Leading article: Mr Fry improves the mood of the nation

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The Independent Online

Funny thing, progress. For many, the reaction to the mutation of manic depression into bipolar disorder is to scoff because it sounds as if it is something to do with earth science.

But the term is a better description of the swing between extremes that characterises the condition, and so should help understanding. Not half as much, though, as testimonials by a sufferer.

This newspaper, which campaigns for greater awareness of mental illness, congratulates Stephen Fry for using the platform of his fame, in his words, "to fight the stigma and to give a clearer picture of a mental illness most people know little about".

Today, he tells how, for a sufferer from bipolar disorder, "when you feel you can't go on, it's not a phrase, it's a reality". The physical reality of the condition to the sufferer needs to be more widely known. But he also points out the positive side.

"I love my condition too," he says. It has given him "the energy and creativity that perhaps has made my career... Most of the good about me has developed as a result of my mood swings." Mr Fry has long been feted for his contribution to cheering us up.

Now he deserves a medal for his services to the equally noble cause of enlightenment.