MailOnline recently did a very interesting story about a man in England named Bill Oddie, who has bipolar disorder.  He says that last year didn't really exist for him, being a "complete wipeout," as he was mired in depression, staring at walls, sleeping and, at times, considering suicide.

'I was in such a bad way that I had to go into hospital twice,' he says. 'I spent a lot of time in a room staring at the bleeding wall. I actually got quite skilled at doing nothing.

'I spent a lot of time asleep. I didn't get up for days, or if I did it was just for an hour in the evening. Some days I couldn't believe it myself. I completely lost my confidence. As therapy, I tried to look at some of the programmes I'd made in the past, but I couldn't stand them… It left me wondering, "How am I going to come out of this?" I couldn't see a way out.

'I was having suicidal thoughts - a lot of it was just wanting to go to sleep. You've always got the sleeping pills lying around. It's easy to take too many of those and send yourself to sleep for too long. I remember someone saying, though, that they couldn't take their own life because they were too frightened. I can identify with that. You're frightened of hurting yourself and hurting the people around you.

'You say to yourself, "Think, think, think, what it would do to your kids and your grandchildren." It's a horrible, horrible thought.'

Bill, now at 68, has battled depression for much of the last ten years but now is at his most stable and has written his autobiography called One Flew Into The Cuckoo's Egg.

Bill is a writer, comedian, and musician, who built a brilliant career out of making others laugh, and yet has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Last year, the dark depression and sense of hopelessness overwhelmed him once more and he was placed in a psychiatric hospital for six weeks. Bill hopes that will never happen again, especially now that doctors have diagnosed him with bipolar disorder.

He says that the new diagnosis has transformed him. "The re-diagnosis has changed my life," he says. "And the difference is lithium. Within a week of being put on it I was feeling better. I can remember that moment clearly."

"People have said they hate losing the highs you get when you're bipolar," Bill says. "It's possible mine weren't so enjoyable that I miss them. They certainly weren't euphoric. All I know is that it's turned me around."

"For Laura [his wife], it's been fantastic. Depression is the most awful thing for your loved ones to have to cope with. One of the worst things is that you're not quite sure who the person you're with is any more."

Bill first suffered with clinical depression in 2001. He says the possibility of bipolar disorder was noted at the time, but dismissed.

He was treated for several weeks in hospital and seemed to recover, but the condition continued to return every few years, requiring further hospital treatment. At the beginning of 2008, he began to write his autobiography.

'I wrote almost the whole book in two months,' he says. 'By the beginning of March I'd nearly finished it but was starting to feel really tired. It came out of the blue - I'd been enjoying writing it so much.

'I feel now I've been through everything. But my instinct is to say, "The whole thing is chemical. Now you've got that sorted, you can take whatever life throws at you without the depressions."