Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive

Episode 1

Episode 2

  • More Options

VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
Rating: 9.5/10 based on 160 votes cast.
Is This Documentary Broken?
(Click Here To Let Us Know)

Stephen Fry presents this documentary exploring the disease of manic depression; a little understood but potentially devastating condition affecting an estimated two percent of the population.

Stephen embarks on an emotional journey to meet fellow sufferers, and discuss the literal highs and lows of being bi-polar.

Celebrities such as Carrie Fisher and Richard Dreyfuss invite the comedian into their home to relate their stories.

Plus Stephen looks into the lives of ordinary people trying to deal with the illness at work and home, and of course to the people studying manic depression in an effort to better control it. A fascinating, moving and ultimately very entertaining Emmy Award-winning programme.

Related Documentaries

From The Web

  • Pingback: Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive » WeNewsIt()

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=684021941 Jamie Munro-Naan

    Fantastic insight to Bipolar disorder

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=684021941 Jamie Munro-Naan

    Fantastic insight to Bipolar disorder

  • DaveBridge

    Outstanding Doc,I do hope it gets well distributed,I know some  MD’s that should see it,and I wish I had 50 yrs ago.

  • DaveBridge

    Outstanding Doc,I do hope it gets well distributed,I know some  MD’s that should see it,and I wish I had 50 yrs ago.

  • DaveBridge

    Outstanding Doc,I do hope it gets well distributed,I know some  MD’s that should see it,and I wish I had 50 yrs ago.

  • Megan Mindykowski

    I have bipolar and I’m a great fan of Stephen Fry, so I was excited to see this documentary. He did such a great job with it.

  • Megan Mindykowski

    I have bipolar and I’m a great fan of Stephen Fry, so I was excited to see this documentary. He did such a great job with it.

  • Param

    It says in Russian that the “video is unavailable”. Could the administrators fix this, please?

  • GorgonzolaIsGreat

    What a giant load of bullshit. I don’t have bipolar, but so much is wrong with this documentary. Stephen Fry first says that there is NO physical differences in brains between normal and bipolar patients, yet says there is a ‘genetic’ theory which suggests its passed down magically through generations. If anyone knows anything about genetics they know genes can physically be measured by their chromosomes etc. It doesnt make sense that a there is no way to detect it. And lets not go into the way the “DSM” is created. Um, a hundred or so psychiatrists sit in a room, backed by giant drug companies, and ‘agree’ (without any proof at all besides observation and heresay from their own patients) that “This is a disease”. As soon as this happens, it gets adopted as law and is therefore treatable legally by a drug company. Look at oppositional defiance disorder as an example.

    I am so sympathetic with people who have psychological issues, but these do NOT need to be solved with good old fashioned legal meth (I am aware this is an overstatement but I am making a point here :) There are deeper issues at play which PsyCHIATrists are trained NOT to treat as psychological.

    For EVERY medical profession, there is always a rock hard proof of something existing, and therefore a test to a) prove it exists and b) prove the treatment has a positive physiological effect. Psychiatry and the drug industry are the biggest industries in the US, yet they have never proved to cure ANYONE.

    Thats my rant. I am sorry if i offend anyone. I don’t mean to sound impassionate to people who have psychological problems at all, I really do empathise. I just wish Mr Fry hadnt made this doco and made everything worse

    • Kirst

      I am disappointed at your ignorance Gorgon…t.  For someone as articulate as yourself, you obviously do not lack the capacity to understand a concept and show signs of self education albeit with erroneous opinion instead of substantiated fact.  Firstly a chromosome is made up of hundreds of genes, not the other way around.  A gene has a position on a chromosome.  A gene is essentially a small piece of code which is responsible for an instruction being sent to some other ‘thing’ in the anatomy of said life-form.  The full set of instructions being sent from genetic code to the rest of the body is NOT known by science, we have only just in the last 10 years identified the full set of genes and are still working on the full set of instructions.  However the amount of knowledge being gained in neuro-science is doubling approximately every 18 months in the last ten years (see Moore’s law).  We know very little but every small amount of knowledge gained is a giant leap in putting together everything we do know. 

