Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive

Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive

2008, Psychology  -   239 Comments
Ratings: 8.13/10 from 346 users.

Stephen Fry presents this documentary exploring the disease of manic depression; a little understood but potentially devastating condition affecting an estimated two percent of the population.

Stephen embarks on an emotional journey to meet fellow sufferers, and discuss the literal highs and lows of being bi-polar.

Celebrities such as Carrie Fisher and Richard Dreyfuss invite the comedian into their home to relate their stories.

Plus Stephen looks into the lives of ordinary people trying to deal with the illness at work and home, and of course to the people studying manic depression in an effort to better control it. A fascinating, moving and ultimately very entertaining Emmy Award-winning programme.

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peruda hudson
2 years ago

people make me laugh when they say oooh im depressed when sh*t aint going their way when really they are just pissed off or fed up, i have a mate who is bi polar and was pretty late on before he was diagnosed and ive seen him at his worse.

6 years ago

Very interesting documentary and comments. I'm struck by the stark disagreement about different approaches to manic depressive disorder, what it should be called, whether it is even necessarily an undesirable condition, or a disorder.

Lots of good questions with – from where I sit – less than satisfactory answers. But I will take a stab at answering one question. Mia Dominique asks, "Why is it that everyone thinks they're a expert on mental health? Im obviously not talking about the doco above, I'm talking about these comments."

I think part of the answer may be that people don't necessarily trust other people's accounts of their experiences. Even if we take it as a given that people sometimes behave badly because of the condition, what is to stop an afflicted person from behaving badly and blaming it on the condition even in cases where the condition isn't really the main driver of the behavior?

Probably some people will get upset that I even ask this question. But I don't see how we can sweep it under the rug. After all, people with mental illnesses, or conditions, or WYWTCT, are still people, subject to variance in human behavior. Surely it would be mistaken to think they never behave badly except as a result of this condition.

Further complicating the picture, mental health professionals are incentivized to diagnose people with conditions, as doing so acts to justify their profession

Sharon McKinlay
7 years ago

I applaud the courage of people who speak about their battle with manic depression. But I speak as one child of three of a mother with severe manic depression and the abysmal lack of support. If I was to write a book about our life with a manic depressive mother you would not believe what happened in our journey to adulthood. It was compounded by the fact that our father had been diagnosed schizophrenic. The combination of both was a real experience. Psychiatrists and social workers had absolutely no idea what we went through. However in adulthood we have never used this as an excuse, we have worked all our lives, own our own homes but have a wealth of experience about manic depression. Let's forget the fancy term the celebrities use, it's a violent, destructive, abusive disease. However it has had an impact because we refuse to take any drugs for stress or depression regardless of the circumstances because of the numerous addictions that led to violence of our mother. We support each other in a stoic and strong manner. Bipolar is a cute term used by some celebrities, it's the new affliction. But live with it, our mother used to take us for a walk that lasted 3 days over the moors. She decorated our living room walls with polythene to keep out damp. Within 6 months the walls were covered in black Mold and condemned by the health department. She was promiscuous and slept with dozens of men. This condition is not a joke and it's not a new trend for celebrities, it's destructive and violent. Our mother died at 63 and for that we are forever grateful because she was no longer in turmoil and we were safe.

christine goodfield.
8 years ago

I have been suffering with depression for year's now, have been on so so many different type's of medication none of them worked for me only resulted in having nasty side affect's hence making the depression worse more 2 worry about like a dog chasing it's own tail. So I have been managing for age's now dealing with depression in my own way, medication free, just about keeping it at bay. Depression seem's 2 feed on self pity, I alway's think 2 myself "starve it & it will go & hopefully stay away. That worked for me for about 15 month's. now ive been having alot of sleepless night's [insomnia]. I think far 2 much it seem's that depression is trying 2 creep back in2 my life now that I am feeling 2 weak 2 carry on struggling with it. It's a constant battle . Seem's almost alike " the devil" has concocted a potion in capturing the one's that manage 2 escape depression, re - capturing them & controlling them. Reading this back look's lame but once i write down my own dreaded thaught's then & only then i can move on, rather like been there ,got the t - shirt & what comes next, That i cant tell at the moment as ive not yet worked it out . Still wanna fight this battle Were all far far better than feeling this way . Stay strong, keep ur chin's up, [ P.S. wish i could take my own advice ]. :/

