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Swainer


Member

Posted Fri Jan 16th, 2009 10:35pm Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
I have a friend who's suffering from BPD and who is in the early stages (twice 'sectioned' so far). The problem is that he refuses to take the advice of his doctors and take medication. He watched "The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive" and he now clings to the idea that "if Stephen Fry doesn't take medication then he needn't do so". I realise the naiveté of this position from every point of view but he's a member of what I like to call the 'brown bottle brigade' and such anecdotal evidence has a big impact on him.

Recently someone told me that Stephen Fry gave a recent interview (I think, in relation to his American series) where he admitted to taking medication. Can anyone confirm this? And, if so, does anyone know where I might get a copy of the interview? It would be VERY useful.

Thanks in advance

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Sat Jan 17th, 2009 2:14am Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
is it in the decaying body graveyard bit in the America by taxi series ?

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katysara


Moderator

Posted Sat Jan 17th, 2009 11:24am Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
No Stephen does not and has never take any medication for his bipolar disorder. He took zy/ban (?) for a period of time to help him quit smoking - nothing to do with the bipolar disorder, though you could argue to your friend that when Stephen was faced with something he couldn't control he took the meds. Stephen has cyclothymia (so the story goes). He has not been sectioned, he has not even been in a psych hospital as a patient (I believe from TSLOTMD he was in a private hospital after his West End walk out, but stated quite clearly he had never been in a mental hospital when he visited one for the program). In other words, your friend clearly has a more severe/acute form of the illness. Meds are needed.

Sorry I can't help you with the show - have you searched Youtube?

KSx

I am an administrator on this site.

"Having a great intellect is no path to being happy."
~ Stephen Fry

See my website: www.katysaraculling.com

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Mister


Member

Posted Sat Jan 17th, 2009 8:00pm Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
When I was in the hospital some years ago, with pneumonia, I had to take a lot of meds, for months. For a day there was a lady in the bed next to me, who also had pneumonia, she refused to take any meds, because she didn't want to be immune if anything worse came along. If i had done the same as this lady, I probably would have died, because she had a "light" form of it and I had had double sided toxic Pneumonia with burns inside my lungs.

So, not taking any meds because someone else doesn't isn't always the best idea, you have to work from yourself. It's like using someone else's test results.

But on the other hand, I also refuse to take my meds against bipolar 2, because they make me miserable and I hate them. But then again, I never did anything truly drastic. So I guess you should just talk to him, and say that you worry, and that you see this from a different angle. I know that seeing yourself as "loony" enough to take drugs, can be really, really hard.

Beautiful thing, the destruction of words.

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Nitro


Member

Posted Mon Jan 19th, 2009 3:45am Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
I'm not bi-polar, but my closest friend was (RIP).

The problem with more severe forms of bi-polar is that the person enjoys the 'high' end so much. Why take meds when you feel great? And the slump, well, the thinking is that will pass eventually.

I went through some really rough periods with my friend. It took a good two years before she'd even consider medication. She was hospitalized several times, usually begrudgingly, and when she finally did concede she might be more stabilized with medications, it took some months of tweaking before the docs found the right balance for her.

I think what finally, finally convinced her was more a result of repeated conversations - during her more rational frames of mind - where an emphasis was placed on the argument that went something like this:

If you had a heart disease and needed meds, you wouldn't think twice about it. If you had a broken bone, you would willingly wear the cast. But what you actually have is a brain that has some chemicals which surge and create all kinds of bothersome thoughts and resulting behaviors and choices that make your daily life erratic and difficult to get through. There are medications for that just as there are for heart disease. She never had a good answer to that and the logic eventually convinced her. When she complained about side effects, she just had to be reminded that the meds have to be tailored to the individual because the brain's a bit more complex that way than a broken bone.

I wish you luck with your friend. Please remind him that he wasn't born with Mr.Fry's brain, nor vice-versa, so his logic is faulty in terms of it being used to rationalize not taking medication his brain needs.

Really? Wow.

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michael


Member

Posted Tue Jan 20th, 2009 5:28pm Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
i don't think the series was meant to give the impression that someone can deal with bp without any treatment; i think maybe as he's "shopping around" he doesn't advocate one because it'd be ethically...tangling...to be a celebrity and say you used one treatment and not another. you dig?

"HELLO I'M TACTILE !" is an anagram of my name

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katysara


Moderator

Posted Tue Jan 20th, 2009 9:06pm Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
Actually I thought he pretty much said no medication was his chosen route and people may well copy him (hence this thread). However, he was very firm in stating he has cyclothymia/bipolar-lite and that it was something he had managed to make work for him and would not be right for everybody - he can afford his manic spending, I can't afford mine! That's just one example, and a nice one at that.

