Stephen Fry and Bipolar Disorder

Saw a very moving and frank TV documentary by Stephen Fry last night, going through his lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder. You couldn’t help admiring the bloke for being so up-front about the terrible situations that the illness has gotten him into, including imprisonment for credit card fraud on one occasion.

It could have been a classic celebrity fess-up, but to his credit Fry also talked to ordinary people who had to live as best they could with a horrible illness. Which made the whole thing much more powerful. And I admired him for discussing the reasons why he’d rather not take medication.

I don’t suffer from full-blown BPD myself but I do have what the diagnosis-happy Americans would describe as cyclothymia, which is a milder version. One problem with it, which is getting worse as the menopause kicks in, is that it’s very tricky indeed to get the meds right. I noticed a while back that I was sleeping badly, also that I was writing a lot more. People, family especially, were commenting on my embarrassing behaviour, the jokes that only I laughed at, etc. I was going over the edge. Cut down the meds and I became more normal. But I missed the writing.

If you are a famous, creative person, moving in circles where cocaine use is affordable and endemic, where you can pick and choose your hours and frankly, you are expected to be a bit odd, you are going to calculate rather differently from someone who has to keep an everyday family show on the road. And Fry was very honest about this, it seemed to me.

I’m looking forward to the next installment.

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3 thoughts on “Stephen Fry and Bipolar Disorder

  1. I, too, saw that documentary. Personally I found it quite shocking as I’d never really understood what bi-polar disorder was. My Mum suffers from standard depression, but this was something else… I thought it was incredibly brave of him for coming forward and being so frank. And seeing him so worked up before the BAFTAs (and actually writing his own material) was very moving.

  2. Hi, nice to hear from you. Been hanging around the Whoniverse and noticed you a few days ago. I’m really sad about Richard Hammond, too. Love that show and the interplay between the three presenters. One of the few things I can watch and thoroughly enjoy with the whole family.
    Looks like we have similar tastes in men 😉 – I take it your phone will be off the hook at 9.00pm next Wednesday?
    BTW saw from your profile you are an ex-Yorkie, I think? Me too – Alcuin 78-81. Makes me feel as old as a Time Lord, writing that!

  3. Oh, I like to try to keep up with my flist! It’s small for that reason to be honest. I don’t see the point of having an enormous flist because you can’t possibly get to know anybody because it would take you days to read everything.
    And yes, I will be recording and watching next Wednesday. WDYTYA is a programme I enjoy anyway, but it was extra special to see DT involved.
    I am indeed a York graduate. 99-02, though, so a little later than you! The place was undergoing massive change while I was there. Alcuin was completely demolished and rebuilt, along with Wentworth and parts of Goodricke. I generally enjoyed my time there but I did find the place very Wannabe Oxbridge…

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