B1 Intermediate UK 14842 Folder Collection
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Eleven years ago I was starring in a new play
in this theatre in the West End
after just three performances I walked out
In the early hours of the next morning
I came down from my flat in Central London to this lane
I went into the 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
You know it was a suicide attempt not a cry for help
I drove to the south coast and took a ferry to Europe
I just knew I couldn't be at home
couldn't be in London couldn't be in England
I really believed that I would never come back to England
Runaway Stephen Fry broke the silence last night
to reveal the torture he's been suffering
They're all are worried that I've committed suicide
That's the awful thing
but after a week I secretly returned to England to this hospital
and to a doctor telling me that I was bipolar
I had never heard the word before
but for the first time at the age of 37 I had a diagnosis
that explained my massive highs and miserable lows
I lived with all my life
No doubt that I do have extremes in moods that
are greater than just about anybody else I know
The psychiatrist in the hospital recommended I take a long break
I came here to America
and for months I saw a therapist and walked up and down this beach
My mind was full of questions
Am I now mad? How have I got this illness?
Could it been prevented? Can I be cured of it?
Since then I have discovered just how serious it is to have
bipolarity or manic depression as it is also called
4 million others in the UK have it
and many of the seriously ill end up killing themselves
So I have decided to speak out about my mental illness
and it is a mental illness
I wanted to talk to others who have it
about what triggered it in them and how it took over their lives
and I wanted to find out answers to what still worries me
Was I diagnosed correctly?
and I am now getting better or worse?
Let's start with a remark made by a Hollywood producer to me
You do not have to be gay or Jewish to get on here. just bipolar
He meant, of course, larger than Life furiously energetic, endlessly creative
Manic types do well in Hollywood, in all of show business for that matter
Euphoric heights and crickling lows seem to go with the territory
and don't attract the stigma found everywhere else
Since my own diagnosis, I kept working and found ways to cope
But I also kept quiet about my condition
Now I want to speak out and fight the stigma
and a to give a clearer picture of a mental illness most people know little about
Visiting my old friend Carrie Fischer
known to the world as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies
She is on the edge of sanity. you know she's constantly...
not mad enough to be committed
but not sane enough to lead much of a normal life
When you're galloping along at a great speed
it is better than any drug you can ever take
God, if you will is saving your parking spots
Songs are being played on the radio for you
You're just so enthusiastic about everyone
and everyone must be enthusiastic about you
and it is just come along, I have a great idea I have this unbelievable idea
Let's go to India
Then you start going way to fast
You're faster than anyone that you're around
It's not fun You are on the phone far too long
You not getting any sleep
Nothing is going fast enough for you
Come on, keep up with me you guys, come on
And even if it's not true that you're more talented when you're manic
you feel like you are
Yes, what is half the battle
I am standing on rocks
flaming speeches to the world You know, I have a lot to say
I have messages from deep space in fact
and I stayed awake for 6 days and I did lose my mind
A this friend of mine says to me
Does your doctor know that you behave this way?
then we sort of have an argument
and I cry for four hours and I am unable to stop
and I know there is something wrong with that
I called the doctor when I go in and I see her
you know we were talking
and I am laughing and I am spinning around in chairs
and the doctor says
That is the diagnosis, that's bipolar that is manic depression
Carrie had years of living with such extreme moods and feelings
before she got that diagnosis
She has got it bad, you know
It is not a rock star or film star's accessory
it is a real mental condition and
she has to live with every single day of her life
She is on medication. You have to picture what she be like if she weren't
A medical expert told me almost half of those suffering from manic depression
aren't diagnosed at all
It frightens me to think of people having symptoms like Carrie
and not knowing what's wrong with them
I'm told that it's an illness
that's surprisingly difficult to pin down to achieve a diagnosis
now I am diagnosed bipolar and bipolarity is a disease of the brain
So a brain scan will surely reveal a sign of what I have
The research being carried out here at Maudsly Hospital in south London
compares normal brains with bipolar ones like mine
Here, we're at the beginning of the brains - Oh my Goodness.