      On the drug company conspiracy nut rant….. I think you will find the process of determining what is an illness and what is not an illness, is a very lengthy and bureaucratic process.  You must remember psychiatrists are first trained as doctors.  There are not many people in this world who give up close to 8 years of their lives to becoming a professional in that particular field who do not want to help people.  Those people who have malicious or self aggrandizing  intent are usually spotted and weeded out of many medical schools in the western world (where most of our psychiatrists are trained).   These people want to help people, they feel fulfilled in doing so.  Why would these people sell you out to a drug company?  For what possible motivation?  Don’t be silly.  Now to being totally ranting about the nature of medical discoveries.  .  .
      If you, with all your good intent, were to grow up wanting to change the lives of people for the better, with a determination to do the best you can, had gone to pharmacy school, and worked on different compositions to help one particular ‘disease’  …?  Would you sell out to a drug/any kind of company?  Would you be happy for your discovery to be buried?  What you are suggesting is that drug companies have no real investment in actual treatments for patients.  WHAT A MASS OF MISINFORMATION.  They are in the business of treatments dude…. They want to find things that help, why do you think they sink nearly 33% of profits into research and development (US stats only, European companies more!)  Don’t be an arse and go and read some MORE and get a credible view of whats going on instead of listening to every ‘hidden truth’ doco you see on the internet.  Look at the body of evidence and you may change your view.  Its not my wish to change your opinion, you need to do that yourself, because you are wrong.

      Rant done. 
      Regards
      K

    • locuscoeruleus

      He doesn’t say there aren’t any physical differences between bipolar brains and non-bipolar brains–he says that a brain “test”  for bipolar using a scan of the brain has not yet been developed. There has been research on neurobiological markers that indicate bipolar, but there are not a definitive set of markers for the disease. As far as the DSM, you are entirely incorrect on how that is developed. Entirely. Not only that, but the next edition of the DSM is being revised and revamped using extensive genetic research and pharmacogenetics. You may be sympathetic to people with “psychological issues”, but you still don’t seem to understand these issues very well. Not to mention that there is a difference between psychiatric and psychological issues. The thing about the brain is that it is a much more complicated subject than organs like kidneys and lungs so while there is much more work to be done to completely understand how the brain works. We actually do understand the physiological effects of psychiatric medicine, but it’s hard to explain the complete picture to other people unless the other person has some understanding of neuroscience and the complexity of the brain. I have a degree in neuroscience and I’m also a stable, medicated bipolar and I feel as if Mr. Fry did a great job with this documentary.

    • Guest

      Your dumb

    • guest1

      you sound like that friend I had who said they weren’t an alcoholic and were drinking when they said it. So I’m guessing you were told you were probably bipolar and don’t want to face it. Also I’m guessing you’re probably ADD because if you would have paid attention and didn’t look for a fight then you wouldn’t have missed the key points. 

      I’m sorry for you, I lived in denial for years. Get help, you’ll have a better quality of life. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/TheMasterJosh Joshua Hughes

      You obviously know nothing of medicine at all, specifically mental health.  It is biochemical differences in the brain that aren’t detectable by our modern scanning equipment.  All mental health conditions are diagnosed using a strict criteria based on specific behaviors and other factors.  There would be a physical way to detect these mental illnesses if our understanding of the brain was better.  Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to develop such equipment to find a hard proof of our mental illnesses.  People have fundraisers for cancer research and diabetes research, but how many mental illness fundraisers have you seen.  Mental illness is something most people are scared to even think about let alone talk about.

      If you understood medicine you would know that all of it is just a guessing game.  If it was as simple as you say, we wouldn’t need to have doctors go to medical school and we could just have a machine diagnose our physical problems.  Doctors rely on their training, knowledge, and experience to make the best guess and what the actual problem is and how to fix it.  My mom has atrial fibulation and atrial flutter.  Basically her heart skips beats and will beat at a few hundred times a second while she is sitting.  There is no magical cure for that.  She has had many different surgeries and now has a pacemaker.  Even the pacemaker wasn’t a magic bullet, her heart arythmia came back after a year.  My sister has Autism and there is no cure for that either.

      THERE IS NO CURE FOR MENTAL ILLNESSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I am a person with Bipolar II, severe ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome and social anxiety disorder.

      Medication only makes it easier to manage my mental illnesses.  They don’t make the illnesses go away.  It is the same way a diabetic has to continually take insulin for the rest of their lives.  Medication is also only part of the treatment process.  I used to be as ignorant as you thinking that medication would cure me from my deep depressions.  Now I use medication, daily coping mechanism, counseling, and support from friends to manage my mood swings.  

      In conclusion, GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ARSE!!!!!!!!

      • guest

        You rock!

    • Cig

      I read, quite painfully really, up until your comment saying psychiatrists sat in a room and made up the DSM. For one thing, the DSM was created before modern behavioral medicine, and two, it was created by psychologists, not psychiatrists. Not that you would know the difference.

  • GorgonzolaIsGreat

    What a giant load of bullshit. I don’t have bipolar, but so much is wrong with this documentary. Stephen Fry first says that there is NO physical differences in brains between normal and bipolar patients, yet says there is a ‘genetic’ theory which suggests its passed down magically through generations. If anyone knows anything about genetics they know genes can physically be measured by their chromosomes etc. It doesnt make sense that a there is no way to detect it. And lets not go into the way the “DSM” is created. Um, a hundred or so psychiatrists sit in a room, backed by giant drug companies, and ‘agree’ (without any proof at all besides observation and heresay from their own patients) that “This is a disease”. As soon as this happens, it gets adopted as law and is therefore treatable legally by a drug company. Look at oppositional defiance disorder as an example.

