Living with a mood disorder

The Stephen Fry Effect


I wanted to share with you why I admire Stephen Fry so much.  It’s not because he’s on TV, in film, does documentaries, yada yada yada – though I do love watching and hearing him.  It’s because of the effect he has had on my life, without him even knowing.

Once upon a time, as regular readers know, I had a breakdown in my life and things weren’t looking too good.  Somehow I managed to salvage something and turn my life around.  It was during this period of my life that I discovered Stephen’s The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive – a must watch for people who have a bipolar diagnosis, new or old.

I remember watching vividly at how he, and others, struggled through their diagnosis and tried their hardest to carry on with life.  There were people with a mild form of the disease and those with extreme symptoms.  One of which that stood out for me was a gentleman that believed that he was Jesus and he wouldn’t get hurt walking in front of a lorry.  He got hurt, badly.  Luckily he survived and had surgery to repair the physical damage that he suffered.

During the filming there were periods where Stephen himself was struggling.  One comment he said was about walking to the fridge to get something out of there but having to build enough strength to get there.  He was in pain, physically and emotionally – he laid bare his darkest times for us all to see. By the way, the fridge thing… I can relate to that!

What stuck out most was that he carried on; he wouldn’t let the disease beat him.  From watching him during these times made me realise that if he, Stephen, could carry on and be so successful in what he does then so can I.

I’m not at all saying that I envy the fame and being in the public eye, I don’t want that.  I don’t even like praise when I have achieved what I have; I found a way to get where I want and I go for it.  It’s everyday life to me.

I found a dream of becoming a psychiatrist and, although I have to take the long route to get there, I am aiming high and going for it.  Before the breakdown I never dreamt of even getting into university.  Though, here I am four months in and loving every minute of it.

When I got the opportunity to meet him, please let me meet him, at the Mind Media Awards this year I literally jumped at the chance.  Less than four sleeps to go and I can say thank you to him, for encouraging me to carry on regardless.

I am sure that I am not the only one that wants to say thank you to Stephen Fry for the work that he has done, maybe unknowingly.  So if I get the opportunity next Monday night, then I will be honoured to thank him for you.

If you were asked to push a button that would remove your diagnosis, would you?

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9 thoughts on “The Stephen Fry Effect

  1. My dear friend Tracey. He may well not know the impact he has had. Thank him for me! He has contributed so much to my recovery xx

  2. What an interesting question. While I would love to be my idea of being “normal,” would that be what it would really be like to not have bipolar disorder? I would only remove my mental illness if I could be assured my life would match my image of what that would mean. On the other hand, having a mental illness has given me empathy for all types of illnesses and trials that others are going through, it has introduced me to many wonderful people (including the amazing Ms. Pallett), and forced me to find hidden strengths within myself.

  3. I saw the excellent documentary. Would I push the button? Yes! I would chop off my left arm to be rid of it. But not my right ….I’m right handed.So, there’s a limit to what I would do to be rid of my zig – zag life.

  4. Tracey, you are beautiful and very brave. Although I don’t suffer from bipolar disorder, my late husband did and my daughter still does, so I’ve been in the trenches with them. By association my life has been a bit zig-zag also. But to the point: Stephen Fry has helped me so tremendously in coping with this and other issues – the death of my husband 4 yrs ago, loss of my house due to fire 3 years ago, etc – through his wisdom and common sense. His words helped me to focus less on myself and more on those around me, no mean task given the situations. Thank him for me if you get the chance. He is my greatest hero and quite possibly the world’s greatest man. Best of luck in your journey.

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  6. hi Tracey, just been reading through some of your bloggs. I have the flu and it’s about all I can do at the moment. Anyway, very interesting and on the subject of whether or not I would press a button, the answer for me is “no, definately not”. As much as I hate the lows, and do my best to avoid them, I wouldn’t be anything else. I’ve always thought that was strange given that I feel guilty that I appear to have passed it to my son, but that is possibly just because I didn’t get to give him the choice and I wouldn’t wish the lows on anyone. In general though, I function best when I’m on my highs, as long as I manage them and don’t get too high. I would be lost without them, as I was when I was on lithium. They told me the way I was feeling then was ‘normal’, well if that’s true then they can keep it because I hated it.

    • Hey you, I hope the flu clears up soon. Really miss you. Hugs.

      I totally agree that without the mental illness I wouldn’t be who I am today. It makes you you. Without it we wouldn’t be as strong as what we are.

      Normal = lemons :) x

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