I just grab the front of the nose and then scroll back
That's my face actually
You see your chubby cheeks, there - My little chubby cheeks
but by looking at a sample of slices from a brain
you can't tell or can you, whether someone is bipolar
When it comes to bipolar looking at a single subjects structural scan
would not give you that diagnostic information at this stage
Is there anything you see in my brain that
leads you to the view that I am bipolar?
No. I think there is a very short answer to that
Thus yet no brain test that can diagnose bipolarity
but I have being hearing talk of a bipolar gene
To find out more I have come to have my let my DNA tested as part
of the world's largest research bipolarity at the University of Cardiff
They have 2000 participants already and now 2001
Do I get my wollypop now?
This is your DNA - My DNA, thank you so much
O, it is so attractive. I knew it would be Beautiful, isn't it?
So which way now? - Ok, we go up to look at the Sequenom
You know is must be good just from the name It's fantastic
Welcome to the Sequenom, Mr. Bond
What we have found is that if you simply compared people with bipolar disorder
against people without, controls. We don't actually see any overall difference
Unfortunately the press as you know, they'll publish reports
saying "The bipolar gene" or whatever
That is completely incorrect
There will be many genes that are involved in bipolarity
So at the moment there is no clear-cut test to show if someone is bipolar
How them do you tell?
How was I diagnosed all those years ago?
Well a psychiatrist simply asked a lot of questions about my behaviour and my feelings
Here in Cardiff Nick uses the same process but involving 200 questions
that carefully build up a picture of a persons life history of manic depression
We developed a scale When I find out information from you
I'll tell you where you score on our scale
Looking back times when you think perhaps
it was something a bit out of the ordinary
unusual, caused a problem or you needed treatment
Well, I suppose the first time I needed treatment I think I was 14
In hindsight my symptoms really surfaced here
The problem was for almost everyone was that they looked like bad behaviour
I was nearly expelled from my prepschool I was expelled from here
It is very strange revisiting a place where one was so intensively alive
as to be almost in a constant state of edginess
and I suppose what man call mania now
because I cut games. I was so often alone.
Wandering around on the roofs
I think I used to crawl all over the roofs for a mixture of risk
and power when you're looking down on people
The effect of my behaviour was cause to make me unbearable really
a show-off a loudmouth
completely impossible to handle disruptive
See, thin, I may never been a good looking boy
but I was once thin!!
Meeting my old housemaster and his wife
insures an uncomfortable reminder of past crimes
like given permission to go to London and then not returning
We went to see films We went just to the cinema
One of which was the Clockwork Orange
That's right
Your father thought
O my God,of all films that he might have seen
I was consumed and gripped by it
You should have been back - a lot earlier
I had the Metropolitan Police out looking for you
I didn't realize that I've never realized that
Stephen has been a problem
This is a letter from Gerald Holme - The psychiatrist
Suggesting various things Adolescent Depression
mild depressive illness rather than just unhappiness
Behavioury He can be quite infantile
I think Mr. Fry, your father may have mentioned
that the advice given to him by doctors in London
suggest that he might have some brain damage
to account for this That a crude way of putting it
Good Lord
We were not aware of any drug taking or sexual offenses however
We didn't know much then, did we
And then the awful thing Which is the stealing
That gripped me
You didn't need money. You didn't need to steal - No, so odd
So you didn't know it was I who was the thief
I wouldn't suspected it at all Stephen. No
You laid a trap in Matern's room
We did. Which Elisabeth - That was you. You were hiding in Matern's room
I was in her bathroom
It was a terrible shock to see you
Strange emotional turmoil I was in
Stealing things I couldn't possible want
As well as stealing money must be said what I did want I suppose
Did I feel shame when I stole things? I suppose I did
there is something very extraordinary about going through a room
where you're not supposed to be looking for things
It's like when you watch it in a movie
when the hero is burgling somebody's flat or something
very nerve-racking Your heart is in your throat
and it is a real buzz
Considering I didn't do any sports or anything else
that gave me any kind of adrenaline rush
what sport is supposed to do
maybe that is what it was
whether it was part of a disorder that can be given a name, I do not know