    I am so sympathetic with people who have psychological issues, but these do NOT need to be solved with good old fashioned legal meth (I am aware this is an overstatement but I am making a point here :) There are deeper issues at play which PsyCHIATrists are trained NOT to treat as psychological.

    For EVERY medical profession, there is always a rock hard proof of something existing, and therefore a test to a) prove it exists and b) prove the treatment has a positive physiological effect. Psychiatry and the drug industry are the biggest industries in the US, yet they have never proved to cure ANYONE.

    Thats my rant. I am sorry if i offend anyone. I don’t mean to sound impassionate to people who have psychological problems at all, I really do empathise. I just wish Mr Fry hadnt made this doco and made everything worse

    • Barney

      The best drug treatments for bipolar are all generics now.

  • William Miller

    I loved this documentary. Now I understand what my Father went through

  • who63

    I was very glad that i stumbled on this documentary . Having been married to a man for 13 years that was just diagnosed with MDD 3 months ago has been a roller coaster ride to say the least . He is also one who would not push the button ! I on the other hand would push it in a second for him . But would regret doing it as soon as i did . After watching  this i see hope for the future . Uncontroled mania has been hell and it is a blessing that more is being learned about how to get at least some control of mind back .

  • who63

    I was very glad that i stumbled on this documentary . Having been married to a man for 13 years that was just diagnosed with MDD 3 months ago has been a roller coaster ride to say the least . He is also one who would not push the button ! I on the other hand would push it in a second for him . But would regret doing it as soon as i did . After watching  this i see hope for the future . Uncontroled mania has been hell and it is a blessing that more is being learned about how to get at least some control of mind back .

  • Emeraldcitygirl2002

    I’m crying as I type this because I too got bi bolar because when i was little I was depressed. A wonderful thing happened to me I had a baby, but from the information in this excellent documentary, I now know why I got so bad after my baby was born. I went manic. I lost my husband, my mental condition was not healthy for my son so his father had him instead of me. I am so grateful for this film and feel so much love and compassion for Stephen and all the suffering he and I and everyone goes through. Unfortuneately, I don’t get the highs anymore due to being poiseded for years by inept doctors. I feel I will never be the same because of the pyschotropic drugs I have swallowed. I went from smart, outgoing beautiful and healthy, to being committed in horrible places having traumatic events that have caused me PTSD. My partner of 13 years who looked after me left me by calling the police while I was upset in a episode. I did nothing wrong but was jailed for 4 days in psych ward county jail. My disease has utterly taken every thing from me and to know it could get worse adn I could  end up taking my own life is not how I thought it would be when I was 7. I noticed someone below is making cruel comments about us. I won’t read it because that is the kind of thing that makes me feel unsafe, misunderstood and abandoned by society. God please don’t let my son get this. I have to watch the rest of the film now. alone having an episode and there is absolutey no where to get help, no family or friends who care. I am so grateful for this film and for Stephens and everyones  courage to tell such personal  and painful things to help stop people like the being below who called this “bullshit.” I will pray to get rid of his cruelty and ignorance. God bless.

    • Loops63

      Well said Deborah. I so understand.
      To the point..The others…do not know how it feels.
      Take care love.

  • Emeraldcitygirl2002

    I’m crying as I type this because I too got bi bolar because when i was little I was depressed. A wonderful thing happened to me I had a baby, but from the information in this excellent documentary, I now know why I got so bad after my baby was born. I went manic. I lost my husband, my mental condition was not healthy for my son so his father had him instead of me. I am so grateful for this film and feel so much love and compassion for Stephen and all the suffering he and I and everyone goes through. Unfortuneately, I don’t get the highs anymore due to being poiseded for years by inept doctors. I feel I will never be the same because of the pyschotropic drugs I have swallowed. I went from smart, outgoing beautiful and healthy, to being committed in horrible places having traumatic events that have caused me PTSD. My partner of 13 years who looked after me left me by calling the police while I was upset in a episode. I did nothing wrong but was jailed for 4 days in psych ward county jail. My disease has utterly taken every thing from me and to know it could get worse adn I could  end up taking my own life is not how I thought it would be when I was 7. I noticed someone below is making cruel comments about us. I won’t read it because that is the kind of thing that makes me feel unsafe, misunderstood and abandoned by society. God please don’t let my son get this. I have to watch the rest of the film now. alone having an episode and there is absolutey no where to get help, no family or friends who care. I am so grateful for this film and for Stephens and everyones  courage to tell such personal  and painful things to help stop people like the being below who called this “bullshit.” I will pray to get rid of his cruelty and ignorance. God bless.