8 years ago

I watched this when it was originally on TV and my husband had been hospitalised after a particularly gruelling manic episode. I kept it on the system so that he could watch it when he came out after 3 months. For the first time he admitted he'd been ill and watched the program. I thought it was brilliant.
Anyone who thinks living with bipolar disorder, either as a sufferer or as a relative, is an easy ride, a self indulgent trip, or that it can be cured by the ridiculous comments below truly knows nothing about the illness. Some of these so called 'cures' may appear to work, because some sufferers will have only a few episodes in their life with many years in between. A few people only ever have one episode. Others, on the other hand, may be rapid cycling and switch from mood to mood within the same day. True bipolar type 1 is far more than just extreme switches of mood, it involves psychosis, paranoia, mania, delusions and more. My husband is in hospital again as I write, and it took us months to get him there. He refused medication for ages, as one of the sypmptoms is complete lack of insight into his mental state. Currently he believes that he is alright and everyone else is wrong. I'm going to watch the video again, and I recommend any one else who wants to know about bipolar to watch it too.

8 years ago

I haven´t watched the movie yet but am planning to. Think is good that famous people that have influence come out of the closet about their "brain/mental" illness. This helps the million others who don´t dare. I was one of you who thought depression and bipolar and anxiety are not real, but luxury diseases of the modern world until it happened to me out of the blue. Now that I have been to hell and almost killed myself and it took me 2 years to even recover I know these disorders sadly exist. I come from a family where there were 2 suicides in 2 previous generations which happened "out of the blue" and nobody understood until l I became sick, I would have been the 3rd generation to fall pray to this mental killer but I was fortunate enough to live in Europe today where there are doctors and medications to help and have a loving and supporting family. They saved me.

8 years ago

offcourse finches while your at stick some needles in a doll and claim your helping me. Psychiatric Illness is serious stuff take your "magical" cure away from vulnerable people, you snakeoil salesman.

8 years ago

How to stop hypomania and hypersexuality and overspending- stop all caffeine, sugar, and fruit. Try that for four days and you will stable out on medications completely without having to go through med changes or hospitalizations.

I run an Alternative Mental Health facebook page and tell people how to stabilize without medications and never see a doctor again. I have a post from a mother who went to a holistic doctor i recommended and her daughter is now stable and going to university and she is schizoaffective bipolar. There are 80,000 people, including Margot Kidder, the actress, using orthomolecular medicine to treat bipolar without meds or psychiatrists. I know two doctors that can stabilize people with schizophrenia and bipolar without meds and they can do it over skype without even running any blood tests. It is a problem with digestion, food sensitivities, stimulants make it worse, gluten makes it worse, and a genetic need for a huge amount of nutrients, which require supplements and enzymes.

9 years ago

to me, bi-polarity is just a new labeling for passionate people, they get great highs, of course their downs will go accordingly, labeling them just opens the door to sell them drugs, when you take sugar, or caffeine, it gets you real high, for those passionate people, it s sometimes just too much, and when they get their downs, it s pretty heavy, just by knowing you re such a person makes it easier to cope with, and eat and drink accordingly, those drugs designed to make you dull not only cost money, they also are health hazardous, no one in this documentary talked about the consequences, if it changes you that much, who do you really are then? no, really, it s best to cope with yourself without adding drugs in the mix, I m a passionate man, I thought about suicide before, and the world is a pretty sick place, but, drugs won t make it better, far from it.

