An Open Letter to Stephen Fry

Mr. Stephen Fry is a recent hero of mine.  I must admit that before I watched the 2nd season of Bones, I did not know who he was.  But I’m glad I decided to look into the work of Fry, beyond his role as Gordon-Gordon.

Fry in Bones

Fry is an actor, comedian, writer, activist, humanist, and general know-it-all when it comes to many subjects.  Here is a short video (3 mins) narrated by Fry on the subject of happiness and humanism: 

He is also an active member of the GLBT community and he has made a BBC doc on the attitudes towards homosexuality around the world, called Out There.  Here is a link to the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01fttn0

But the reason I found Stephen Fry most endearing is not his views or his personality (though he is fascinating).  I connect with Fry because he and I share something at the core of our being: we are both bipolar.  In the mid-2000s, he made a doc, again with the BBC, about what it means to be bipolar in the world today and many of the factors that enter into a person’s life if they are bipolar.  I highly recommend this two part doc and have a link to the first part here:

Why am I writing this, you may ask?  Yes, I am an anglophile to my greatest depth.  Indeed, I find Fry’s accent, like many of his countrymen, to be irresistible.  However, it is Fry’s humanity that charms me the most.  He gives bipolar disorder a face; not the face of a “mad” person, but a human face of great diversity and range, full of people who have and will give humanity great things despite their suffering.

After reading Moab is My Washpot, an autobiography by Fry from 1997, I see that he has suffered like my father and so many others, simply because he was born before there was proper/healthy care for those with mental illness.  He was finally diagnosed at age 37, but his battle began during boyhood.  My diagnosis came at roughly age 14, after suffering for two years or so.  We have both felt the highs and lows of this mental illness–the mania and the depression, each with its own struggles.  As he points out, speaking out is the only way to fight the stigma and tell people what the reality of this mental illness.

For anyone with bipolar or a family member or friend, I strongly encourage you to watch his doc, The Secret Life of The Manic Depressive (video above).  Talking about mental illness is the only way to help those who do not know what they are experiencing, the pain they feel, the ups and downs.  Mania and depression are not normal behavior and you need help.  There is so much life out there that you are missing or feeling that drug called mania that disrupts your whole life, that speed or slowness that no one understands…  It is all part of this new normal that each bipolar person needs to come to and develop until it just seems normal.  No, others do not always understand, even if they try their hardest, they are not in our head.  This is mental illness and one of us is visibly bringing to light: Mr. Stephen Fry.

And my hope is to add myself to that list of people trying to help others or speak out, from Carrie Fischer to No Stigma to Stephen Fry.

In short, I don’t care about his politics, though I do love his talent, I am a fan and fellow advocate of Stephen Fry.  And I can not wait to see what more he gives to the world, via books, television, film, documentaries, and so many other gifts that you’d have to ask him about it.

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