Stephen Fry Reveals Struggle With Bipolar Disorder

Posted on July 26, 2006

British author and actor Stephen Fry speaks openly about his long battle with bipolar disorder and his two suicide attempts.
Actor Stephen Fry has revealed how he contemplated suicide twice, once as a teenager and again 11 years ago. The 48-year-old star of British comedies "Blackadder" and "Jeeves and Wooster" recalled the second incident which took place after he had walked out of a West End play called "Cell Mates".

"Eleven years ago in the early hours of the morning I came down from my flat in central London to this lane," he said in the programme "Stephen Fry - The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive", which will be aired on BBC Two in the autumn. "I went into my garage, sealed the door with a duvet I brought, and got into my car ... Sat there for at least, I think, two hours in the car, my hands on the ignition key.

"It was a ... suicide attempt, not a cry for help." Shortly afterward he fled the country but returned a week later and was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. "I'd never heard the word before, but for the first time, at the age of 37, I had a diagnosis that explained the massive highs and miserable lows I've lived with all my life," Fry said. In the same interview he said he had tried to take an overdose of tablets aged 17, but vomited them up. By taking part in the programme, Fry hopes to raise awareness of manic depression and break some of the taboos surrounding the condition. "I have discovered just how serious it is to have bi-polarity or manic depression as it's also called. Four million others in the UK have it and many of them end up killing themselves."
Stephen Fry's most recent book is being released in the U.S. in August. Entitled The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within (Gotham), it is billed as a "witty and entertaining guide to the mysteries of writing poetry." It's tops on our To Be Read stack right now. Because we just know it's going to be excellent.

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