Last Sunday whilst returning alone from an errand to drop my daughter off at her place of work, I had the very great fortune to hear Kirsty Young interview Stephen Fry on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
His openness to his truth which I had only being partially aware of had a profound impact on my own journey of self discovery and self-acceptance.
He said “I had a terrible fear of being found out, so I decided to be open about everything so that there was nothing left to be discovered”
He said “If you talk about something, it gets it out and like a wound, once you start to get oxygen on it, the healing process begins”
He said “You can’t really be an artist if you care what people think, but you can be an entertainer like I became in an effort to please others”
He said “I am so incredibly sensitive – I care so much about what people think about me and I still do, perhaps to a lesser extent that when I was young”
He said “Depression s a disease of thoughts – I experience a tightening of the chest, darkness descends, sucking sensation as all energy, hope and sense of future is sucked from you”
He said “I had fantastic dreams of myself being a huge success like a modern day Madame Bovary”
He said “as a young adolescent I was always in trouble, never settled, never secure and my psychiatrist thought my condition akin to having an absent parent or no fixed home neither of which applied to me”
He said “I need to be a part of the world and to connect and then there is this other pull, which is to be apart from the world – I think that is what so often tore me apart”
My life experiences have been completely different to those of Stephen Fry and yet within his very moving life-journey I felt a strong association to his suffering.
His experience of being unhappy in childhood and throughout adolescence and yet having no immediate familial reason for feeling insecure whilst his siblings thrived in that same environment resonated very strongly with me.
I was very moved by his impulse to speak up about his bi-polar diagnosis which liberated him from his demons and enabled him to bring some control to his emotional life.
He acknowledged, as I do, that the missed opportunities of the past caused by his emotional insecurity, have no doubt contributed to the life he enjoys today.
W.H. Auden said “Don’t get rid of my demons because my angels may go too”
I have come to realise that my need to be part of the world and my need to be apart from it at times are inseparable elements of my truth.
I have come to an acceptance that those aspects of my truth, which I previously rejected, are the source of those qualities of gentleness, generosity and empathy and humour which endear me to those who know me
Thank you Stephen Fry for shedding light on your journey, your openness and your truth!
My next blog will be: Funeral Plans