  • Zaphodity

    Very interesting documentary. I don’t have bipolar but I do have PTSD. What a wonderful assortment of oddities we all are.

  • Deborah

    I think we have a great deal of Bi Polars here as we can see from some of the anger below. Personally, I’m just happy someone has come out with this film and it’s quality film making and these celebrities yield great power in helping get heard a subject that affects millions. Lets face it, if your a nobody, nobody tends to listen. To pick apart every little detail that was wrong, is just manic depressive behavior. We love you anyway.

    • Me

      very patronising Deborah

  • Atompa

    So bad he doesn’t understand anything of his problem. Nobody wants really to look into his/her past – relationship with parents. Why they don’t look at that instead of taking medication?

  • Atompa

    So bad he doesn’t understand anything of his problem. Nobody wants really to look into his/her past – relationship with parents. Why they don’t look at that instead of taking medication?

    • Deborah

      Oh, if it were that simple, we all would be cured. Appreciate the comment, don’t like the same old stigma. It’s a brain chemistry disease people. Can’t anyone get that through their sane minds?

  • Atompa

    So bad he doesn’t understand anything of his problem. Nobody wants really to look into his/her past – relationship with parents. Why they don’t look at that instead of taking medication?

  • Ronni

    I was married to a person with bi-polar who denied that he had it even though he was diagnosed at the age of eighteen and had manic episodes of extreme severity every two years. This documentary nailed every aspect of the disease right down to the drinking and drugs to try to cope with it and thinking that everyone else is crazy while you are perfectly fine. I wish I had this seven years ago. I might not have had to go through the torture that I went through and he might have gotten a better grip on himself sooner. Amazing work on this documentary, it needs to be shown to more people.

  • Stephaniedukopolis

    I’m just about 30 minutes into this documentary & I can’t help but make a quick observation. The older kid in San Fran. is downing his medication with a bottle of Coke. This makes me wonder what should be a fairly obvious question. What does this kid eat? Maybe more emphasis on diet & exercise is in order? I know this may seem like I’m oversimplifying a complex problem, however from my own battles with emotional ups & downs I can speak from experience that over medication is a trap. Dealing with what IS a health issue by eating a VERY controlled diet & exercising the body intensely before turning to a medicine cabinet full of potentially, ok, lets not mix words, definitely dangerous and addictive drugs is key to dealing with mental health issues.
    The kid downing his drugs with Coca Cola needs less drugs, less Coca Cola, less psychiatrists. Less coddling. He needs more exercise, more supportive environments, more NATURE, more chances to make mistakes and learn from them, more male role models. More days working real, hard challenging work.
    I hope that’s not too “P.C.” 

    • Maria

      stephaniedukopolis, that’s not pc at all. it’s offensive and ignorant. it’s demeaning to those of us who have very real and painful struggles who would love it if the answer were as simple as ‘more nature.’ if your solution were the cure for bipolar disorder, it wouldn’t be a disorder. it does seems like you are oversimplifying a very complex problem because YOU ARE. 

      bipolar disorder is not just ’emotional ups and downs.’ that phrase is one that people with bipolar disorder hear all the time, one that is used to minimize our suffering, to make it seem like we are just faking it. you have no idea the harm those words do, how many ignorant voices have spoken them. 

      please educate yourself and don’t invalidate the struggles of others just because it’s not your experience. some people, people with the privilege of relative mental health, who don’t know what it’s like, can afford to make your kinds of criticisms, but for others it is a matter of life and death.

      in addition, many people with bipolar disorder have other problems, like eating disorders, which means that “very controlled diet & exercising the body intensely” is much more dangerous than the drugs (which we already know carry serious adverse effects), in mental and physical terms. and even if more ‘supportive environments’ and ‘nature’ and ‘male role models’ were effective at all (I am not even going to get into that ‘male role models’ BS) a lot of people don’t have access to those things. at all. not even a little. 

      hopefully this gets through to someone… it’s usually a waste of time because the people who make those sorts of claims don’t seem to be able to accept the thought that they might not actually know what they’re talking about. 

      • Stephaniedukopolis

        Maria,

        I’m sorry you dislike my comment that taking care of ones health is a better solution than over medication with psychoactive drugs.
        I hope you get over your misandry. 
        I hope that you find peace in your life and I truly hope that you can start to listen and care more for yourself and others.
        You have made it very clear that you are a person with true problems & I wish you peace and happiness in your future.

        • LekarzTomek

          I must say, as a medical professional, that the logic to your point is quite comparable to the same idea that switching from conventional to synthetic motor oil will fix your car’s broken water pump. Make no mistake, proper diet and exercise, combined with a healthy dose of self-care go a long ways, but you must also understand that preventative maintenance is not the same as repair. 

          • Stephaniedukopolis

            Are you the Polish gynecologist?