but it was bad enough for me to have to go to a psychiatrist anyway
that didn't lead to a diagnosis of manic depression, probably because
like the school authorities like my parents
and to be fair like me at the time
why would you have thought
it is anything other than bad behaviour
So, I was expelled and just stumbled on continuing to steal as I went
By this time I had progressed a credit card
stolen from the jackets of my parents friends
This led to my next big manic episode
when I used the money in the most grandiose way
When I was about 17 going around London on the stolen credit card
It was a sort of fantastic reinvention of myself on attempt
I bought ridiculous suits with stiff collars
and silk ties from the 1920's and
we go to the Savoy and The Ritz and drink cocktails
The morality of it never crossed my mind at all
I think it is more that when you're in a sort of grip of a manic fantasy
You don't really believe other people exist You are the centre of your universe
I wanted to be in there. I am Stephen Fry sitting there
And the white coats, are so appropriate, aren't they, the barmen
As they are nurses in a wonderful mental hospital
It did not of course last after months
of travelling the country using my stolen credit card
I was arrested I was sent to Pucklechurch remand centre
In my day would have been a long sterile corridor with cell doors
It is so different now
I have spent the last 10 years of my life actually
at boarding schools of one kind or an other
So this, for me it was nothing. Really, to be honest
is was just instead of being called Prefects or Schoolmasters
they were called Prison Officers or Screws
The only thing that really twisted my guts was
my mother coming to visit, on the first day that she visited
I used to be very keen on doing crypto-crosswords in the Times
and all the time I have been away she'd cut out the Times crossword
Every single day
A sort of simple demonstration of love
and being there for me and thinking of me
was a, you know really stuck in my throat
How many times in your life would you've had an episode like that?
I would think 4 or 5 of that extremity
If I'm to take my past history, then I sort of believe maybe
it is perhaps every 5 years a huge storm will come
I don't know but that so often the way it is
When would the first time have been that you had a depression?
I would think it was about
6 months before that manic experience
When you are depressed like that what's your self-esteem like?
O, absolutely ZERO
Stand up from the sofa and walk to the fridge is an act of unbelievable effort
Everything that happens is because you are a cunt
because I'm complete wanco that's because I'm an arshole
You can have moments having a Tourettes view of yourself
You think of death all the time. and even when you're not getting suicidal
you are constantly aware of death and
the way you are in death and how welcome it would be
That's when I tried to kill myself
- So you've been... - Seventeen
Tablets was it
Yes, I took as many as I could and as many variations as I could
in order to make it as toxic as possible.
Unfortunately, this made me projectile vomit
I'm sure it was a suicide attempt not a cry for help
Looking back through your live just roughly
how many episodes of depression like that
do you think you've experienced just roughly?
I should say five or six
I think Nick Craddock is getting the picture but so am I
Adding up all that extreme behaviour is making me
a little concerned about what my eventual score will be
What always bothers me is whether I could have avoided
some of these harrowing moments
if I was diagnosed earlier
that is actually now a controversial issue
because in America psychiatrists seem only to happy to diagnose children
as a result Suzy Jensen who lives outside of San Francisco
has known for 5 years,
that both her young teenage sons are bipolar.
Is there a thing you can say "You know your child is bipolar when... "
You know your kid is bipolar when
they're putting their feet through a plate glass window
in a rage after they have been raging for 3 hours
about something you even can't remember what triggered
and certainly risky and dangerous behaviour
We had a A-line roof and he went up
and was trying to walk the narrowest point of the A-line
you know, with his eyes closed
You know your kid is bipolar when their behaviour is so extreme
that I had a neuro-psych evaluation done on him
When I went to get the results of the testing
The psychiatrist, he met me in the lobby
He said In all the years I've been doing this
I haven't been this concerned about the results
and he went on to tell me a story, Ian had told him about
he was walking into a room with bare feet
and could feel a sensation under his feet
that he couldn't recognize. All of a sudden he looked and realized
that is was my dismembered body all over the floor
that he was trotting over
You don't want to hear that really, do you?
