Stephen Fry’s second suicide attempt last year – which he revealed to fellow comedian Richard Herring in front of an audience this week – was, thank heavens, no more successful than the first one in 1995.
It is encouraging that he has gone public with the incident, but instructive that it took him up to a year to find the wherewithal to do so. For depression, suicide and attempted suicide remain matters that are tinged with shame.
That the shame is being dispersed at all is due to people such as Fry, this brilliant, charming, 55-year-old man who possesses the courage to stand in front of the world and acknowledge his illness. It can’t be easy. I know this, for I, too, am a sufferer. Every time I write an article about my own experiences with depression, I feel the pull of privacy, the desire for darkness. But these things cannot be swept under the carpet, and to do so is just fuelling the shame.