Words Against Depression

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Have you ever heard of Stephen Fry? If not, then check him out. Saying that he’s a British actor and comedian is partly true, but also misleading. He’s an eloquent man with great humor and wise words. A couple of years ago – in 2006 – a woman named Crystal Nunn, suffering from depression (though we have no proof of a clinical diagnosis, but for the sake of this post let’s assume that she was suffering from what the public in general calls “being depressed”), wrote a letter to the afore mentioned Stephen Fry.

Basically 2006 is when I was seriously suffering from depression and I felt so alone and as if nobody cared about me, I had no idea who to turn to. But I really needed someone to confide in and to ease the pain. So I wrote to Stephen Fry because he is my hero, and he has been through this himself. And low and behold, he replied to my letter, I will love him eternally for this.

Although Stephen has more than 2 million Twitter followers and is a UK-wide celebrity, he sat down and wrote a letter to Mrs. Nunn. The following has been discovered by Shaun User, who runs a blog called “Letters of note“, that’s been quoted as “the internet’s cultural magpie” by GQ magazine. In fact, one of our very first post here on MedCrunch, and part of the reason why Franz and I love writing about these things so much, was a letter sent to from Mickey Mouse.

Apart from excellent medical education, knowledge and training, doctors should inhale these words. They are written by an artist, not by a physician, yet they are true and undeniably excellent. Much beauty lies within those few lines, words and sentences. It’s simple, pure and understandable. Something that we as physicians should also learn, integrate and make use of.

Here’s a scan of the original letter (via letters of note; primary source).

Via Letters of Note

Transcript

April 10, 2006

Dear Crystal,

I’m so sorry to hear that life is getting you down at the moment. Goodness knows, it can be so tough when nothing seems to fit and little seems to be fulfilling. I’m not sure there’s any specific advice I can give that will help bring life back its savour. Although they mean well, it’s sometimes quite galling to be reminded how much people love you when you don’t love yourself that much.

I’ve found that it’s of some help to think of one’s moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather:

Here are some obvious things about the weather:

It’s real.
You can’t change it by wishing it away.
If it’s dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can’t alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.

BUT

It will be sunny one day.
It isn’t under one’s control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
One day.

It really is the same with one’s moods, I think. The wrong approach is to believe that they are illusions. They are real. Depression, anxiety, listlessness – these are as real as the weather – AND EQUALLY NOT UNDER ONE’S CONTROL. Not one’s fault.

BUT

They will pass: they really will.

In the same way that one has to accept the weather, so one has to accept how one feels about life sometimes. “Today’s a crap day,” is a perfectly realistic approach. It’s all about finding a kind of mental umbrella. “Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.”

I don’t know if any of that is of any use: it may not seem it, and if so, I’m sorry. I just thought I’d drop you a line to wish you well in your search to find a little more pleasure and purpose in life.

Very best wishes

(Signed)

Stephen Fry

3 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not surprised this is still circling the internet, I can’t believe it was 5 years ago now. I’m Crystal, I wrote this to Stephen Fry when I was 18, just before I was diagnosed with having clinical depression. Something i’ve been battling for many years now, I like to read this when I feel down, because you are right, the words really do mean something, and it makes the dark periods a little easier to manage. Initially uploaded this on Deviantart so that others suffering from depression could share the wisdom shared by Stephen. It kind of escalated from there…

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