How old is he? - Six
Six years old?.
Do you ever enjoy your mania or do you find it a real touch?
No, I mean I don't like it
When you do something bad like throwing something
In a bad mood or in a fight or something?
Yeah, do you feel it is you and that you are right to be in a bad mood
and the rest of the world is shit?
Yeah, I do
Diagnosed at 11, Ian is now 16, by that age I'd already been expelled from school
so listening to him reminds me of my own attitude
It's actually a drive
it is like it's feeding some a need that he has. You can see it
Yes, it is a kind of a drive something I need, something that happens
Ian's brother Todd is 13. He was diagnosed when only 8
His behaviour even at the special schools Suzy has managed to get both boys into
is causing problems.
While I am with her she is called to the school
Normally I'm not here until 2:30, but I got a call from the administrators
saying that Todd a difficult morning
He had actually unfortunately thrown a chair at a staff member and hit him.
Was there a reason or were you just cross?
I just wanted to take a walk because
I was kind of feeling pumped and angry
and they wouldn't let me do that
So I just kind of got mad
Yeah and hurled the chair at the guy
I was about eight or nine. There was a nurse at my school
I was turn do my laces up and she told me to do double laces.
and I did not know what that meant.
and I actually slapped her right across in the face.
I've never known anything like that absolute rage inside me
and it was such a stupid thing, because she told me how to do my laces up
After a blow, especially a major one very often he'll shut down like this
I mean, I know that he is suspended for three days
He is been suspended for three days?
I know Todd's school sees it as bad behaviour
but I have to say I feel a twinge of sympathy
I recognize the rage being in the grip of powerful feelings
and the shame that comes afterwards.
but Todd and Ian are different from me in one key respect
at the same age they know they have an illness
On the other hand, I know from speaking to psychiatrists in Britain
that they don't agree with labelling children at such a young age
The norm in Britain is 19
So I wanted to speak to the consultant, who diagnosed Ian and Todd
Kiki Chang is well placed to talk about this
Not only does he run a research project at the prestigious Stanford University
just outside San Francisco but also he has a 2 year old child
and knows that some of his colleagues would diagnose as young as that
Once you get down to say age 2 or 3
it is very normal to have complete discontrol over your mood
tantrums and crying one minute and laughing the next minute
but I suddenly have colleagues who are clear
that they see it in 3 year olds even
certainly I have seen children who I think
were 4,5 who fit the bipolar criteria
they're having wild mood shifts and they're having unsafe behaviour
they're not functioning enough developing correctly
but losing a lot of time in their normal development
Everyone remembers the rise of ADHD over the 80's and 90's
and indeed the cynics will always say
Well, this is a new fashionable label to put on a bad kid a disrupted kid
I would be careful to say that. I don't think we are over diagnosing
I think that by increasing the diagnosis you're catching more people.
It's good because it then leads them to a Bipolar diagnosis and
they realize that there is something going on
that is maybe treatable and is not their fault
Ian, come take your meds
For Kiki Chang diagnoses is good news
For Ian and Todd it means medication
Ian showed me how much he takes every day
Welcome to our pharmacy - We're proud of it
So you go Prozac, Lamictal, Pederol Klonapin, is like a tranquilizer type?
I can tell they help me behave when I have a hard time
This is Ambien that I take.. - It's a sleeping pill, isn't it?
and Concerta I take in the morning. Concerta is a like a Ritalin kind of
It takes me the better part of an hour to stand an fill both of their medication
All of that to take the edge of a 16 year old wilder behaviour
what I think, I'm not sure
I know British psychiatrists are concerned about
the harm strong drugs might do to young brains
especially when they are not a 100% sure the diagnosis is correct
If the drugs help Ian and Todd to avoid wrecking their lives
and their mothers then surely that is a good conclusion
Would I've wanted diagnoses at 16 if it meant being on medication since then?
I feel that in some ways I've been helped by my manic depression
and that complicates my view Would I have had success without it?
Would you know me if I wasn't driven by its energy to be creative?