          • Loops63

            I know you have very little knowledge. We can tell!
            I suggest you shoud stay away from this help site, as you obviously do not know what the hell you are talking about.. I don’t like my diagnosis. Taken 20 years for me to get help. I have a very sucessfull business, and twins that I have also brought up as a single parent.. We will try and deal with our BIPOLAR.

          • Stephaniedukopolis

            This is not a “help site” it’s a documentary post site.
            I’m glad you have a successful business. I do as well.

            btw there is a Polish gynecologist named Lekarz Tomek which was the reason I asked LekarzTomek if he was that person. I’m very impressed that you can tell my level of knowledge from a little post. You must be a really smart person. Good for you.

          • Ttt60

            i can also tell your level of knowledge from these posted – Sub zero is the term i would choose

          • Stephaniedukopolis

            you need a curb stomp bitch

          • Bravedavy

            you really are quite evil buddy

          • Guest

            What a horrendous comment, and what a clear indicator of your lack of respect and intelligence! Regardless of what your opinions may be or how they may differ to others, speaking to people in the manner that you do is pathetic, childish and abusive. I think it is you that needs peace and happiness in yourself as well as your life. People who are happy, peaceful and well informed can express opinion and have healthy debate without smug, insulting and offensive behaviour. It seems it is YOU also that may need to see your GP, or  shrink, as it is very clear you are ill equipped to deal with the diversity of opinions nor are you able to communicate clearly and express yourself non-aggressively! Thank goodness that the majority of people talking here, and in life, are not like you, for you have a nasty, cruel and narrow minded approach in how you deal with people and see things! 

          • Emilytheginga

             LOL…that is all.

        • Guest

          It sounds like Maria does care about herself and others. Just because she disagrees with you doesn’t mean she doesn’t care and listen. It’s quite obvious to me that she does.

          • Stephaniedukopolis

            you’re probably correct

        • Loops63

          Stephanie.  You have NO idea. How dare you!!!!!

          • Stephaniedukopolis

            NO idea? ok. note to self, don’t post anything slightly critical or R.D. Laingish when it comes to the hordes of mentally unstable drug addicted hordes of easily manipulated sheep.
            I guided a person with disorder bipolar once who completely broke down on the mountain telling me how he had never actually been put in a position where he had to face up to who he was or why. Being put in a situation where drugs, control, money, status, celebrity, had no bearing on the situation made this man come face to face with himself. Something I think would go a long way with those whose only answer to their issues is, as always, drugs.
            I’m not saying this to be mean, or nasty but because it seems that we are a society that refuses to WORK for health, weather that be a healthy body,healthy relationships, healthy society or more importantly, in this discussion, a healthy mind.
            You go take your pill, have some quack tell you that the crap & emotional distress you put on your loved ones is not your fault and all will be just fine. 
            I’m done here. 

          • Ttt60

            you replied to a post with “fuck you” and you expect a well spirited debate from there – STOP WASTING MY OXYGEN

          • Stephaniedukopolis

            you are no use to the rest of us, suck an exhaust pipe & stop expecting society to care for your depressed self absorbed shitty personality, or “bi-porality” as yu like too call it.

      • Guest

        While I agree that a lot of the comment was going too far (aka the male role models junk) , the idea that nutrition/exercise can make a big difference is a good point. I personally have been diagnosed with bipolar and was lucky enough to have an open psychiatrist who thought that perhaps those things could aid in my treatment. Along with that I took VERY large amounts of fish oil (10g of it) which has shown some promises in studies and obviously has no side effects unless you count good skin as a side effect. In the end I was able to slowly (3 months) and cautiously go off of my medication and haven’t been on it since. Considering how large of a portion of our brains is made of omega 3 fats its not really too big of a intellectual jump to find yourself at whats considered an “alternative” therapy. Anyways, just figured I’d throw my two cents in. Just because someone says something in an unintelligent way doesn’t mean that what they say does not hold any validity (referring to Stephaniewhateverhernamewas comment)

        • Stephaniedukopolis

          fuck you

          • NOT IMPRESSED

            You are a nasty person. Stay away.  Anymore I WILL REPORT you!

          • Stephaniedukopolis

            you are the nasty one, have your little pill, your mommy’s little helper.Will that help your “bipolarity”? Report me? to whom? your shrink?

          • Kaitlyn McWilliams

            You are a piece of shit. Hope that’s not too “P.C.” for you!

          • Ttt60

            you reply with that – get off the internet you waste of OXYGEN

          • Stephaniedukopolis

            you cheap fuck

        • Xliljanex

          I suffer from bi-polar myself and whilst I agree healthy diet and exercise can certainly help, I think it is ignorant for someone to say that I shouldn’t be on medication…. let’s just say before the medication I tried everything else (my doctors were keen to try everything else first) such as exercise, diet, therapy etc etc…. but in the end this DID NOT work…. I mean exercise and diet can make any person feel better right? but it does not help with a DISORDER like maria says

      • Loops

        OMG. Well said Marie.
        I have bipolar.. Taken along time to diagnose. I’m still trying to manage my diagnois.  Frightening,panic,walking out at stupid times..I could go on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        As for Stephanie..get your facts right.. Try been in my shoes..and about 4 million other people.

