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on 6 January 2011
I lost my brother to manic depression several years ago. I caught a couple of episodes of Stephen's documentary when it was originally broadcast but missed much of it as I live abroad. My mother had never seen it and we decided to get the DVD for her as a stocking-filler.

Stephen Fry tackles this little-known and often misunderstood illness with remarkable sensitivity and careful humour. The series is both entertaining and informative as Stephen seeks to better understand his own bi-polar illness. He talks with people from all walks of life, with doctors, mega-stars of stage and screen and "ordinary" people who suffer from or work with sufferers of this illness every day and his honesty about his own condition and his sincerity in seeking to draw others to be equally open about theirs makes this a very moving piece of work.For many people, diagnosis of their bi-polar manic depression comes after they have suffered for many years and have made at least one suicide attempt, for my brother his diagnosis came too late. I watched the DVD with my mother and we both had tears in our eyes at the end - she turned to me and said "That was your brother - if only we had known all this when he was still alive". I have a much better understanding of this dreadful illness now and when I think back to certain episodes with my brother I can see that it was his illness that was driving his life along such a self-destructive path. Thank you Stephen Fry for this piece of work, I can only recommend it most highly to anyone who suffers from or who knows someone who suffers from manic depression.
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on 8 July 2011
Loved the video and think if someone was to finally start explaining this illness then Stephen Fry is absolutely the best choice and I hope he does a follow up DVD. I have been living with Manic Depression all my life and since being put on meds 15 years ago I have decided (thanks to this video) to slowly wean myself off them (with a doctors guidance) and learn to live with it naturally. Learned some tips from this video - one example is taking Omega 3 which I knew was good for the brain but I just never thought of using it for my illness. Stupidity is not related to being bi-polar, it is just my problem (which maybe omega 3 might cure (groan)).

My only problem with the video is that aside from Lithium (which I tried once but it made me more suicidal) there is a lack of information about other choices, and there are many. The video does mention that there are other treatments but not enough about what those are. The combination of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers to mention just one, is a common treatment these days but I'd love to have learned the name of these drugs such as Prozac (anti-depressant) and valporic acid (a mood stabilizer) amongst others.

I am glad I purchased the video and believe that it is a must see for anyone suffering with, related to or friends with sufferers of this illness. For those who do not have the illness but have dealings with someone who does it helps to explain the bizarre behaviour we exhibit and only have minimal control over.

Businesses also, could learn a lot about why not only employees but customers might be annoying or difficult to deal with at times. Someone who is in the throes of mania might be excited, loud, complaining, or ordering much more than normal, amongst other things. This person may be embarrassed later and never order from you again. You might not understand and blame yourself or an employee or spend hours looking for where you went wrong and how you lost the customer never realizing that it is not that you or your firm did something wrong but the illness caused the loss of the customer.

My wanting to expose others to knowledge about Manic Depression is also selfish insofar as I hope that if more people understand this illness there might finally be more research on better treatments than those available now.

Again, I believe this is a must see for anyone having any association with this disease.
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on 6 February 2010
I have been waiting for this brilliant programe to be placed on DVD since it was first aired.

If you,like myself are Bipolar/Manic Depressive then this is defaintly worth a watch it gives you a good insight in to other suffers life's thus showing it's not just you.
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on 21 March 2010
I used this DVD to illustrate to medical students the experience of Bipolar disorder . It is a great teaching resource and not something they can learn from a book on psychiatry!
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on 3 March 2012
A moving insight into the anguished world of sufferers of bipolar disorder. An excellent DVD for people wanting more knowledge of this fraught subject,showing us that anybody,rich or poor can become victims to this illness. Stephen Fry is a great advocate for those of us who suffer the stigma of mental health issues.
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on 13 September 2010
As a person recently diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, I purchased this DVD because I was interested to see/hear Stephen Frys' experience of the illness. I found the 'documentary' to be very informative and it has helped me to understand many of my own experiences of the illness.
The information given within the programme was clear, concise, easy to understand & with no jargon. Great for ANYONE to watch who wishes to understand more about bi-polar disorder!!!
A BIG THANKYOU to Stephen Fry, Richard Dreyfuss, Carrie Fisher and the many others who so openly shared their experiences and contributed to the making of this fantastic programme !!!

Further useful Literature :
Mood Mapping: Plot your way to emotional health and happiness
An Unquiet Mind
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on 24 July 2011
Just got diagnosed with bipolar myself and have to say this DVD made me face it and understand it better. Helped a lot and very informative. Thank you, Stephen Fry for being so open.
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on 18 July 2011
This dvd is both informative and moving. I bought this dvd as part of a research project and found it one of the most helpful tools i could have. Stephen Fry is very honest, and gives a very personal insight into his struggles with the condition and in the 2-parts of the dvd, focus' first on the impact and then on treatments. The use of other peoples personal stories is very effective and moving and present a mixture of more positive and negative attitudes towards the condition. I would highly recommend this to anyone as it's informative, reliable, personal and in some parts very emotive. The dvd covers a large area incudling early diagnosis in children, the impact of having a bipolar parent and living with the condition. overall Very good.
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on 12 January 2013
I was first introduced to this DVD by my ex-girlfriend, who wanted me to learn more about her condition, known more commonly as bipolar disorder. We can't see inside the minds of the people we care about and we cannot know their thinking. To even try to understand requires more than reading a couple of pages on the internet, written by whoever!

This two-part documentary (both including on the single disc) allows the rest of us an insight, through personal interviews with people (admittedly, celebrities) diagnosed as having some form of bipolar disorder. You see, not everyone is the same, even if their illness or 'label' may appear identical to the next. This film will help to illustrate that.

There's a scene in the first episode that has always stayed in my mind. If you've not suffered from any form of depression yourself then, it can be hard to understand just how serious the thoughts of suicide and 'not wanting to live' really are in the mind of a manic depressive. I won't spoilt it for you but, there is this one scene that I believe PROVES that these thoughts are far more than a cry for help or attention. It is shocking but, sometimes, that is what's required.

There's a lot of discussion about other side of the spectrum, with episodes and risks associated with a state of mania and how these individuals have found ways to cope over the years (including Stephen Fry, who admittedly suffers from a 'more mild' form of cyclothimia). Fry also goes on his own journey to discover more about his own condition and options available to someone like him and others.

I now own this DVD for myself and do wish that Mr.Fry and the BBC would again collaborate to produce more, perhaps covering the wider spectrum of mental illness, in an effort to fight off the persistent stigma amongst society. This was filmed a few years ago but, that's no reason to discredit it. I was suppose it might have been beneficial to some to see someone not coping as well as the guests interviewed here but then, where do draw the line between offering insight and personal exposure?
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on 6 December 2010
This provides a good understanding of that which is Bipolar Disorder. Stephen Fry offers an empathetic illustration of what it is like to live with this disorder, understandable to those who struggle with it, are carers or those who have little understanding of it. An easy watch.
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