Discussing depression and Bipolar Disorder with Stephen Fry

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"In Week 1 of the course, we spoke to Stephen Fry about some of the more technical features of poetry like rhyme and metre. Here, Stephen offers us an insight into his own experience of depression, and talks about how both reading and writing poetry can be of comfort to him during depressive periods.

Stephen describes how being diagnosed with bipolar disorder has encouraged him to be more attentive to his own moods and the way they are affected by different activities. He has found poetry to be helpful both during episodes of mania and during episodes of depression; even when he feels unable to read or write entire poems, he has learned that reciting single lines of verse and writing down individual words can be of help when his condition is at its most intense and debilitating.

In our conversation, Stephen emphasises that both poetry and mental health are highly personal. It is not possible to prescribe a poem - or even poetry in general - and expect it to have a positive effect on everyone suffering from a particular mental health condition. However, we did ask Stephen to talk about a few of the poems that are most helpful and meaningful for him. The poems he chose were John Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ and Philip Larkin’s ‘Aubade’.

Find out more about this course on https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/l..."


"I'm still walking the fine line of good day-bad day but  at least I'm walking, and  knowing I'm not alone."

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