      • Declan

        Hi Maria I just read your comment, I also have Bipolar disorder, I have been hospitalized twice in the past year and I have had four manic episodes with severe depression. While I understand where your coming from we have to accept at the moment however that most people are quite ignorant of mental illness in general. I do see Stephaniedukopoils point however, I was in denial for a long time about my illness and simply did not accept it. Since my last manic episode, I have done a lot of research into alternative treatments and believe me i was more then a little skeptical.

        I started in a Gym and started eating a lot more healthy, porridge and fruit every morning with some protein and maybe some oily fish for lunch.I cut out nearly all sugar and ate a lot of wholegrain food. I also started a a variety of nutritional supplements such as Vitamin C a strong multivitamin and B complex. But the one I think really gave me results was omega fish oils. I take six a day. three in the morning and three at night

        For almost a month i felt no real difference but as time past i simply started to feel more like my old self. I really believe my new diet and exercise plan got me out of the last depression. I still take my olanzapine every night but I really feel my new lifestyle is helping me cope a lot more then the medication alone. People really should accept how simple and positive lifestyle changes can have on our all over physical health. I finally feel more optimistic about the future with my Bipolar disorder. please look into some of these alternative options i really think they could help you as well. Good luck on your life journey

    • guest

      Yes you are simplifying an extremely complex problem. There are some mental illnesses that can’t be fixed with just sunshine, good foods, and exercise. I’m guessing you have not been diagnosed as a manic depressive as you sound very uninformed.

      • Stephaniedukopolis

        I suppose, I’m less a fan of the Prozac Nation and more of  fan of R.D. Laing.

    • guest

      Your coment leads me to believe you really have no idea what it’s like for your blood and thoughts to be on fire.  Like having bathed in espresso and soaked up all the energy in the world.  Not simply diet and exercise are the trick here, though I’m glad it works for you.  Best of luck.

    • Shane

      no its not too PC, you just dont have a clue! Are you a Dr? Are you a Pysch? Or are you just someone who thinks you know it all. I am Bi Polar, I excercise, I work hard, I eat right, I do everything I can to stay with the world, and guess what I still have so many ups and downs for no reason. I get angry for no reason, I start laughing for no reason. I take my medication with water. Learn your subject before prattling on about something you have no idea about. Are you BiPolar???

    • Waiting

      You have got to be a troll with a lot of what you said. You can not tell of the kids diet, or daily activity my watching him drink a COKE! One COKE! REALLY! Yeah, there are problems with the drugs…you have a better, verifiable option that works!? Many things have been tried. I know, I have been in treatment for most all my life. I am almost 51 now. I have tried to get off drugs due to guilt that I have felt listening to people like you, and feeling bad about myself. Yet, all I do is to do myself more damage, and I go right back on what I had been on.
      You really want to help and not talk out of your ass? Go to medical School, get a degree. Study under someone who knows his stuff, prove your ideas under clinical conditions, then once all thats done. Share it with us all. But until then, your mouth is overloading your ass. (No offence)

  • Barborake

    Outstanding documentary, and very appropriate choice of music as well!

  • Culley

    Imformative. I can say on here.I have bipolar!!! I’ve lost a few friends..they could not understand. Still only told 4 friends. I’ll probably be dead by the time that sociaty accepts this illness. It will get better for you that have this awful illness.
    In my day..\\\iwish

  • Jastranger

    Hi!

    I am also currently about 30 minutes into the documentary and as a manic depressive myself, I have (up until now) a very positive inclination regarding Mr. Fry’s conduct of this particular documentary. 

    My pseudo-realization (after reading the comments below) is that NO PERSON, which is not inflicted with this particular disorder should leave any comments about the consistency or worthiness of what is said in the latter mentioned (let’s call it) ‘piece of art’.

    Notice, how I do not go into details, trying to press my personal feelings onto other individuals that would like to retrieve from the comments whether it is worth watching, by pointlessly elaborating my individual position regarding the aforementioned topic. 

    I suppose that makes me a better person than most of the commenters below.

    Thank you, and have a very safe and productive day.

    • Guest

      As as BP sufferer for 20 years, I have slowly come to the realization that is is useless and even harmful to try and convince anyone of the severity of this condition and the difficult lives we lead. Although it is indeed true that improving one’s life habitudes, such as diet, exercises, sun exposure, supplements, can help a lot in trying to create a certain quality of life, when crisis come however, be it manic or depressive, been told to do such things is useless and even cruel, because we are struggling for survival. I think many BP sufferers are very intelligent people who know very well what they could do to improve their life: the tragedy is our illness doesn’t allow us to do so. Regarding meds, before lithium and antidepressants, the death toll of this sickness at a very early age was huge. Kay Redfield Jamison, a psychiatrist and BP sufferer, has written 2 beatiful books, one on the impact of the sickness on many artists of the past and another about her own experience.