9 years ago

This problem is really a spiritual problem. Deep in the soul. When having a mental desease it can be that one part of the soul is lost, but if you go to a good medium, you can get that part again. My relative who has borderline and bipolar, has been in drogs and much problem, but after 45 years with this and medecine for 5-10 years, she´s now her self, more stronger in her self, and never seen her feeling so good, and only after when she did Reiki healing on herself 1-2 times a day. Reiki healing open your chakras and let your energi channels go thrue all chakras. This is the key to feeling better and meditation. But medecine is to make you sick, in the deep in the soul, and you will not be you. Its all about money when its about medecine. So please dont let the doctors make you as a testrabbit. If you dont beileve in this spiritual stuff, beilive science, all is energi! If you will healthy and find more truth about life and feeling happy, You must try to get to this spiritual path. Everything has a meaning. You must just find it, and ready to try things you not heard about, or beileve in. Maybe you will see everything what happend has a meaning when your come further. And you are not sick as many think, you are spiritual gifted. You just must find the way !

9 years ago

Love this doc, love Stephen Fry and loooove being bipolar "light" - would never press the button. - Which is fortunate since the button doesn't actually exist.

Venkatesh Kumar M
9 years ago

Hello, My name is venkatesh from india..i accidently visited this website during my search for my disorder...
iam really frustrated in my life and now i came to know this is bipolar disorder...iam a normal person not very one else there to take care about me..iam not in a position to take the treatment from the well known specialists due to my financial crisis...

can anyone help me to come out of this..?

Mia Dominique
9 years ago

Why is it that everyone thinks they're a expert on mental health?

Im obviously not talking about the doco above, I'm talking about these comments.

9 years ago

I would never press the button, because no matter how dark times may get I truly believe that one can only know what light is when they have stood in the darkness.

9 years ago

I am very disheartened by some of the comments on this thread. I was diagnosed with bipolar and obsessive compulsive disorders when I was 27. The stigma about mental illness infuriates me.I am 33 now and have lived with this! I specifically asked my doctor to not over medicate me. I know there are people that are over medicated and are not true bipolar patients. The doctors are to blame because they are treating specific symptoms. Bipolar patients should be hesitant about taking any stimulants such as anti-depressants. A mood stabilizer should be the 1st option.I have a PhD and have been an executive for 2 different companies. I was a professional french horn player for a symphony.I am a complete perfectionist. My illness almost completely ruined me and I am still trying to recover. People need to educate themselves before making ignorant comments. People without any mental disorder should not make ANY judgments, because they do NOT know how it feels to struggle daily with this! I wish everyday that I did not have this, but these are the cards I was dealt.
And, to the person that say they lie, steal and cheat, go screw yourself. I do none of those things. Movies and the media have perpetuated the ill stigma.


9 years ago


Thank you for doing this documentary. It helps me tremendously to know what is happening in my life.

My wife is manic depressive. I'm sure of it. Her father, grandmother, brother, cousin have all have been diagnosed or clearly have symptoms. She was on medication for depression (before manic behavior became clear), but she has been off of them for sometime. She is in denial; partly because of manic cycle she went through; partly because to admit it is overwhelming for her. I've tried to be very, very patient and understanding, but it probably won't be enough to stop her from moving and divorce. She is just leaving a manic phase (1 week mixed ... now apparently depression). I know it is the illness, but she won't admit it. The manic phase was 90% positive, but obviously didn't last forever.

It has helped to better understand this disease and knowing that I'm not the only one experiencing these problems.

9 years ago

I don't think people should be loading up on tons of pills, however substituting this studied area for complete unsupported BS, like the spiritual nonsense found bellow is beyond idiotic in contrast.

10 years ago

Stephen Fry allowed me to laugh my head off at his expense because I find his quips so amusing. I was expecting this doc to be all doom and gloom but it certainly wasn't.
My heart bleeds for the people who hate themselves and are dying inside of loneliness. I felt really bad for Mr. Fry
Two of the moms, dealing with bipolar children, looked absolutely haunted.
I have an adult bipolar child running loose in the world.
She self-medicates and creates chaos in the lives of anyone who cares and loves her..
She would try to kill herself as a child, then turned on me when she was big enough. As an adult, she refuses any help and claims everything is someone else's fault.
I tried over and over to get help for her in our health care system, even dragged her to the ER; full of her own blood someone else's and a danger to others.
There are no words to describe what she has put me and my family through.
I know the above mentioned moms would understand my feelings.
I would take a bullet for her, but cannot have her in my life.

