Stephen Fry


Stephen John Fry. Image from Wikipedia, by user ‘Brian Minkoff-London Pixels’. Click to go to source.

At the beginning of this year, I found myself noting the suicide of Aaron Swartz, who was only 26. And then just a month later Arpad Miklos, who was only 45, although being depressed and to the point of taking or wanting to take your own life is sad at any age.

I like this Stephen Fry guy. I’m glad I’m not writing about his death by suicide here, although it still saddens me to learn that the man attempted it last year. I came across this news from a Telegraph article dated the 7th this month, itself a searing and sobering read from the journalist Tim Lott, with regards to his own attempt when he was 31, and his own mother’s suicide shortly after.

Wikipedia lists Stephen’s talents as the following mouthful: actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television and radio presenter, film director, activist, and board member of Norwich City Football Club.

I like him because I find him fascinating from what little I’ve seen and read of him, in the things he has to say, whether it’s on homophobia and other gay issues, and on atheism. Born Jewish, Stephen’s an atheist. He is outspoken about religion. He is often funny and entertaining. He also seems to me to be, for lack of a fancy big word, kind. I have come across him being described as a ‘humanist’. Checking that word on (haha), humanist means: a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity. I suspect he’s really that.

I’d like to include a video of him I saw last year.

In The Independent, another UK online news outlet, Stephen’s attempt happened during the course of filming a documentary for BBC called ‘Out There‘. It is about what it means to be gay in different parts of the world, specifically Russia, Uganda and the United States. For this work, he met a range of people both for and against gay rights. It was during the making of this film that he took an overdose of pills and alcohol while alone in his hotel room. He was unconscious when fortunately he was found by a producer on the film who came into his room and who got him medical help.

Stephen found out later that while he was unconscious, the large number of pills and large amount of alcohol he had taken had caused his body to convulse so much that he broke four ribs.

Stephen Fry – Out There, is due to be screened later this year.

In another article also by The Independent, I went on to read that Stephen had been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, which had been previously documented in another BBC production called Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. He had also been public about his battles with depression. The things he said contained in the article are revealing and sad:

“You may say, ‘How can anybody who’s got it all be so stupid as to want to end it all?’ That’s the point, there is no ‘why?’ That’s not the right question. There is no reason. If there was reason for it, you could reason someone out of it.”

“I am the victim of my own moods, more than most people are perhaps, in as much as I have a condition which requires me to take medication so that I don’t get either too hyper or too depressed to the point of suicide.”

“Sometimes it’s the expression I imagine on my mother and father’s face – both of whom are alive and happy – that stops me. But there are other occasions when I can’t stop myself, or at least I feel I can’t.”

(About feeling unable to talk to friends about his condition) “All my friends and family, when they eventually heard about it (the suicide attempt), came to visit me in hospital all said, ‘Well, why didn’t you call?’

“I like to think that if I had children I would think harder about doing it, but I know people who have had children who have done it.”

“There are times when I’m doing QI (a television quiz show) and I’m going ‘ha ha, yeah, yeah’, and inside I’m going ‘I want to f**king die. I… want… to… f**king… die.'”

I hope he’s well.

6 thoughts on “Stephen Fry

  1. Stephen Fry is an amazing individual. He did a series on the US a few years back where he hit every single state in a black cab, interviewing far out of the way places and showing the diversity of the country. I found it very touching, he really wanted to show interesting and genuine things about my country. Most people hit NYC, LA, Vegas and call it a day. Then later refer to it as a cultural wasteland, having spent a total of 7 days there. He’s also so incredibly humorous and intelligent and insightful. The world is better off that his suicide attempt was unsuccessful, but I understand that its painful sometimes to live in a world where you don’t belong, where you are different, in more ways than just your sexual orientation.

    • That’s a remarkable idea and thing to do, to tour every single state in America to get to know its diversity. I can understand why you found it very touching. I would too. It’s funny what you said about the people who just spend a few days there and declare it a cultural wasteland. That’s unreasonable indeed. No one should do that about the States or any other country. I did a check at YouTube and saw that someone with the username Carl Bohlin has posted the documentary there, a 6-part series simply called Stephen Fry in America. I’m definitely keen to watch it.

      I agree with your wise words about how some people may feel it’s painful being in a world they sometimes feel they don’t belong in. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

      • Maybe by saying “most” I mean the British, and even then I’m still generalizing. :) 2 years in England and a British husband are my poor excuse.

        • LOL! Yeah I got it you don’t mean to generalise, haha.

          Unrelated, but now I’m reminded of an Italian friend who visited Singapore many years ago way before I started visiting other countries other than nearby countries in Southeast Asia. I was proudly showing him our National Museum and this and that landmarks, and remember till today how he was practically rolling his eyes at me. It was only when I visited Europe and museums that I realised more how very young we are and how very short our history is. Some stuff hundreds of years old or older are even just on the streets over there, things I’m wide-eyed at but commonly found things to them. Of course he was still a snooty ass, and now I’m always quick to tease back people like him, ‘huh, you just happened to be born in your country. There’s no need to feel overly proud about its achievements or overly ashamed about its failures. Nothing to do with you.’

    • Yes I think so too, Cindy. I’m looking forward to watching his ‘Out There’ documentary. I’ve been watching some of his other ones on YouTube, including his ‘Stephen Fry In America’, which is just fascinating.

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