KSx

I am an administrator on this site.

"Having a great intellect is no path to being happy."
~ Stephen Fry

See my website: www.katysaraculling.com

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Swainer


Member

Posted Wed Jan 21st, 2009 2:01am Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
Thanks for all the responses so far. It seems that Stephen Fry doesn't take medication after all :'(

The other problem with my friend is that he doesn't accept that his manic episodes are as negative a thing (to both himself and those around him) as people would have him believe. His view is that he's a 'man of the world' in a way that those around him are not... and that, necessarily, those around him are way too conservative about the limits they put on behavior...and that includes his doctors and the medical establishment.

Basically, he doesn't think he has a big problem. And when you point out that he's been sectioned twice, he blames it on other people over-reacting at the time. And that inevitably means he blames his girlfriend and family/friends, which means they fall out for weeks/months at a time.

The 'Stephen Fry' excuse is just the next and latest finger of dubious logic that he's relying on, and which is the latest one that we need to prise off.

I'm pretty surprised that more people haven't 'called' Stephen Fry 'out' on the question of whether his decision not to take medication is consistent with medical advice. Given what I know so far, both about BPD and Stephen Fry's history, it doesn't seem likely that it is!

I think those that have the best interests of sufferers of BPD at heart, may have manufactured a golden calf in our friend, Mr. Stephen Fry.

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Nitro


Member

Posted Wed Jan 21st, 2009 4:58am Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
Thanks for all the responses so far. It seems that Stephen Fry doesn't take medication after all :'(

The other problem with my friend is that he doesn't accept that his manic episodes are as negative a thing (to both himself and those around him) as people would have him believe. His view is that he's a 'man of the world' in a way that those around him are not... and that, necessarily, those around him are way too conservative about the limits they put on behavior...and that includes his doctors and the medical establishment.

Basically, he doesn't think he has a big problem. And when you point out that he's been sectioned twice, he blames it on other people over-reacting at the time. And that inevitably means he blames his girlfriend and family/friends, which means they fall out for weeks/months at a time.

The 'Stephen Fry' excuse is just the next and latest finger of dubious logic that he's relying on, and which is the latest one that we need to prise off.

I'm pretty surprised that more people haven't 'called' Stephen Fry 'out' on the question of whether his decision not to take medication is consistent with medical advice. Given what I know so far, both about BPD and Stephen Fry's history, it doesn't seem likely that it is!

I think those that have the best interests of sufferers of BPD at heart, may have manufactured a golden calf in our friend, Mr. Stephen Fry.

I really feel for you Swainer. It's difficult sometimes to help a friend who has BPD. They often do not realize how exhausting they can become.

My friend also blamed hospitalization on the 'over reactions' of family and friends. As for the 'man of the world' comment, my friend had something similar though she took it a step further, convinced that her insights were a result of just being on to something the rest of the world wasn't.

During her manic episodes, everything, everything, everything had some deeper meaning right down to cigarette ashes X-D She would become convinced that all she surveyed was not actually real, but a three dimensional metaphor for the Heaven. And when she wanted to talk about these things she would go on for hours. At first, I would entertain these conversations because one of the hallmarks of our friendship had been that we would have lengthy philosophical discussions. But in her manic phase, it twisted into her having some incredible insight, a greater understanding as it were, than the rest of us.

When she became depressed she'd also become morose, unwilling to talk, and hole up inside her house. She didn't want any social visits in part because they exhausted her quickly and in part because she simply didn't want anyone seeing her enveloped in a black cloud. It was only during these very bleak periods that she'd think for herself that, yes, medication might make her feel better. Never during the 'highs', when she could go without sleep for days and thought she could save everyone with her elaborate insights.

The good news is, that she eventually got the medications 'right' for her and she was 'herself' again. Her goals became clear, she excelled at work, she didn't experience anymore of those deeply depressing periods that made her feel very lonely, and she fell in love again.

Because she never behaved like a full blown 'crazy' person, in the sense she hallucinated and responded to unreal things all the time or went around barking at people, it took much longer for her to come around to meds because she acted just normal enough. she didn't need meds.

Anyway, I wish you luck with your friend. Hang in there. They really are the same person. They're just a person now whose BPD symptoms are becoming increasingly apparant.