10 years ago

Lady, your young children are not bipolar because they rage and kick in glass doors. Your child has borderline personality disorder. This has a different treatment than bipolar.

Natalie Casella
10 years ago

The pharmacy oh wow. The pic on here is me from 2 years ago May 2011. At the time I was taking 4-6 mg of benzodiazepines for anxiety. I had dealt with anxiety and depression since the age of 10. I self medicated with food, alcohol, and other substances. What kicked my a** and brought me to submission with this world was- Xanax and Klonopin. Celexa was before the "Roxycodone Gold Rush" in Florida.

My daughter is unable to verbally communicate but she understands language and the world around her. The obvious traits of my mania are hyper verbosity and the obsessive nature I have regarding studying and research. I channeled all of the mania towards something outside of myself for 25 years. In 2007 everything changed- I had my 3rd child and got the baby blues. Badly enough to start drinking regularly again after 8 years of drinking perhaps once every 6 months. From teetotaler to reborn "wine lover" the beverage of Dionysus and Jesus. It is glorified to drink wine- women who are unhappy are encouraged to drink it. If we won't take your blue pill mommies will buy the bottles of pretty wine and with no shame place them in our carts next to the organic cheese crackers for the kiddies.
Back to my daughter- she was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 but many of her behaviours are manic and do not correlate with autism. She seeks constant sensory input yet drowns it out completely in the same day.

My point is multi layered however did no else go " da fuq" when they joked about the amount of meds a 16 year old takes. He is on legal drugs- needing uppers and downers to function.

10 years ago

What he fails to show is the torment the bi-polar patients give out to the people around them. They are manipulative, lie, steal, abuse verbally and sometimes phisically. Ever talked to a kid that has a parent with this disorder? Do it, you will be shocked. What I find disturbing is that they can do what they want and everything is covered up with the disease. Weird world.

10 years ago

Hello out there

I would like to know if there are people out there that suffers from any of these symptoms as i would like to know if you would like to get in touch with me please as i to suffer with mental health ,and would so like to speak to you as its hard enough speaking to any one about this in the out side world

I have lost so many friends through this as all they say is ((( here we go again)) and the min i hear this i would rather walk away instead of saying something i regret,and it would be so nice to speak to someone with the similar problems that i face as we would be on the same wave length

so please don't read this and ignore as you must know whats it like not have people out there that don't understand you just like me and you and would so like to be chatting or sitting talking to someone knowing that they wont say here we go again and walk away or go out of your life because you are so boring and don't chat etc etc

so please get in touch and by my email and then maybe if you feel comfortable wee could chat by Skype as it would be so easier as we are chatting and not emailing

Thank you for taking time to read this letter from me

God bless you

10 years ago

Hi jt6572

I am on few drugs
From neil

10 years ago

I'm bipolar but one thing I find concerning is the prevalence of people taking so many drugs. Maybe it's because I'm a mild case, but I am very wary of how many different chemicals I put into myself.
I'm on a few, but really wish there was just the one I could take.
Does anyone have this?

10 years ago

Stephen Fry is a global treasure.

TiltingAt TheWindmills
10 years ago

I'm quite sure there are parts of this film
that will find some resonance with a lot of us because, even though we may not
all be bi-polar, most of us have had moments of pretty deep darkness..
Hopefully, the film will help a lot of people to empathise and, perhaps, view
mental illness, differently.

Knowing that someone like Stephen Fry has had to
deal with problems similar to theirs will also help a lot of people cope.

10 years ago

I can relate to a lot of the comments. What took me out of my pain is to play a game it the dream game.When I felt pain or conflict, I was taught to tell myself that i am in a dream(remember it is just a game).The first step is to identify the figures in the dream as "keith,my name and everything else that seems to stand between myself and perfect peace in that situation" (pause for thought..that includes "time" too as a figure. Then Imagine 2 boxes in your mind one of which you put a checkmark on. The first box is next to the question "do i want the dream one box is yes the other is no. Check the no box . The dream is then changed from a depressing dream to a happy dream.