Oh stop it, thank you thank you How kind
I am delighted
honoured and let's not be coy about these things
financially rewarded
This is a stressful time, because
out for everyone else you make an ars of yourself
intentionally in front of people you admire
Stress is often a key factor that people say
pushing them into the manic depression
and certainly when I was diagnosed
the psychiatrist told me not to work so hard
Relax avoid stressful situations
and as you can see I took his advice seriously
Enjoyable some people might imagine This kind of thing is
they're the same kind fun that is enjoyable
perhaps someone stops cigarettes out on your nipples
in certain dark clubs and I could believe are called torture gardens
in the leakier areas of the West End Come in!
and for the week leading up to it I had the most appalling anxiety dreams
in which I dropped out of my clothes or
pee myself in the rows of the front of the stage
I do not know if I stress is what puts me into a cycle of mania or depression
I can't think of time in my life when I haven't been subject to stress
Happy, ha. I remember that. Seven years old, ice cream, holidays.
That was happy Not since then really
Stress is something I can't live without
on the other hand it is a dangerous thing
No disasters so far, but it is hot work
I can't fucking wait until it's over, frankly
Oh God, here we go again
I am delighted, honoured
and let's not be too coy about these things
financially rewarded
to welcome you to this most prestigious...
Well the real thing seems to go off ok for another year
I do manage to function despite my manic depression
and I'm sure it does help me to succeed
and that's the problem with connecting stress
to the onset of manic depression
My stress is your easy day at the office
One person coped, the other goes mad
I've come to Cornwall to see how manic depression wrecked
the career the marriage
and almost took the life of a man
who once was Lieutenant Commander
on the Royal Yacht Britannia
Here we are Princess Margaret one side Lieutenant Commander Harvey there
and Majesty the Queen there
22 years ago
You were a well bunny then weren't you? Oh yes, I was well
Four years on the Royal yacht led to a senior posting in NATO
Under huge pressure working in a nuclear bunker
Rod became so deeply depressed he had a breakdown
My self confidence seemed to be just seeping away and my self-esteem
and could not sleep awful sort of feeling, desperation
Eventually invalid out of the Navy he still became
secretary of the Royal Yacht Club in Plymouth
that lasted until at a prise giving ceremony
Rod now manic awarded it to the wrong person
The real winner wouldn't accept Rod's apology
And through in the end I just lost it and in front of all spectators
I just shouted, excuse my French, Fuck Off! and marched off into the night
I actually hallucinated by seeing the devil
burning black coals of these eyes of the devil
that is what I saw that was frightening
I believed that I was Jesus at that time you know
though I couldn't tell people that because then I wouldn't be Jesus
Rod was brought back to England
and sectioned at this psychiatric hospital in Plymouth
He was now overwhelmed with depression
I was experiencing pain in my head. I've been given a touch of hell
I was meant to find out what hell feels like
So I contrived to escape from the hospital
They let me leave the unit to go upstairs to
turn right to the occupational therapy unit
So I did turn right
I kept walking through the main doors
to the dual carriageway
walked a bit down away from the roundabout
so that vehicles can pick up speed
waited for a lorry to come along
and then walked in front of it
I had actually compound fractures of both legs and every bone in my legs
I have to lower my trousers to actually see the full extend really
I have seen many naval officers in this condition don't worry
I'm not like this
Oh my Goodness no, oh God That is really extraordinary
Please give a twirl at this
That is indicative of what must have been a savage injury
That all happened over ten years ago
and with medication, Rod says his condition is now stabilized
But twice a year in the spring and in the autumn
he starts to feel the mania build again
and despite what's happened to him
he is reluctant to take extra medication to control it
I believe there is another world running in parallel to the normal
inverted comma's boring, which I find boring, world
that there is another world
and that the curtain gets lifted, the vale gets lifted
when I'm psychoticly manic
and then I enter into the parallel world
and then I see things in a totally different way
I will go into pubs and I will see angels
I know that they know who I am
and I know who they are
and we have a tremendous sort of bond between us
because of a shared knowledge
Do you regret the fact that you are born with this strange disorder
that is called bipolar or manic depression?
