Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive

I am shaking with emotion and exhausted. I have watched too many powerful documentaries over the last year, I thought this would just be another. Stephen Fry tonight was astonishing. I wept, I laughed and I nodded my head, incessantly. When he asked a woman, suffering despairingly from Manic Depression, how she saw the future I said out loud, before she could answer ‘I don’t’. I knew that would be her response. I have been there in the depths of my PTSD. ‘Future’ is not a word you consider. You are lucky if you can contemplate the next 5 minutes.

Admiration does not come close to describing what I feel for that man tonight. He has admitted his weaknesses, his failings and his illness all in the name of helping others. There are very few people in the world with his qualities and I cannot thank him enough. He is successful, he is famous, he is in a position to make programmes like this. Many other sufferers are not so lucky, they are desperate and penniless. A large percentage of the nations homeless suffer from mental health problems. But he has touched upon topics which are usually only whispered about. He has brought it into people’s living rooms and made them listen.

My emotions were split between myself and my friend. My friend was diagnosed as Bipolar for years, but more recently has been told he is Schizophrenic instead. I think that sometimes labels are too simplistic for mental illness. Surely you can have a combination? The description, tonight, of people suffering from delusions of grandeur were all too familiar to me. My friend has told me many times how he has spoken at the United Nations.

But oh how refreshing to see both familiar faces and strangers, spilling their guts and telling the nation the deepest secrets of their mind. Stephen Fry has done an insurmountable service to sufferers of mental health problems tonight. I look forward to part 2.