Stephen Fry reveals he turns to Beethoven to fight depression

Rachel McGrath
·2-min read
Getty Images
Getty Images

Stephen Fry has told how he turns to the music of Beethoven to battle depression.

The comedian and actor, 62, has been open about his bipolar disorder diagnosis and has tried to take his own life multiple times, most recently in 2012.

Fry appeared on the Art of Change: Nothing Concrete podcast and told how his love of Beethoven eased his mental health problems.

He said: “There is a healing quality to listening to it that helps. When combined with not drinking too much and walking and eating properly and all the other things that supposedly help one’s mental health.”

Fry, seen here in 2018, has also spoken about feeling suicidal thoughts (PA Images on behalf of So TV)
Fry, seen here in 2018, has also spoken about feeling suicidal thoughts (PA Images on behalf of So TV)

Fry added: “One of the ways I cope with it is to bathe myself in music like Beethoven’s and to think of people who have gone before me who have been lit by the flame of mania and doused by the icy water of depression and lived those lives of flaring up and going down and being close to the edge and how they have managed to do things and to achieve things and to retain their love and hope, and one clings to that.”

Blackadder star Fry, who married husband Elliott Spencer in 2015, also explored the desperation of being suicidal.

“Inside you just do not see the point of anything,” he said. “Nothing has flavour or savour. Nothing has any meaning. Everything is just hopeless.

“There’s no future. There’s no sense of anything ahead of you. You have to hope something will stop you. In my case it was just failed attempts and waking up in a hospital.”

Fry spoke of his “guilt and shame” following his attempts to take his own life and said one of the first signs of recovery is being able to see “colour again”.

He added: “Beethoven is a perfect example of someone who brings that colour back to you quicker than almost anything else and that’s a sign you’re back.”

German composer Beethoven is known for works including his Ninth Symphony and Fur Elise. He died in 1827.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please contact the Samaritans on 116123 (free) or email jo@samaritans.org.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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