      Best luck to all of you fighting this disease!

  • Dreamweaver

    I found this documentary touching and very informative, but I find it sad that some people appear to have the idea that people without a mental illness can’t understand what it’s like. If you were to honestly open up a little more instead of being defensive, you would find that some people can understand, because they will try to. Anyone who’s not willing to try probably isn’t worth your time anyway. :)

  • Pingback: Bipolar II » 'Massive highs, terrible lows'()

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Gleed/100003469730376 David Gleed

    Really interesting, surprising documentary. Who would’ve thought someone like Stephen Fry could suffer from depression.

  • Guest

    Just reading through the comments on here. Stephaniedukopolis, i don’t know if you were just being a despicable troll with you comments or not but i’ll take it you were being serious.

    You say that simple things like fresh air, eating healthy and exercising regulary will somehow just make bi-polar disorder disappear? As a fit and healthy person myself (in fact i am a personal trainer and run my own gym) who suffers from bi-polar disorder i can tell you that it doesn’t make it any easier to live with. I also do not take any medication legal or illegal for my condition nor do i go to psychiatrists, I have learned to deal with it on my own.

    I can only hope that you or a family member never suffer with this debilitating illness.

    Thank you

  • Sam

    To those who don’t think psychiatry is a pseudo science, you are greatly mistaken. Having been on the receiving end of “treatment” several times, the process is a joke and is totally centered around taking medications that numb your mind and make you a hopeless vegetable. Psychiatrists have been trained to look for specific symptoms but fail to realize when they have totally dehumanized/depersonalized a human being. As we all know, the mind is very complex and treating it properly by getting into what someone is thinking is not worth the trouble of simply providing a script. I was once very successful, had everything, and now all is gone, the worst being my ability to feel emotion, and my overall health being the side effect of the terrible drugs they produce. For those of you in the medical profession, try taking some of the drugs you prescribe and see how you feel. It is an unjust world for those deemed to have a mental illness. The whole setup is a scam. People in third world countries have far less mental illness because psychotic episodes/breakdowns happen, but can be recovered from with some patience and time. Once these psychotropic drugs are introduced, the game is forever changed all in the pursuit of profits funded by tax dollars. It is no coincidence that the rate of institutionalization in mental hospitals is highest in impoverished areas. The DSM keeps irrationally expanding where the majority of society is viewed as mentally ill. I hate that I’m on the recieving end of this tradgedy, because nothing good has come out of it. I pray the people who devised this nasty scheme face justice if there is a creator and a day of final judgement.

  • angelica

    i don’t have manic depression, i’m just “dead upset”, but just watching this makes me feel better. not so alone. i’m so glad he was brave enough to share something so personal.

  • Terry

    I found this interesting as a bi-polar patient. Been on all the meds, they didnt work and choose ECT treatments. It was nice to have them showed somewhat in a better light. But even with ECT we still struggle. I do think this would be very educational for family or loved ones suffering from Bi-polar that have not understood. to me any education is better then none. Also I think since this was made it has been proven there are changes in the brain of bi-polar people.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Pingback: Emilie Autumn Interview « Metal Blast!()

  • Gaspar

    you Bloody smart assholes ! what do you know about life !!!
    I Hate you !

  • Gaspar

    Sorry , was just a joke … i love you all … yeaaahh all you need is love lalalalal all you need is love

  • Laurie

    Thank you Mr. Fry for sharing your deeply personal story. I have just started to speak more openly to others about the struggles in my family which took, unfortunately, too long to get here. Your documentary opens doors.

  • Kat In Aus

    I really wish people would provide supportive and informative comments on sites such as this. Making negative and provocative comments serves no other purpose than to detract from the suffering of millions of people who are just searching for answers. Stephen Fry’s documentary does not aim to cover all aspects of bipolar (it’s diagnosis, assessment and treatment), but to raise awareness of the disorder, explore the complexity of symptoms, and highlight how easily people suffering bipolar are incorrectly diagnosed with depression.

    Bipolar presents with a range of signs & symptoms with varying degree from one person to the next. Much like diabetes, there are two forms of Bipolar, Type I and Type II. Type I (similarly to diabetes type I) requires the person to be medicated – their life depends on it. Type II (similarly to diabetes type II) can be controlled with varying levels of success through diet and lifestyle. Unfortunately, most information in the media tends to focus on Type I. While this is the most severe form of Bipolar, there are many others struggling with Type II on a daily basis.