Conflict in your life indicates that you have chosen a dream of conflict.

Spend 10 minutes or so playing the dream game i don t say wheter it is true or not ..just check it out .

There is a more advanced version which you can check out . I would be more than happy to share if you want me too.

10 years ago

Our mental illnesses all arise from the inability of our perfectly formed minds to deal with the Matrix. Every psychosis on this planet is the adjustment mechanism that our brain must use to deal with the cognitive dissonance. Anyone who is perfectly adjusted to this crumbling civilization is truly psychotic.

10 years ago

I am full blown bi-polar and the documentary touched my heart. Every time I go without meds, I have a high that's higher then heaven and lows lower than hell. It took me years to get over the fact that I have to pop pills to be sane. I miss my highs though. I do not approve of the 'being sectioned' theory in the UK. It's discriminating. It was hard to get my prescription in the UK (although it was prescribed in other countries with great success). The only health care I received in the UK IN a low low time was a 25 minute interview with an apprentice doctor who gave me a health line number. The GP in the UK was well informed about my condition. I find that in the UK there is still a general BEDLAM attitude towards mental illness and not only from the medical institutions but from the general public as ell. I am now so outspoken and sometimes just say that I am legally crazy and that's the end of. Thank you Mr Fry for this documentary, however I do believe making the United Kingdom understand and except mental illness is still centuries away.

10 years ago

A lot of depression is caused by not being connected to mother earth. Your pineal gland is longing for you to connect with gaia. It is crying out an s.o.s message. When you take anti-depressants they shut down the pineal to a degree. You will find that some anti depressants are fluoride based compounds and fluoride calcifies the pineal gland, further cutting you off from gaia and silencing the crys for help. My advice to anyone who is depressed go and reconnect with mother earth she needs you as much as you need her. People are depressed because they are not living in equilibrium with nature and with each other. They need love not anti depressants.

10 years ago

respect to you mickey jones.

10 years ago

Great documentary. Typical crappy opinions below.

10 years ago

Such a phenomenal documentary! I've not been "properly" diagnosed but after watching this gem, it's like I'm able to have that "AHA" moment and my entire life's jigsaw puzzle pieces that were scattered about - all came together to see the "complete picture/film" of my life up to this moment in time. Stephen Fry is brilliant and I'm forever grateful for his courage and strength, time & money to produce this gem. Thank you also to Daniel Brown on your comment you posted a month ago, so very well stated!

10 years ago

This is my life :/

11 years ago

I have been through my own troubles in life like most of us have or are yet to. Some of us find and experiment with our own superficial coping mechanisms/escapes, sometimes among entire sub-cultures that follow like-minded feelings and ideals. I believe the more sustainable option for fulfillment and happiness, isn't in hiding, being afraid or being diagnosed and removed from your own personal sense of empowerment and control, but rather, in being attentive to your thoughts and honest with yourself and what it is that you want which is in your best long term interests and be PROUD of your choices long as its not a kiddy porn dungeon or something horrible obviously. Remember that who you where as a baby was a blank canvas, innocent and pure, it is through the course of your life that you've allowed society and its expectations to pull and stretch you against your natural will. Those who have experienced hardship or are diagnosed with mental illness are generally more in-tune people, however, occasionally mismanaged, but certainly not lost ..they are more likely to be free thinking revolutionists who can potentially do a great deal of good for the unity of humanity rather than dosing up on what the 'all knowing' doctor gives them and allowing this chain of nonacceptance and various oppressiveness to perpetuate itself. "Diversity and balance is key, rigidity causes fractures"

11 years ago

That 16 year old's medicine and what it would get him on the black market in northeastern cities in the USA:

Ambien: 10 bucks a pill/ more if the buyer is coming down off of coke
Adderall: depending on the dosage. 5- 12$ a pill. During Finals or Midterms: Possibly up to 20
Kolonopin: About 5$ a pill

Overdiagnosing is a HUGE HUGE problem in the USA.

