ACTRESS Catherine Zeta-Jones has spoken out about her battle with manic depression after being admitted to a US rehabilitation clinic last year, in an effort to lift the "stigma" of mental illness.
The 43-year-old actress said she wanted other sufferers to know that help was available, and claimed that being diagnosed with bipolar disorder had made her appreciate life all the more.
In April last year, Zeta-Jones was admitted to a US rehabilitation clinic where doctors concluded she was suffering from bipolar II disorder, a form of manic depression.
Her husband, fellow actor Michael Douglas, was recovering from treatment for throat cancer at the time.
“I’m not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops but, with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it is completely controllable,” Zeta-Jones told US InStyle magazine.
“I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don’t have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it.”
Describing the past 18 months as “an intense time in good ways and bad”, the Welsh actress said: “You find out who you really are and who are you are married to. You find things inside yourself you never imagined were there.
“I’ve gained an appreciation for little things, like tea outside on a terrace.”
Zeta-Jones admitted that, at the height of her illness, she Googled her name to find negative comments about herself.
“The smartest thing I did was to stop going online,” she said.
“I’m the sort of person who will just look for the negative. Michael really can’t understand it, but that’s the way I am. And, with my bipolar thing, that’s poison.
“So I just stopped. Cold turkey. And it’s so liberating.”
The couple have two children, Dylan and Carys, and Zeta-Jones claimed they have a down-to-earth lifestyle. “We’re country people, really, I garden and knit. I golf. We ride horses,” she said.
“I love clothes and, yes, we go out, but it’s not like I’m walking around all day in a negligee with fluffy mules.”