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Stephen Fry sobre ser maniaco depresivo

An Uppy-Downy, Mood-Swingy Kind of Guy

Pregunta: ¿Puede comentar sobre su experiencia con el trastorno bipolar?

Stephen Fry: Si. Fue diagnosticado por primera vez, sin que yo lo supiera, como posible bipolar cuando tenía cerca de 15. No lo supe sino hasta mucho después cuando hice un documental sobre mi vida como maniaco depresivo o alguien con el trastorno bipolar, como quieras llamarlo, un tipo de hombre que sube-y-baja. con-cambios-de-humor. De hecho, creo que técnicamente el correcto diagnóstico para mi condición es ciclotimia, lo que es conocido como bipolar light en Estados Unidos, lo que parece bien y suena como una variedad de bebida cola, pero el trastorno bipolar es un trastorno del estado del ánimo en lugar de un trastorno de la personalidad como le podría sonar a muchos, pero yo pienso que todos entendemos lo que eso es. Para mi el ánimo es equivalente al tiempo/clima. El clima es real. Eso es lo importante que hay que recordar con respecto al clima. Es absolutamente real. Cuando llueve llueve. está mojado. No hay preguntas al respecto. También es cierto respecto al clima que uno no lo puede controlar. No puedes decir que si realmente lo deseo va a dejar de llover y es igualmente cierto que si el clima está malo se va a poner mejor, y lo que tuve que aprender es a tratar mis estados del ánimo como al clima. Por una parte el negar que ellos estuvieron allí y decir que no puedo... No estoy realmente depresivo. ¿Por qué debería estar deprimido? Tengo suficiente dinero. Tengo un trabajo. Las personas me quieren. No hay por qué estar deprimido. Eso es tan estupido como decir que no hay razón para tener asma o que no hay razón para tener sarampión. Uno sabe que lo tiene. Allí está. No es sobre una razón. Uno no se deprime porque le ocurran cosas malas. Eso es enojarse y molestase. Eso es racional. Alguien te golpea en el rostro y uno se queja "ow", y sabe eso… pero la depresión es algo que ocurre como el clima que está fuera de ti y no es... Puede gatillarse por algo infortunado, pero no lo es… Uno sabe que no es suficiente el auto convencerse para salir de él como decir no debería tener depresión porque tengo personas que son buenas conmigo, lo que resulta frustrante para personas que lo ven desde fuera. Ellos dicen, “No estés deprimido.” “Todos te aman.” “Eres realmente feliz.” “Tienes una buena vida.” Entiendes. Eso es lo que es tan deprimente. No puedo evitarlo. Así que por una vez.. No es una solución, pero de cualquier forma, it’s very important at least to get that stage of it out of the way is to recognize it as a mood disorder as something that is akin to weather, but the nature of manic depression or bipolar disorder is it is bipolar. It is two poles. It’s not just depression. The point is that there is this other side to it. You have a depressed mood. You have an elevated mood that is mania, which is the manic side of manic depression and these are hypomanic or hyper manic states in which you can be grandiose. You can be absurdly extreme in your optimism and your creativity and your energy. You can go for ages without sleep. You can be sexually promiscuous. You can be a shopping addict, but people have different ways in which they’re elevated moods are expressed and they talk nineteen to the dozen. They can’t stop thinking, their mind races. They think they can solve the problems of the world. They think they have a unique insight. It can be a very blissful and exciting and extraordinary state of mind to be in and then comes the crash. The problems of it are manifested in tens. One is that people, most people outside family and friends are more annoyed, are more uncomfortable at the manic phase than the depressed phase. The depressed person you can deal with because all they want to do is just sit there and they want to be in dark in the bedroom sleeping and not doing any work and just hating themselves and as long as they’re not you know really considering suicide, as long as the pain isn’t that bad then you can manage them whereas a person in an elevated state is unmanageably annoying. They won’t stop talking. They won’t stop shaking their knees up and down and getting excited and talking about things and changing things and re-tidying rooms and oh, like that. So you know it can be a very frustrating for people around you. At its worst it can be very dangerous. Obviously suicide is the down side of depression. I had several suicide attempts in my life, but also really and this always sounds like a feeble excuse, but it is true. The most natural way you would attempt to cope with something inside you that is affecting your moods and your energy levels is to intervene with chemicals to help and because medical science hasn’t come up with pharmaceuticals that do particularly well you tend to reach for the chemicals that are outside the Pharma counter, i.e. narcotics and alcohol because they can guarantee your mood more or less. They like, like the condition itself will store up a big crash or big reverse, but you just keep at it and you keep getting drunk, keep getting wired and you’ll stave off the inevitable disaster of being alone with your moods.