11 years ago

What nonsense, I haven't done anything to bully you, only ask you for evidence and ask what is wrong with helping people, to help themselves? You, on the other hand, have constantly used agressive, abusive language, and directly used your posts in ways you (bafflingly) accuse me of doing, indirectly.

I didn't not say "only scientologists do that" so you've actually started with an attack and a misquotation, aswell as dodging very simple questions.
I asked if you might be one, then apologised for the inference. The reason I brought it up was because your continuously evasive, offensive, insulting posts mimic pretty closesly how scientologists behave in discussions on mental health. You go on to prove my point, not only by misquoting me, but by trying to call peole against me, in other words, bullying. Another scientology tactic, not to mention intellectual dishonesty. You then try to frighten me into silence by bringing mods into it.
Sorry, but your scare tactics won't work on me. I spend my days fighting to help people, helping them to enforce their rights and get fair treatment. I've stood up to abusers and helped people take back their lives. Some bad attitude mouthpiece on an internet forum, does not even begin to register as intimidation.

Sorry, chum.

So i'll ignore your further actual bullying and additional insults, and ask yet again, what is damaging to individuals about this program and the practice of helping people to help themselves into better situations and better intergration into everyday life? How can people over coming their problems and living every-day lives, possibly be bad?

Oh and your link is giving me a region block. Can anyone relink or describe it please?

11 years ago

So much venom in your words, except it doesn't actually mean anything. So far you've only insulted people. You haven't actually explained how we/they are doing harm by helping people to help themselves.

Your posts are attack, followed by rhetoric, followed by insult. Nothing more.

Are you a scientologist by any chance? I hate to ask but they're the only other people I've met who anger and attack so freely without making any kind of sense. I haven't seen one post from you that wasn't attacking someone, and wasn't worded agressivly.

So how about it? Stop insulting people for 5 minutes and explain your position. Explain how helping people to help themselves in finding a way to improve their lives, is bad for society.

Ash NA
11 years ago

Oh, and I just remembered. For anyone who wants to see how much insight/intelligence Stephen Fry has, it's worth checking out his interview with Pamela Connelly.

Not because I bear any ill-will to toward the man, I enjoy his early work especially and his portrayal of Oscar Wilde was just phenomenal in my opinion.

But self-delusion is what it is. Pathologising is what it is, and a lack of insight is just that. It's not unique to Stephen, other 'public intellectuals' like Dawkins, Morris, Attenborough have all professed exactly the same lack of insight quite proudly. If you want to take seriously his 'second-hand' opinion and those of other celebrities on the basis of their perceived authority, that's up to you. I prefer a sceptical approach to all received and socialised wisdom.

I like to ask "Cui bono?" It saves a lot of time when you are deciding who and to what extent to trust. If Stephen is deluding himself, how would he benefit? If the truth were incredibly painful and required great sacrifice, would he be willing to face it? Only he can answer. But we can all answer for ourselves. In the inestimable delusions of countless millions this question is answered pitifully and plaintively again and again.

11 years ago

Why does he spend so much time investigating the meds & psychotherapy people take instead of trying out the diet that has kept that woman Liz Miller episode free for 15 years! The cheese she's eating looks delicious for example :)

11 years ago

I find it amazing that intelligent people who would never in a million years deny the fact that a person's lungs, eyes, bones, kidneys, liver, bones, or skin can be diseased (causing impairment to their functions), will stridently deny that a person's brain can suffer disease and that the mind can be affected as a result.

Fannie Mae
11 years ago

I know the risks of my condition so I work hard to avoid falling into destructive behavior

11 years ago

I feel the point of this documentary is simply to bring to light that many people are bipolar and surprisingly those suffering from it come from all walks of life. As a functioning bipolar, diagnosed at the age of 53, many incidents during my past sort of, became explainable. The crazy stuff, the dark deep stuff and troubles they caused not only to me but those around me..
When living such an unpredicatble life, a documentary like this is reassuring, knowing there are others like me out there.

Ash NA
11 years ago

Sadly lacking in insight. The only positive thing to come out of pathologising emotional problems is that people can be written off as bad debts, put on a pension and left alone. This has been my experience. One still gets some degree of prejudice, but in this relative position of strength, outside the system and it's demands, one can leverage that bigotry to their own advantage.