That's a very easy question there is a very easy answer
No - You don't regret it - No, not for a second
Because when you walked with angels
all the pain and suffering is well worthwhile
You'll be pleased to know I don't see angels
or the devil or think I am Jesus
on the other hand I agree with Rod
we manic depressives do love our manic periods
and I know that doesn't help diagnosis
when we are UP we are not ill, don't be silly
we're fine no need for a doctor
But that doesn't disguise the fact, that Rod so nearly killed himself
and that he really wanted to when he was in the grip
from the other side of this illness
The legacy of any suicide for the family left behind, is extremely painful
but when the cause is manic depression suicide also leaves fear
The fear that the same thing might happen again
with another member of the family
because manic depression is an illness that always handed down in families
and that is what brought me further down the coast in Cornwall to see an old friend
who's had to life with that thought since he was 18
that's when he found out that his father was bipolar
and this is where you would come every summer holiday?
Yes, we were. There are great memories to me as a child, I must say.
We used to sit out on that deckchairs on that slate bit down there
With lashings and lashings of lemonade
It is very 'Famous Five', isn't it?
Just imagine having every summer holiday here
So, I mean, slightly mixed emotions that you coming back here, I suppose
Yes, because my father actually killed himself
Over there actually so it is not the best place for me
One of the heartbreaking things about his suicide is that he actually
went out with his sister your aunt
and threw himself of that cliff in front of her
He dived off, you know so I mean he wasn't messing about
I'm afraid they've all broken up a bit
Let's try to find a decent picture of him
There he is - That's your father
The idea of having a loony father is just
very a sort of embarrassing and shameful really
I was 18, I was so keen to a sort of hide the whole business really
You just want to be normal at that age, you know
I just became morbidly sort of aware of it and very very depressed
and you get this panic attacks
My way of coping with it was to to sort of like almost pretend it haven't happened
Shortly after he died I went away to Australia, America and Mexico for two years
just running away from it really
Rick returned and build a huge success story
just miles from where his father died
but he also spent his life wondering
if he'd inherit the condition that made his father kill himself
I was always so worried then about ending up like him
The thing is that he thought I was particularly like him
and I think he was incredibly troubled by that
My father didn't show signs of it until his mid-forties really
I am well over it now then I think about my sons too
My sons are still in their mid-twenties so there is plenty of time
Do you see a psychotherapist? - I do I do
And that is helpful?
Yes, it is I do believe
The only problem with seeing a psychotherapist
really what happened to you as a child is indelibly printed on your brain
They fuck you up, your mom and dad
What the research shows is that if you have manic depression
someone in your family would have had it before you
It could be a grandparent, aunt or uncle as well as a parent
often they might not have been diagnosed
So there appears to be no warning, but there will be somebody
On the other hand as Rick's experience shows
just because your father has it doesn't mean that you'll necessarily get it
but the worry remains for bipolar parents "Will I pass it on?"
And now for bipolar mothers researchers have made another devastating discovery
Pregnancy itself and the act of childbirth are now proved
to be enormously dangerous to mental health
of women who are already bipolar
When I saw you, Gaynor, I said that in my opinion
the risk that you had of becoming unwell again
in pregnancy or certainly following the delivery were very high
I think probably 60 percent or more
is the kind of rate of risk you need to think about
Gaynor Thomas lives in Wales and is part of
the same research study that I'm involved in
She is trying to decide whether she dare risk getting pregnant again
knowing that her manic depression has already led to unusual behaviour
I had delusions of grandeur
Did you believe you were richer then you were or better born
or some believe they're princesses or
Mine were quite religious in nature
One of the episodes I thought that I was
one of God's chosen people for want of a better word
I thought that I was able to heal people
I thought I had special powers
and I thought that I kind of sent to
gather together a group of people
to change the world in some way
I was seeing a psychotherapist at the time and
she identified that my ideas were becoming very strange
and called in what would have been the equivalent of
the Community Mental Health Team
who treated me at home
- With medication? - With medication, yes
And then came a very dramatic thing
a very wonderful thing for most people, which is pregnancy
and you did had a manic episode while pregnant. How did that show itself?
