“One of the things that baffles me … is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls.” Carrie Fisher
Did you know that bipolar is the fourth most-common mental health problem worldwide after depression, anxiety and schizophrenia? (x)
Bipolar – sometimes known as manic depression – is a severe mental health illness characterised by significant mood swings including manic highs and depressive lows.
Carrie Fisher had bipolar, she was diagnosed at 24 but she only accepted it when she was 28. She was an inspiring, outspoken mental health advocate. She spent half of her life to combat mental health stigma by being open about her struggles with bipolar and addiction. She had a guest column in the Guardian and she dedicated all her platform to mental health awareness and female empowerment. Read her books, check out some of her interviews and you can learn a lot about having bipolar and living with mental illness and addiction.
Stephen Fry has been diagnosed with bipolar only when he was 37 and he was dismayed to discover the extent of prejudice surrounding mental health problems. “I want to speak out, to fight the public stigma and to give a clearer picture of mental illness that most people know little about.” (x)
In the BBC2 documentary, The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, he consults experts and fellow sufferers of bipolar disorder, including the comedian Tony Slattery and the Hollywood actors Richard Dreyfuss and Carrie Fisher. The illness, formerly known as manic depression, affects hundreds of thousands of people in the UK. Although it can be managed successfully with drug and psychological therapies, 15 per cent of sufferers – about 2,000 people a year – kill themselves. Doctors estimate that one in 100 have bipolar disorder, but some researchers think the true figure could be far higher. Campaigners say only about half of sufferers are actually diagnosed and, on average, this can take eight years. (x)
Stephen Fry’s documentary on Bipolar disorder can be found here.
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