Really? Wow.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Wed Jan 21st, 2009 10:23am Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
May I say that BPD is generally recognised as the acronym for Borderline Personality Disorder not Bipolar Disorder, which in my experience of mental health settings in UK is known as Bipolar Disorder or BD or (i think - i would have to look it up in notes) Mood Affective Disorder

I am an ex-Borderline Personality Disorder patient who does not wish people unfamiliar with these terms to think Bipolar Disorder and BPD are the same thing - they are very different in many ways, with different causes, though they share symptoms to a degree.

Chris

In my experience of being in closed therapeutic groups the most effective remedy for the people i have known with BD has been a combination of medication and dialectical behavioural therapy - this does result in less chaotic experiences for the people with Bipolar in those groups.

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michael


Member

Posted Wed Jan 21st, 2009 4:26pm Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
However, he was very firm in stating he has cyclothymia/bipolar-lite and that it was something he had managed to make work for him and would not be right for everybody

KSx

oh, that makes sense. thanks for clearing that up.

i don't think he needs "calling out", he never advocated one thing for all people. he went a long ways in the doc to find people at all points in the spectrum, and to educate the public about how differently it affects people and what different treatments there are.

Swainer, pointing that out may help your friend, and it may not. They probably don't reason things out right now the way that other people do. i think that's where the problem lies, not in Mr Fry's decisions about how he chooses to live his life, but in HOW your friend makes their decisions. that's tough.

however, i see what you're doing, if that's the way he's thinking, you're trying to come at it from his point of view, even though you know it's not a good way to reason things out.

katysara, do you have any material from the bipolar foundation that includes words from him? i could swear i remember something that said "with help you can feel better"...but don't see it on that site. maybe it was on the bbc site. even something like that might help?

"HELLO I'M TACTILE !" is an anagram of my name

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michael


Member

Posted Wed Jan 21st, 2009 4:34pm Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
P.S. Swainer, if i sound preachy regarding your friend's situation, i'm sorry! don't mean to. i know it's hard, and i don't want to be a hypocrite...i make weird decisions for distorted reasons sometimes myself. some of them, tbh, i don't regret, but others i do. and these days sometimes a good friend helps me realize when i'm making too much out of a little thing and i'm thankful for that.

"HELLO I'M TACTILE !" is an anagram of my name

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Swainer


Member

Posted Wed Jan 21st, 2009 4:42pm Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?

i don't think he needs "calling out", he never advocated one thing for all people. he went a long ways in the doc to find people at all points in the spectrum, and to educate the public about how differently it affects people and what different treatments there are.
Hang on. Stephen Fry met almost universal acclaim for his series on the subject. He also commands a lot of public respect and so anything he does or says has a big impact...on my friend's health for example. He therefore has some kind of moral responsibility to ensure that what he does or says doesn't set a bad example. Refusing to take medication contrary to medical advice is probably one of the worst cases of setting a bad example that I can think of...hardly deserving of public acclaim.

So...yes...of course he should be 'called out' to explain his position and I find it frustrating that he hasn't been.

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Nitro


Member

Posted Wed Jan 21st, 2009 4:55pm Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
May I say that BPD is generally recognised as the acronym for Borderline Personality Disorder not Bipolar Disorder,

Chris


Of course you can say so Chris, and just did. Thanks for pointing that out. I'm not a psychiatrist and don't know every acronym for all illnesses. I suppose I was just assuming in the context of this particular forum and discussion that my shortening "bi-polar disorder" to BPD would be understood. Sort of like 'ta ta for now' to ttfn X-D And my friend didn't have borderline personality disorder, but definently bi-polar.

Really? Wow.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Wed Jan 21st, 2009 4:59pm Post subject: Does Stephen Fry take any bi-polar medication?
Em, not sure if this will be of any help but thought I'd post it anyway...


http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/tv_and_radio/secretlife_documentary.shtml

If you don't want to read it all, I think this explains his position...


Q: What's your own experience of having bipolar disorder?
Stephen: I approach it from the point of view of one who suffers, according to a psychiatrist at least, from cyclothymia which is sometimes called 'bipolar light'.

I take that to mean I have most of the benefits of hypomania, a slightly less psychotic form of energy, vitality and exuberance and some, one hopes, creativity.There are certainly spending sprees but happily very little promiscuity. That's just my good fortune in this regard.

Q: Do you take medication?
Stephen:
I'm fortunate enough not to be medicated or, so far as I can tell, need medication. But the idea that once you start on medication and each time you go off it you seem to get worse is a very grim one. It really is a very serious condition.

Tg

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