    As a well educated woman, married with two children, my own home, and about to finish my second degree – I find many of the comments made by people on this conversation thread offensive. Especially the name calling. Why is it that people are more than willing to accept Diabetes as a disease and recognise the different types and need for medication in the more severe cases, but are not able to accept the same of a well understood and researched mental illness?

    My hope is that people become more tolerant and understanding, rather than focusing on criticising drugs and assessment tools. The health profession and people suffering these diseases do the best they can with the resources they have available at the time.

  • Pingback: Stephen Fry – The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive « Geek Ink()

  • myohmy

    this will not play for me… & btw.. stephaniedukopolis, can we say “narcissistic personality disorder”?????

  • Jonny

    @ Stephaniedukopolis What’s with the RD Laing obsession. I read him in my twenties… A bit of a guru type if you ask me. Hey Stephanie, have you been drinking or something? Or are you usually this quick to lash out in rage… “Fuck you,” indeed! Most definitely you are abusive. A friend of mine who was tremendously fit had to eventually get shock treatment for his bi-polar cause the drugs didn’t work enough to stop his severe episodes. A typical episode constituted him not sleeping for over a week, becoming psychotically delusional and engaging in risk taking behaviour. In one such episode when he was fighting off the “guys in white coats,” he eventually gave in when he was told that he was so high off his own brain chemistry that if he didn’t come down he would literally die… That eventually he would have a heart attack, or possibly a stroke.. He now takes meds to keep him where the shock treatment left him, which is a lot better than where he was. I’m very interested in the diet and exercise aspect of maintaining good mental health but you did over-simplify things and when people were offended you became abusive.

  • meme

    big time identity delusion here

  • Loowisa

    I’m 18, I have bipolar typ 2 and I take lithium. Without it I would be crazy, ruining my life every chance I get and with it I can live a normal life. Thank you.

  • Lenny Wuu

    Mr. Fry has made a wonderful film but I want to share another film with you. I saw it in Chicago and it had great relevance to me because my brother struggles with bipolar disorder. The film is called The World of Z, it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen and I posted it to youtube so I could share it with my family.

  • Pingback: mental monday: let’s get happy « Squeeze the Universe()

  • Mike

    I quite literally stumbled onto this film while checking out the new documentaries on this site. I have a friend who has told me that he has been diagnosed with mild Manic depression, so i opted for some self education.
    I will be honest for many years i have heard people talk about depression and how it effects them. Through all that and indeed this film i am sad to say I still don’t understand, I sympathize, but i still cannot build a frame of reference for what it would be like to be in these peoples situations. I will not argue treatments and theories simply because I am not an expert in psychological health. Im a mechanic…. so yeah. But to anyone watching and indeed reading these posts, while i may not understand i wish you the best. While some people would argue the validity of your health problems at the end of the day all we have are our perceptions. And if your problems are real to you then who am i or anyone else to tell you different.
    As i said above i wish you all the best.
    Mike

  • wackozappo

    Often we underestimate what an impact stigma has on individuals experiencing long and short term mental illness. I commend the makers of this documentary for providing this easily digestible insight into what might be happening. I encourage others to find out more because there is so much that this documentary was unable to cover.

  • Dave78

    Here is how I virtually cured my depression:

    – Stopped watching TV, using computers, Iphones etc completely

    – Walked daily for 30-60 min

    – Moved to a house in the country

    – Got at least 2 hours of direct sunlight every day.

    – Stopped caring about all the crap in society, facebook, social status etc

    Do that for 8 weeks and you will be a different person.

  • kellie harper

    soooo happy i stumbled upon this site!!!!!! im bp1 and have extreme highs and lows. drs get aggravated with me because i know more about my condition and meds than some of them do…ty for bringing light to our struggle.

  • charlotte

    the problem I have with this documentary is that I feel like Stephen Fry sort of trivializes the disorder by acting as though his case of bipolar is as bad as those he interviews. On one hand he has raised awareness of the disorder but on the other people who have little knowledge of bipolar who watch this documentary will think that Stephen Fry is your typical manic depressive, when in fact he does not even take medication and has never been sectioned. This documentary would have been much better served by having an objective presenter who did not keep making it all about himself.

  • rudeboi

    I have been MD probably my whole life and to try to explain that to someone is like trying to walk to the moon, where do you start? My world has become so small until it will close in on me one day. And the anger….I don’t know which is gonna kill me first, the anger or deep, deep, sorrow.

    Depression is a terminal illness and it will kill you if you don’t get help.

  • Pingback: Stephen Fry’s suicide attempt: A lesson for us all |()

  • Pingback: Actor Stephen Fry Discusses His 2012 Suicide Attempt — The Good Men Project()

  • Pingback: The secret life. | Shit my bipolar says.()

  • Pingback: Stephen Fry: The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive | Panda Girl Jinx()