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Stephen Fry talks candidly about the ‘guilt and shame’ he felt after his three suicide attempts

Patrick Kelleher May 14, 2020
Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry (Dave Benett/Getty)

Stephen Fry has opened up about the “guilt and shame” he felt after his three suicide attempts.

Fry, who has bipolar disorder, told the Art of Change: Nothing Concrete podcast that he once became so depressed that he could not see “the point of anything”.

“Nothing has flavour or savour,” the actor and writer said. “Nothing has any meaning. Everything is just hopeless.”

He added: “There’s no future. There’s no sense of anything ahead of you. And you have to hope something will stop you.

“In my case it was just failed attempts and waking up in a hospital.”

Stephen Fry found ‘flavour’ and ‘colour’ in life again after surviving three suicide attempts.

Fry continued: “In your recovery, in the fact you realise people are kind enough to forgive you, because you feel such a fool and you feel you’ve done it to them – all the guilt and shame that comes from an attempt on one’s life that’s gone wrong – and it’s in the recovery, it’s when you suddenly find that flavour, and life has colour again.”

I’ve got so much support around me and I’ve been able to give myself time to help myself physically, which I think is a huge help.

Fry also spoke of the “healing quality” of music, and said Beethoven helped to pull him through.

“One of the ways I cope with it is to bathe myself in music like Beethoven’s and to think of people who have gone before me who have been lit by the flame of mania and danced by the icy water of depression,” he said.

The actor and writer praised his loved ones for their support.

Fry said he has come to accept his bipolar disorder, saying it is “there like diabetes of asthma”.

“I’ve got so much support around me and I’ve been able to give myself time to help myself physically, which I think is a huge help,” he added.

Fry first opened up about his bipolar disorder in a 2006 documentary called Secret Life of the Manic Depressive.

He went on to become president of mental health charity Mind in 2011.

Readers affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans free on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.

More: Beethoven, bipolar disorder, mental health, Stephen Fry, suicide

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