I was going to write a final wrap up on my Halloween Watch series today and tell you about how (as they've been calling it over here in the States) Halloweekend went, but that will have to wait until tomorrow, because I want to get something out of my system.
Stephen Fry happened this weekend, though I suspect he'd been building up to happening for a while now.
Now OK, you can all shout at me and say I don't know him personally so couldn't have a clue about how he might be feeling, and that's perfectly true - but I do know how I'm feeling, so that's what I can write about.
If you're not on Twitter or haven't seen what the newspapers have been printing with delight ('oooh scandal scandal, the nation's beloved uncle has said nasty things, we think, we're not going to bother finding out what was really said or wasn't, or in what context, we're just going to jump up and down and Stephen Fry - what a horrible person he must be'), then here's a pretty accurate account on Anton Vowl's wonderful blog Enemies of Reason.
Personally I couldn't care less what he said, even the truth and/or context if it ever comes out. He hasn't said anything nasty about a particular person, he's made general statements and he is entitled to make general statements about whatever he likes. Just as we are allowed to accept and agree with them, or reject them and disagree with him.
However, poor Stephen has obviously had enough and now the media are almost apoplectic with delight that he's given them two tweets they can use to speculate and jump to every assumption possible about his future...I'm waiting for some 'news' programme to have a panel or a tv psychiatrist to ponder his mental health and well-being from these 2 tweets an hour apart from each other and just 24 words:
- So some fucking paper misquotes a humorous interview I gave, which itself misquoted me and now I'm the Antichrist. I give up.
- Bye bye.
All I know is this (and this is not me trying to psychoanalyse Stephen Fry). I have cyclothymia, the mildest form of bipolar. I have ups and downs and when I'm down, I want the earth to swallow me up, I want the world to stop and to let me get off it. I want to be alone in my own dark corner to deal with my feelings of hatred, guilt and shame - all of which are directed at myself. And usually I want to destroy something of mine, usually my ties with the outside world somehow to punish myself for being such a despicable and loathsome worm who doesn't deserve the kindness or attention of others.
Now I'm not expecting you to understand the intensity of these feelings. Until I had a breakdown in my 20s I was NOT the most sympathetic person in the world and definitely thought that anyone with depression or mental health problems should just snap out of it and stop being such attention seekers....and this was despite me fighting periods of depression myself since my teens.
It's massively hard to understand why someone could hate themselves, could want to destroy friendships that might help, would want to destroy their websites, or their Twitter accounts...
But trust me, there is NOTHING rational when you're in that pit of blackness. You want it all to end. I remember vaguely Stephen Fry saying on his superb and to be honest, life-changing for me, two-part series 'The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive', he said something like 'I don't want to die, but I wouldn't mind not being here'. And honestly, I can tell you I know EXACTLY how that feels - I've been there many a time and sucks every thought of happiness or speck of light and hope from your life. It's the most horrible place you can imagine - JK Rowling got it so right in her creation of the Dementors in her Harry Potter stories, and I've heard her speak about how she experienced them in her periods of depression too.
So what am I trying to say? I'm not sure really. I know I'm trying to say though I know he'll never have the time to read this, that right now I feel so desperately sorry for Stephen Fry. Since I've been on Twitter, which I think is since May 2009, I've twice decided I couldn't take anymore and started destroying my account (usually deleting my avatar, my bio, my profile background and starting to delete my tweets because when I read them I hated the happy, hyper person that came across in them) but luckily I didn't delete my account and so albeit incredibly sheep-faced, I have also crawled back to the world of Twits and am very, very glad I did.
As far as I'm aware, Stephen's had one similar incident like this when on a downward cycle someone said his tweets were boring and that was the straw that broke the camel's back, the tipping point - and trust me, when you're starting to loathe and detest yourself anyway, it really doesn't take much to push you over that point. To many it seems like a nothingness, an over reaction, being a bit silly. And with our rational heads on we agree, but when you're in the depths the last thing you are or can be is rational.
But Stephen came back to Twitter thank goodness, and yes he made some jokes about being a bit of an over reaction, but he's come back from worse.
But the poor guy is constantly in the spotlight. I can implode and only a handful of friends will know anything about it...and it certainly won't get dissected and interpreted by the vacuous media desperate for intrigue and heartache to fill their column inches. Stephen implodes and it's all over the papers and idiots who know absolutely nothing about mental health issues tweet nonsense about it being silly and an over reaction.
I think Stephen will come back to Twitter, I certainly hope he will...I'm optimistic because like my two attempts to 'destroy' my twitter persona/account, he's not cut all the ties. On my last implosion I deleted nearly everything, but there a little voice inside me who told me not to delete the account totally, to wait and see how I felt. Stephen might have put up his 'bye bye' tweet and deleted his avatar and bio and put in it's place 'No longer in service' - but he has bothered to put something there, he could have just stopped. He's still alive (yes, I'm thinking of that moment the Master transforms the Doctor to show his real age, but Martha isn't destroyed by watching it happen, she realises there is hope because the Doctor IS still alive).
So, I know there's no chance you reading this Stephen because you've better things to do and need to get yourself back on track trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel, but this is just me sending you positive vibes across the internet....I hope this down doesn't last too long and that you can find your way back to your Twitter account and the hundreds of thousands of fans who love you dearly, especially all of us who have mental health issues whose lives you're improved no end by going public about bipolar and depression. But come back in your own time (yeah I know you will too, why do you need a silly woman in Phoenix to teach you how to suck eggs).
And any of you daring to say out loud that Stephen Fry saying bye bye was an over reaction - there but for the grace of god go you - 1 in 4 of us experience mental health issues at some time in our lives in the UK, please do yourself a favour so you don't look so ignorant in the future and try to find out more to understand your father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, workmate, best friend or possibly one day even yourself who might be living with this type of problem.
Ok, sorry for the length of this post people, but I needed to get that off my chest.
Tomorrow - Halloween in the USA, what it was like after all the Halloween Watch build up.