So for a long time I was I suppose dependent is the word on cocaine powder and naturally when you take a lot of cocaine powder you tend to take a lot of alcohol with it as well, so for many years really I never went out without at least four or five grams of cocaine powder on my person and I would ingest it intranasally as was the fashion through the use of some sort of straw or rolled up currency note and managed to get by on it. I never did that when I was working. I didn’t do it onstage or on while filming or anything. It was a way of ending… As soon as you… Because work provided its own high, but as soon as I finished work that was it. I was out. I was in clubs and things. I can’t believe it now. I don’t know how I managed to do it. It’s just extraordinary, but I did and anyway, then I had a bit of a disaster in the mid nineties. I was in a play and it just all went wrong and horrible and I ran for the hills as it were. Well actually I ran for Belgium which are not hills at all. I ran for the low countries and through Belgium went to Germany and I was… and so declared missing by the British for awhile and then I was found and it was all very ghastly, but it sort of made me confront the whole business of this diagnosis and I saw doctors and things and they confirmed the diagnosis and then a few years later when I was back on a more even keel and more used to dealing with things and a little bit more clear about myself I made a program about… called Manic Depression and Me or The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive was the proper title. And in which I… It was two one hour films in which I went around America and England actually and talking to people with the problem, talking to doctors, talking my own history and my own condition and it was really interesting because it was considered something of a success this program and something of a breakthrough and because aside from all the problems I’ve spoken about one of the major problems is not the person who suffers with the disease. It’s with the rest of the world and mental health disorder and its stigma. People just are terrible at coping with it, other people. They don’t like anyone mentioning it if possible.

I had the great pleasure of dinner last night here in New York with Dick Caveat, the talk show host of the sixties and seventies, a brilliant talk show host. Look him up on YouTube if you don’t know his… the show he… I mean he is absolutely wonderful, but his career was pretty much stalled in many ways by his fight with depression and he has written about it superbly and he talked about it and we were chatting about it last night and it is that problem of you know say to someone I’ve got a broken leg or I’ve got diabetes, particularly if you say diabetes and asthma say, which are both chronic conditions that won’t go away. People go, “Oh, do you take insulin or do you take that little wheezer thing for your asthma?” You go, “Yes.” If you say I’ve got a mental health condition they go, “Oh, do you?” “That’s nice.” And they want to be somewhere else. They don’t want to be anywhere near you and I can understand that. Of course I can understand it, but you know that it’s like six degrees of separation I think. You know that you know all six of Kevin Bacon or whichever. I don’t think that you’re ever more than three or four steps away from someone close to you who has a mental health problem and I think the more we accept that it is us, it is part of being human then the better we are because then we can start concentrating on the things that matter in terms of coping with it.

Pregunta: ¿Qué opinas sobre medicar a niños que parecen ser maniaco depresivos?

Stephen Fry: El diagnosticar niños es un negocio real, realmente complicado. Por una parte buenísimo si el diagnostico es certero y tu crees en el para detectar las primeras señales de lo que podría ser una experiencia muy difícil en el crecimiento del niño, por otra parte, el dar Ritalin u otra poderosa droga antisicótica a un niño que es joven, de cuatro o cinco años. Hablé con un profesor de psiquiatría en la Universidad de Stanford. Es una de las personas prominentes en su campo quien está bien preparado para diagnosticar a niños muy pequeños como bipolares, no solo ADHD y cosas que solemos diagnosticar a los niños y su punto es que la no intervención no es una actitud neutral. No darle a alguien las drogas cuando ha sido diagnosticado es en si mismo el permitir que el cerebro, como el lo dijo, se torne tóxico en si mismo, que lo que sea que le está pasando al cerebro al formarse se está formando de mal manera, malos caminos, porque enfrentémoslo. En realidad no comprendemos ee balance entre hormonas... si prefieres, u hormonas y neurotransmisores, ese es su argumento, que la no intervención permite que el cerebro se forme malsano, pero es terriblemente complicado dar a un niño tan joven como... Bueno, tan joven como de diez o de catorce, para ser franco, algunas de estas poderosas drogas cuando su cerebro todavía se está desarrollando. Me parece complicado, y ciertamente en Europa es considerado una aberración, pero ocurre mucho en Estados Unidos, pero también allá hay más personas enfermas. No, perdón, quería decir que allá hay una mayor población y mejores científicos.

Recorded December 8, 2009

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