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Bill Oddie's battle with bipolar

PUBLISHED: 13:38 07 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:40 07 September 2010

TELEVISION presenter Bill Oddie is finally looking forward to the new year after experiencing the worst 12 months of his life, he has told the Ham&High. Speaking candidly about his struggle with clinical depression and bipolar disorder, Britain s most fam

TELEVISION presenter Bill Oddie is finally looking forward to the new year after experiencing the worst 12 months of his life, he has told the Ham&High.

Speaking candidly about his struggle with clinical depression and bipolar disorder, Britain's most famous twitcher said he had reached rock bottom after two spells in hospital in 2009.

Oddie, who became famous as a member of the Goodies, first suffered from depression back in 2002 and has since suffered

several relapses.

At several points over the last year he thought he would never recover.

"Basically I thought I had had it," he said. "It was that bad. The last year was probably the worst 12 months of my life because I suffered from bipolar and terrible depression which began in January and February and

basically I only emerged from that before Christmas, which was extraordinary."

Recovering just in time for the festive season was a much-needed boost to his family and for Oddie himself, who once admitted to writing a suicide note.

"Christmas was absolutely lovely," he said. "Thank God I was in a state to enjoy it. This has put pressure on my whole family and especially my wife and I am just glad I managed to come out of it in time to enjoy Christmas."

The revival of his health had not seemed possible during his time in hospital but the wildlife expert paid tribute to those who had helped him along the way.

He said: "I spent two periods in hospital. One was in a private clinic which was fine but the second was with Camden's crisis centre.

"Their team moved in rapidly and looked after me and gave me extremely good care. You hear about the NHS not being able to cope but they were absolutely splendid. It is only a small place where people can go for a couple of weeks but it was really delightful. They have splendid facilities there."

Despite the improvement Oddie is wary about setting too many targets for the new year but said he will be contacting his former bosses at the BBC. He said: "I will just be very happy to avoid anything like what happened last year. I am hoping a slight re-diagnosis and change of medication will help and I am looking forward to what the future brings and just being normal because believe you me I wasn't. It has been a long journey.

"I will have to go back to the BBC and see where we stand. They quite reasonably realised I would not be able to do the

normal work but with any luck I will get back there but I will deal with that later."

And Oddie is hoping others who suffer from mental health illnesses can learn from his ordeal.

He said: "One thing is to ask as much as you can. Make sure you ask every single question to the doctor. It is not being disrespectful just to ask them the question "are you sure?" and look at all the

possibilities and keep an open mind. Most people have periods of depression in their life that can be appalling. You are never alone in that situation and you can get help from local services.


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