Speaking to Richard Herring on Monday night for Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, the actor, who suffers from bipolar disorder, said he is constantly on medication to ensure he doesn’t get too hyper or too depressed.
Fry said he was coming forward about his suicide attempt because his role as president of mental health charity Mind is about breaking down the stigma associated with the illness. He has tried in the past to kill himself.
“I would go as far as to tell you that I attempted it last year, so I’m not always happy – this is the first time I’ve said this in public, but I might as well. I’m president of Mind, and the whole point in my role, as I see it, is not to be shy and forthcoming about the morbidity and genuine nature of the likelihood of death amongst people certain mood disorders,” he said.
“It was a close run thing. I took a huge number of pills and a huge [amount] of vodka and the mixture of them made my body convulse so much that I broke four ribs, but I was still unconscious. And, fortunately, the producer I was filming with at the time came into the hotel room and I was found in a sort of unconscious state and taken back to England and looked after.”
He went on to explain the lack of reasoning behind depression and that there is no answer to the commonly asked question, why?
“Think of your very best friend. Very, very best friend. Suppose you suddenly noticed you had a massive and really disturbing genital wart… would you show it to your very best friend? No, no… you might show it to a stranger, a doctor, a genital urinary specialist, or to Doctor Christian I suppose on Embarrassing Bodies – or in the street in his case. But, the weird thing is, although friendship is what Ralph Waldo Emerson called the ‘masterpiece of nature’, it is a thing we all celebrate, oddly enough it doesn’t solve things like that,” he said.
For help with emotional difficulties, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or http://www.lifeline.org.au
For help with depression, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 or at http://www.beyondblue.org.au
The SANE Helpline is 1800 18 SANE (7263) or at http://www.sane.org