I always say the same thing, but anyone interested in getting outside the middle-class box would do well to read Solaris (Lem), Alice Miller and other high-end thinkers, people who see the whole picture and write for the best and brightest, not the lowest common denominator.

It grieves me that someone half intelligent like Fry would be so easily coddled by comforting diagnoses such as these, it's as much proof of Alice Miller's central hypotheses as I have ever seen.

11 years ago

i can tell u why u want to die ... it's due to the facted u have nothing to do lol you might know every thing but ur sat there in a world of ebay :P not only that u live in the uk and the guv will remove your impetus ... ur not allowed to be a dissenting adult... u will be told what you can and can not do :) i thought the like like of you would read the books on how to castrate the general voting pop ^.^

11 years ago

My mother was bipolar, so am I and so are my two daughters. I've struggled with this all my life without understanding what it was or being diagnosed. I was 57 when properly diagnosed and began a series of medications which had to be adjusted from my prompting. I felt too sedated and numb at first. (didnt take lithium) but kept telling the doctor to adjust things and I think now I'm as manic as I dare to be without embarrassing myself too much....and though I think of death daily at least I'm not reaching for the ultimate solution. I have lost my entire artistic ability and desire, but I had become a successful artist before taking the meds. It's a trade off for sanity, so my doctor said. I'm very sad about that as I was a very creative person. I don't reach out for people. I refrain from making friends. My jack russell is my best friend. I kept getting fired from the most menial jobs just before I took meds. But they are keeping me alive. I take deep pleasure and spiritual joy in nature still, and for that I'm grateful. I have a fish tank and love my fish, and grow large plants indoors as all I have is a fire escape for a garden. I used to own 42 acres with a private river but lost it all due to being bipolar. I get my strength from the little things in life, and the fact that I had a wretched childhood which made me hang in there throughout the worst life could dish out. My love goes out to every single person who struggles with this. Find others like you. IT HELPS.

EveAnna O'Neal Godall
11 years ago

this is a very well done documentary, i have always admired stephen fry, i just had my birthday so i made another year without walking into the lake like virginia woolfe did, he is one year older than i, i only have the depression of the deep dark abyss then back to somewhat "normal" functioning, still trying to figure it out, on medication, praying for peace. never give up stephen or anyone else, we are human and deserve to live, we are creative, then must withdraw from the world of chaotic noise, not read the news, or watch it on
telly just keep writing is what i do.luckily ihave a great team of doctors as i have MS and have various physical challanges went through a an awful time of it but someplace inside myself i know things can get better, they understand that it complicates life and makes it all worse but they do not put me down, stay away from negative people, get a animal compaion becasue they love without judgement, people dont.
thank you for letting me speak softly about such a harsh destroyer of lives, and thank you to stephen fry for being courageous enough to share this intimate part of his life, it is the stigma i cant deal with so i have been quiet, i think i got my courage to say it from watching the docuentary. Thank you stephen fry and Carrie fischer, and all of us who are affected by any for of the terrible disease of depression, panic attacks, and the physical manefestations it also causes
Much love, and Heartfelt sending of warmth and sunshine into everyones life,

11 years ago

Mike, when I was a teenager I smoked a lot of pot, and developed a notion/insight that I and others around me were robots, programmed to believe themselves free. This perception was bad for my social life; I stopped smoking pot, and eventually became a neuroscientist specializing in brain chemistry. It's quite interesting, better than working for a living, and definitely better than not being at all. Hmmm, as a neurochemist, I think you might be one of the people who feel better with antidepressants. I mean, you smoke pot all the time, so you can't be against the whole idea of taking drugs or medications, right?