that the more religious side came in after I have had Thomas
All I just thought was that he was not just a special baby
but a VERY special baby
Like a Messiah - Almost. Almost to that degree, yes
and that I kind of been ad chosen to give birth to him
and together we were going to change the world
It is such a small step and yet it's such a huge one
in terms of embarrassment if you would say it at a party
There is a way of saying My child is the centre of my universe
then saying My child is the centre of the universe
Initially it was postnatal euphoria, but it became postnatal mania
I could not sleep, was so excited
I called the psychiatrist and said I think need to see somebody
because things are kind of getting out of control
Gaynor was a sectioned in in a psychiatric hospital for a month
The drugs the hospital put her on calmed her down but
now she is frightened that it might happen all over again if she gets pregnant
Ian Jones told me Gaynor is right to be scared
Women with bipolar disorder have very high risk
of having much more severe episode of illness
in relationship to childbirth
often with psychotic symptoms like hallucinations or delusions
These episodes can be some of the most severe episodes
of illness that we see in psychiatric practice
Really? In all psychiatric practice?
The last two confidential enquiries on maternal death have showed us that
suicide is now the leading cause of death to women around childbirth in this country
Gaynor wants Thomas to have a brother or sister
but Ian Jones' information is hard to ignore
It made me just re-think the whole idea of having a baby
you know I am sad but I won't be able to have another child
Perhaps for Thomas his sake
but I got to accept that the risks are probably too high
As you say you don't know what might have happened
No, precisely
I love the heels of his shoes
Manic depression's capacity to destroy the lives of people
makes it all the more important
to be diagnosed early, but often it goes undetected
because what most sufferers do to help them cope with the mood swings
they cover up their symptoms
Certainly I did for almost twenty years
It is called self-medication or as you would quite properly call it
the taking of excessive amounts of drink and drugs
Vodka and cocaine in my case
The effect of it is that coke is a stimulant and alcohol is a sedative, supposedly
and I am naturally often so manic and energetic
that I often took coke to calm me down
I found it very hard to go to any kind of party without knowing
there were a couple of grams in my wallet I just had to have them there
I find it slightly embarrassed by using a phrase like self-medication
because it sounds like you know you're sort of excusing yourself or
saying you're doing it for noble reasons
I did find and this is the point
that it stopped one from feeling in a strange kind of way
You're no longer sort of depressed or manic
you're just going. You're just 'on'
That's what I was doing all during my successful 80's and 90's
My friends if they thought about it at all
would have said heavy user not manic depressive
They did mistaken the symptoms for the cause
and that happens a lot
I did it with someone I went to university with
worked on the stage and TV with and even made a film with
The first time it really manifested itself was at the time
when I was doing this film Peter's Friends
I was having a gloriously happy time
I was in employment and I had money
All my personal life was happy
So, on paper there was absolutely no reason for me to be suddenly plunged.
Into this sort of pit of abnormal psychology, this low mood
I wasn't drinking excessively then
I wasn't taking any kind of psychotropic substance
either prescribed or proscribed and it came out of the blue
You know if you're down and you can see a reason why you should be down
then that brings with it a certain clarity
But if there is no reason you tend to think
Why on earth am I feeling like this? I don't understand
If left to your own devices, you can often try and stop the cycle of
ups and downs through self-medication
Indigestion of alcohol and narcotics, cocaine in particular
but with me the depression came before the substance abuse
Everyone thinks that depression is being a very low desponded mood
but there is agitated depression there is psychomotor agitation
where you endlessly pacing and you can't sleep and you're short tempered
I rented a huge warehouse by the river Thames
and just stayed in there on my own and I didn't open any mail
or answered any phone calls for months and months and months
and in this pool of rapid cycling despair and mania
three full bar optics of vodka
to try to get you to sleep when you haven't been to sleep for 3 days
spending time howling at the moon and throwing your furniture in the Thames
which's what I did - Really?
