Samaritans - they were brilliant. They got me off a ledge.”

She added: “They can say they hope I die of cancer. I’ll defend their right to do so. But I just f***ing ignore it now.”

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Her debut novel, a murder mystery called Nothing Left Unsaid was a sellout at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

But Godley told how she cried after a care assistant washed her following a hysterectomy, and described it as ‘the most poignant moment of my life’.

Godley said: “I still think about the human kindness of that wee woman. She washed my back, she washed my bum. I was standing there naked like a newborn baby, with all these drips.

“And she’s like ‘here, there’s the cloth, wash your boobs, you can do it’, and I was like ‘right okay’, and I’m trying to wash myself and she says ‘it’s gonna be alright’, and she just held me in her arms and I cried.”

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She said she chose not to wear a wig as a gesture to other women. Godley said: “I wanted other women to see me bald. I could easily wear a wig, but I don’t want to.

“There might be women out there who can’t afford one. It’s alright to look like this. Everything used to be about me as a performer, a writer, an actor - it was all about me. But what’s happened made me go ‘you know what, everything isn’t f*****g about me’.”

Jerry Sadowitz, the Glasgow comedian who got himself into a “cancel culture” row at the Edinburgh Festival recently for apparently pushing things too far, once performed at the pub Godley ran before she made it in showbusiness.

“I don’t want to comment on another comedian’s material, as I wouldn’t expect them to comment on mine. But my general view is: if you make a mistake, say sorry.”

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She said people who say provocative and offensive stuff can expect a backlash.

Godley said: “Don’t be an edgelord and hang off a cliff screaming s**t and then go ‘wait a minute, I wasn’t expecting a backlash’. That’s how you make your money - shouting s**t.

“You can expect people to shout s**t back. If you really hurt people and they feel they deserve an apology, then apologise. Comedy isn’t always about pushing boundaries.

“If you’re going to say contentious things, don’t be surprised if people pull you up. Say any s**t you want and accept the consequences, or don’t say s**t. They’re free to say what they want, I just don’t have to listen.”

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