11 years ago

see above

mike Q
11 years ago

My name is Mike. I was raised by a Christian couple with the utmost care and have supported me all throughout my 28years of life. I have been provided with education, morals and values that I was suppose to use for my future life. Let’s just say I have nothing to rebel against. But growing up around good people and a simple sustained life didn’t do it for me. I kept questioning everything around; I was the odd man in every equation. I didn’t like big crowds since for me it was just gathering of people who like to compete and display ego, or in some cases, find some other people they can use for their benefit. I’d rather be around a small group of friends while smoking cigarettes and weed and have simple conversations about life and what really there is. The purpose of this is to open up to whoever is going to have access to this, and for what purpose? To transfer what I’ve come to figure out on my own. The knowledge that I never wanted to have which in the end destroyed me slowly. I am currently suffering under severe depression, the diagnosis was not done professionally but I believe it has come to that. It all started when I saw the other side of the world. A place where everyone was supposed to be free. There’s no such thing as freedom. Freedom is a cover up to make us believe that we’re all free to live and do whatever we please. We are all slaves of something and sad to say there is nothing that can save us. We are categorized and expected to live base on the concept of right and wrong or normal or not normal. Whoever has most control over everything around us, is forcingly providing the world with formulas to life to give optimal results when in reality, we’re all just live stock and our only purpose is to die after being used up to keep the system running. Such a sad reality that too many people have failed to see. What is truth? We have a million ways to define the meaning of truth which can either be defined in so many different perspectives depending on how human you can be and which dominant aspect of yourself drives you into defining this word. I’d define it as “whatever the case really is”. I’ve figured out a way to determine a lie by asking a subject a single question and have it consistently satisfy “why”. This will lead to either a lie or he really couldn’t provide anymore answers. We all live in a world of lies and I have proven that to myself. What we know isn’t really truth. It was kept hidden to us to keep order, to gain power and control over all resources of the world. Whoever’s reading this I hate to be the one to break it down to you but, you’re just a replacement of the last person who did the same exact thing you’ve been doing till this point. You’re a piece of hardware that keeps the system running and you will breed and teach yours the same thing and the cycle will never stop until its all once again taken away from you. I’ve seen my parents get old trying to reach that goal. I’ve stood there and watch those heads turn gray and their skins become wrinkly, and they want more and they never stop, they need to maintain it and it’s become their worth. It’s so hard to be where I stand. We are not important, your ego tells you that you are but you’re just another bag of chemicals that has the ability to believe what you want to believe. It only takes one shift for your brain to give you the inevitable. You will eventually see it, and once you do you will reject everything around you and look for answers that you will most likely find, but will not sustain and satisfy your consciousness. You then run out of options and seek the easier way out. It’s such a tragedy to have all these thoughts because it’s closer to the truth. To some, an individual like me would be given the term crazy, or troubled, or weird, or mentally disabled, needs attention, etc. Its funny how there is nothing else we are allowed to discover so we spend our time constructing a standard formula and live around the designation of what’s acceptable and what’s not.

It’s a shame that my vocabulary is too limited to make a whole book of thoughts before the awakening time. These are only the ones that have troubled me for the past 2 years, which I can say has the most effect on my emotions and thoughts and has lead into change.
My human self has one weakness that has the most effect on my present realities, one that sticks out among hundreds of weaknesses. That is the deep attachment with the opposite sex. I have proved resort to (in standard terms) obsessive actions and tend to have a serious problem coping up. The feeling of rejection has such a great deal of cause to me. The worse case I can ever be is to find myself madly in love with a woman that does not feel the same way. I’ve been used and deceived so many times since I tend to let my guard down. I was a tool and it’s a truth that I never accepted. It was a delusion that I fought hard for, to the point where I’ve lost all sense of reality for something I’ve call “an unevolved tendency”. It feels good for the ego to get fed but there was a price and its much worse than I thought. It’s destroyed my will; I lost motivation, confidence, and all other human traits that were vital to excel in this type of time. Regardless of the negatives, and considering the fact that my focus, efforts, and health were at risk, it was all worth it. I jeopardized my well being for a chance to be with her, like a heaviest of drugs so potent that it can destroy me in months. Now I have nothing. All I can do now is choose, whether I should play a role for the system, or awaken my being through death. I am committing 48 hours for soul searching and to seek for any contingency answers. If not, I will have to choose. Nothing makes sense to me at this point. I will try this approach and I’m sure I might consider something.