Yes. threw my electrical equipment in the Thames
a long time ago this was
with the river police going up and down with their megaphone saying
"Tony stop throwing things in the Thames"
- Did they know who you were? - They did they did
- That is that Tony Slatterly - That is that Tony Slatterly of the TV
Yes, that was thankfully was a long time ago that was a dark hour
So, I suppose where I'm leading to is this question
Here is a button and if I'd have to press that button
you would take away every aspect of your bipolarity / cyclothymiacs
and still not caused you the greatest happiness over the years
but maybe it has something to do with who you are Do you want that button?
No, I keep it
At the moment because I'm in a equable state I choose
not to press the button but I'd like to have the option
Everybody I've spoken said that
It says something about manic depression
despite being the greatest killer of all psychiatric illnesses
many of those suffering from it if given a chance,
don't want to get rid of it
If I'm honest, I don't
but I came across one woman who absolutely would press the button
Connie Perris lives in Birmingham and it is just in her forties
Her symptoms are so severe that she divides her life into before bipolarity and after
One of the difficulties is coming in here and feeling a bit paranoid
I see what I think is all looking at me.
Why is he looking at me? Why is he watching me?
She is following me.
And then I think he is giving me funny looks
Then it clicks in, the thinking I am getting paranoid again
He's giving me funny looks because I give them funny looks
Before she was a lawyer,
Captain in the Territorial Army
a black belt in Aikido
and active in the community
now Connie can hardly get to the shops
When I'm very depressed, I slow down and slow down and slow down
and it gets to the point which I'm not moving at all
In my head, I can see I can hear
but somehow I just don't have the energy or the oomph to move forward
and it can be a bit embarrassing when I'm at the shops
and just get stuck there not moving
Could we before we before we do that
can I just pace up and down the corridor slightly
because I'm getting quite shaky - Of course you can, I'm sorry
I feel the shake is getting slightly worse - Yes, have a pace
Oh wow, that is a quite a serious slab of medication, isn't it
Two different ones that try to stop me going too high and too low
One slows down the swings and one stops going to high
The stuff for my thyroid because that also slows mood swings down
Something to help me sleep and
something to do with paranoia and other psychotic thinking
and then there is the mineral supplements
try to stop my hair falling out from the mood stabilizers
Golly wolly, every day? - Every day
in your depressions have you considered you know
the worst side of depression what is suicide?
In a period of four days
I took an overdose I stepped right in front of an oncoming train
I tried to drill a hole in my head with an electric drill
and I cut my wrists
dig a hole in your head with an electric drill that's is extreme
I was just so utterly despair I didn't think I could take anymore
How do you see the future?
I do not see it I try to take it a minute at a time
because at the moment I don't see it
I'd like to. I really wish I could, but at the moment I don't
I so very much bitterly resent having manic depression
I wish I could say otherwise but that is how I feel I resent it deeply
It's perhaps a hard fact but one we should face
that of those people who have severe bipolarity
and aren't receiving treatment, half attempts suicide
and 20 percent succeed
Having met Connie I realized I was lucky
originally to be diagnosed at the mild end of the bipolar scale
But that was 11 years ago
now I'm concerned to know how my way of dealing with it
will affect my rating on Professor Craddock's scale for mania
A zero on that scale is someone who
has absolutely no features of being bipolar at all
Between 1 and 39 that is somebody who
has what we call subclinical episodes of mania
40 to 59 on our scale is people who
only get hypo manias That's the milder episodes
and then 60 and above is the range where people experience full manias
From what you've told me, you would score probably about 70
To be honest, I wonder if you've got close to
having grandiose delusions in that first episode
If you did on our scale that would actually put you above 80
Well it's good to know I'm not wasting your time
and that my little genes may be of some help in your research
I didn't expect that. It's worrying that I seem to be getting worse
Clearly I must now consider treatment
I haven't been on any medication since my original diagnosis
Should I be?
I think my life needs to change dramatically
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[subtitled] Part 1: Stephen Fry The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive

14842 Folder Collection
Weil published on October 26, 2014
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