Friday, July 8, 2011

Stephen Fry: Proud To Be Bipolar

There are a multitude of celebrities with Bipolar Disorder.  Most recently, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Demi Lovato both came out publicly in succession about their bipolar diagnosis's.  You would think that this would be great for the awareness of Bipolar Disorder, but somehow the media always misses the point, and misrepresents what it's like to be bipolar.  The real gritty important details of Bipolar Disorder such as drug abuse, suicide attempts, and psychosis, are left out of the stories, or in the case of Demi Lovato, Bipolar Disorder is not fully recognized as the cause of all of her symptoms.  (Read more about Demi Lovato's interview about her bipolar diagnosis in my post, "Demi Lovato's Interview On ABC Fails To Truly Show Ramifications of Bipolar Disorder".)  Catherine Zeta-Jones did not reveal many specific details about her own struggles.  The problem is that revealing minimal or no details at all about your own experiences with Bipolar Disorder, fails to create more awareness and fight the stigma of mental illness.  (Read more about Catherine Zeta-Jones bipolar diagnosis here.)  One celebrity who has come out and been honest about his experiences with Bipolar Disorder, is Stephen Fry.  Stephen Fry is an English comedian and actor who has been open about his Bipolar Disorder.  He is the focus of the documentary titled "Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive", which is about Bipolar Disorder focuses on Fry's experiences with the disorder.  He has also spoken publicly about his use of cocaine, and his suicidal thoughts.  Fry sugar coats nothing, and this is what we need to fight stigma.  We need to show people what it's really like to have Bipolar Disorder.  We can not marginalize our experiences with Bipolar Disorder.  We don't need the Catherine Zeta-Jones' of the world to come out about their diagnosis's if they aren't going to give details about what it's really like to be bipolar.  We need more bipolar people like Stephen Fry who are proud to be bipolar, and will come out, and own everything about the illness including the good, the bad, and the in-between.  It is people like Stephen Fry who make me proud to be bipolar.


  1. I completely agree. No one wants to say "I was so depressed I didn't care if I lived" or they are ashamed that they need meds or something else. In Catherine Zeta Jones' case, she was outed at her treatment center. She wanted to keep her struggles (which she still was/is actively experiencing). I think she has a right to her privacy, as does anyone, but if no one speaks out truthfully, then how is it supposed to get better?

    Here's an honest account: my mom has been so depressed for 7 years, she lost all of her friends, was unable to get off of the couch, drank so much that she has alcoholic liver disease, and still plans to drink when she gets home from rehab.

    She is ashamed of the BD diagnosis and drinks to cope/self-medicate. Not pretty, but it's the truth.

    And here are links to the Stephen Fry doc -- it's really wonderul...

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

  2. Thank you for the comment and the links.

  3. Stephen Fry has done a wonderful job of trying to explain to the world what it is like to have bipolar disorder. And yet when I show my copy of the documentary to family and friends, they are unable to understand that in mood disorder, you are unable to drive your brain, so to speak, anymore.

    Bipolar is such a complex disorder and needs so much more support. You are right, so long as people keep their story hidden then empathy is not going to be easily found.

    Another fantastic blog!

  4. thank you for commenting Rachel!!

  5. Hi Mark,
    Was interested to read your post - thanks!
    I wonder if you'd be interested to see what we're doing? It's a huge community project inspired by my experience of living with bipolar disorder. Hundreds of people are involved already and more are joining every day :)